Chicago 'safe passage' sign courtesy gopthedailydose.com

Whenever gun control advocates make their pitch for adding still more firearms-restricting laws to the books, there’s one theme that they continually use to wrap their agenda in: safety. They want to make the world a safer place. For the children. And who could be against that? But there’s an important caveat they make about the safety they seek: according to them, guns make them feel unsafe. Feel. And there’s where the problem lies . . .

Of course, there’s a difference between feeling safe and actually being safe, and while the perception of the relative level of safety can sometimes cloud people’s judgement the reality of the matter is beyond question. The people on the Titanic no doubt felt perfectly safe right up until the moment they felt freezing cold seawater around their ankles. By the same token, some travelers in America feel jittery about air travel, but they’re more likely to die in a car accident on the way to the airport than in the airplane itself.

I bring this up because as I was flying over the English countryside a couple days ago, I was reminded of an article that some academic wrote praising the British gun control system and demanding that America implement it as well. The entire premise of his argument was that he felt safe walking down the streets in England, but not as safe when walking down the streets of his American hometown. And for that disparity, he blamed the prevalance of guns.

The problem with “gut feel”-based analysis is that it has no grounding in fact. Gun control advocates blame guns for all the ills of American society not because they have any concrete evidence, but because guns scare them. If their position had even a shred of credibility then during the last couple years of massive firearms sales we would have seen a corresponding increase in the crime or murder rate. Instead it continues to drop. Fast.

Another example is one I’ve grown quite fond of recently. Suppose you have two rooms, one filled with hundreds of police officers and the other filled with hundreds of citizens licensed to carry a concealed firearm. If you ask a gun control advocate which one of those rooms they’d feel safest in, they’d respond that the one filled with coppers is preferable. But in reality, that group of police officers is about four times more likely to kill our friendly gun control advocate than is the concealed carry group.

The root cause of gun control is fear. Gun control advocates have an irrational fear of guns, and they believe that by enacting enough laws the evil firearms will be banished and things will be much better. They base this not on facts or statistics, but on indoctrination and prejudice. While it’s perfectly reasonable to use one’s feelings of safety and security to make everyday decisions, when it comes to lawmaking I expect a higher level of reasoning to be used. Sure, it may be unreasonably optimistic, but in my view, laws designed to deter crime and improve safety should be based on actual facts and evidence instead of the whims of the committee in question.

Relying on feelings instead of constitutional law and actual facts is the reason the Jim Crowe laws were passed in the South. That same reasoning — relying on fear and prejudice instead of facts — is what is  driving gun control advocates to move against guns and gun owners. Prejudice and fear have driven people to do some terrible things throughout history, and I sincerely hope that facts and logic will win. For once.

47 Responses to On the Difference Between Feeling Safe and Being Safe

    • Unfortunately, ALL the analyses I’ve read in various pro-2A publications and websites about how we (people of the gun, armed intelligentsia) should be responding to the anti arguments, is that we should ALSO be using emotion rather than facts. Since the antis are basing their position on feelings, they do not respond well to facts. It’s a mistake I’ve made in dealing with antis before; now I’ve changed tactics and still keep my “armory” of facts for someone who brings them up, but I’m much more likely to use emotional arguments as my “first shot” in a discussion with an anti about 2A rights.

      • I hate to agree, but this is absolutely right. Facts don’t win people to your side in most arguments like this, unless you’ve also got an emotional, or at least anecdotal, aspect to your arguments. You have to hook people with stories or emotions, then reel them in with the facts. It’s incredibly frustrating, because I don’t work that way, but it’s important to be able to talk to people in their own comfort zone, and that means appealing to their emotions as well. You can appeal to emotions without being irrational, gun-grabbers just have an advantage since they don’t need to argue with facts because we don’t bother to appeal to emotions.

  1. There’s an entire business complex wrapped around this idea: “Security theater” basically.

    All over LA, there were dozens of unarmed private security units walking about. These well meaning folks wouldn’t be effective against even a moderately determined threat,but people feel secure -and in LA, perception beats reality.

  2. Can you tell me where the data is that suggests the ‘reality’ that a police officer is 4times more likely to kill a friendly gun control advocate than a concealed carrier is?

    How many friendly gun control advocates have officers killed?

    • Oh, boy, another game of “Fun With Facts!”

      From DOJ stats: 500 innocent people per year killed by cops in the US.

      Source: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/500-innocent-americans-killed-by-cops-each-year_122013

      From the Violence Policy Center Stats, about 100 people killed per year by CCW holders shooting people total.

      Source: http://www.stopconcealedcarry.org/gun_facts.php

      (“more than 508 over the last five years” averages to roughly 100 per year).

      Assuming gun control advocates are evenly distributed across those wrongly shot by cops and those wrongly shot by CCW holders, seems like the 4:1 claim is at least reasonable.

    • A quick google search comes up with lots of links showing these statistics. Below are just a few of them showing the difference in rates of murder between CCW holders and police.

      http://www.ammoland.com/2013/10/police-officers-likely-to-murder-than-concealed-carry-permit/#axzz2wby3ZFVh

      http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba324

      https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2009/02/17/fact-police-are-much-more-likely-to-shoot-the-wrong-person-than-armed-citizens/

      And that’s just 30 seconds on google and my google-fu is weak. I am sure a little actual digging could come up with much more.

    • Bobby,

      Use your favorite search engine and you will find the answer. I believe the data comes from the state of Florida which collects data on both concealed carry licensees and law enforcement officers. That data, after two decades, clearly show us that law enforcement officers commit crimes at a rate four times higher than concealed carry licensees. I’ll try to find the data as well.

      • So were all these people killed by police friendly gun control advocates or simply unarmed people? So if they are unarmed that means they are innocent right?

        Would like to know how the people killed are determined to be innocent.

        How often are concealed carry persons confronting people in the most crime ridden, dangerous places trying to suppress crime?
        How often are concealed carry persons demanding to see convicted felons’ hands’ in complete darkness?
        How often are these concealed carriers faced with the decision on whether or not to shoot this non compliant person because he may have a gun, may not want to go back to jail, and may have to kill this concealed carrier in order to not go back to prison?

        How often are these concealed carriers in this position having to decide on life or death based on very little information in a split second?

        Nightly? Weekly? Once a month? Year? EVER???

        My hunch is not quite as common as police are put in that situation trying to decide whether or not this guy is going to pull a gun. Can they articulate why they shot? Is the guy just grabbing for dope to throw away or a gun so he can kill me? Should I give it one more second to try and decide if he for sure has a gun or will that cost me my life?

        Yeah, concealed carriers have to deal with those decisions ALL THE TIME in the dead of night.

        So yeah, Situational circumstances have NOTHING to do with the differences in numbers at all. Just look at straight numbers and base everything on that.

        • Bobby, the statistics referenced above are talking about MURDERS. For example, killing a girlfriend that you caught cheating on you. Or recently in the news, shooting someone in a movie theater who texted, talked back to you, and threw popcorn at you.

          The facts were given and backed up with references. Now you need to accept the facts.

        • There’s an old analysis from 90’s data that I found fascinating in this article: http://actionamerica.org/guns/guns1.shtml. Scroll down to the part titled: “Armed Citizens Make Fewer Mistakes Than Police” and read that analysis. The logic is somewhat loose but not severely flawed. And it matches up with some of the other studies as well.

    • A lot of people here have a hard-on for this idea that police are rabid killers with guns while permit-holders are perfect citizens; some will fudge statistics to try and make that case. I clicked the ammoland link… he starts by comparing ‘homicide rates’ which is ‘the killing of a human being by another human being.’ Yeah, pretty sure police are put in situations where that will apply more often than your usual concealed permit holder. Then he starts using statistics from multiple different databases as if they can be compared using vastly different methodologies. He ends by admitting that no comparisons are valid except perhaps the subset of domestic violence cases in Florida. Makes the comparison above- being in a room full of police vs. a room full of conceal carry permit holders- seem rather facile.

      It is a good example, however, of how someone with a desired result can twist themselves up in statistics until they come to what they want. It’s crap in terms of validity, but who cares, right?

  3. You’re wrong, Nick. Gun control is not about fear, it is about control. An armed populace is hard to control and tend to be responsible for themselves.

    Also, the gun control advocate who chooses cops over arming themselves avoids taking any responsibility for themselves.

    • To be fair to Nick, it’s both.

      Like any broad brush, the painting can be too broad.

      For example, let’s take the MDA bunch. For Bloomberg, I think it’s about control. For Watts, I think it’s just a job, but there may be some control in there as well.

      What about her followers, the folks that have bought into what she’s saying? I don’t KNOW this factually by any study of course, but I suspect that at least some of them are acting out of fear. They only want the “control” part as a means to an end to assuage that fear, not as using fear to gain control.

      That’s just a guess, but I have met people that are truly afraid of guns.

      Interestingly, these may be the easiest ones to reach. Take them shooting. Let them face their fear. And beat it, and rise above being controlled.

    • I disagree. Gun control laws are designed to control the things that cause their fear. They fear you because you have a gun; therefore you must be controlled. Fear begets control.

      • Most of the gun controllers who hold positions of power fear gun owners, because gun owners are freedom-loving individualists who will not readily bow to their power grabbing schemes.

        Many of the “followers” of the gun control philosophy are fearful of guns (hoplophobes). They want to eliminate all the guns from their environment, because that is the only way they can deal with their fear of guns. Another large percentage have blindly accepted the gun control mantra, without any logical analysis of its validity or not (low information voters). Both of these types can be converted either with hands on de-sensitivity training and/or with firm but gentle re-education.

        Found a great quote yesterday: “Fear is often disguised as moral outrage.” How True when applied to the gun control community.

  4. “If you ask a gun control advocate which one of those rooms they’d feel safest in, they’d respond that the one filled with coppers is preferable. But in reality, that group of police officers is about FOUR TIMES more likely to kill our friendly gun control advocate than is the concealed carry group.”

    In order not to fall into the misuse of statistics that Anti’s use, we should admit that the 4 being used as a multiple is large, but produces a product that is very small for both groups. Indeed, statistically, CCW’s are more law abiding, but when readers incorrectly use their intuition and inability to understand statistic, that four times number seem ridicules and is dismissed. We may have to explain or stats better so that they are believed. Anti’s purposefully allow people to misunderstand statistics to their advantage. Let’s take the very high road and not go down the road of “Lies, damn lies, and statistics”

    • More likely they will simply put their fingers in their ears and say “La, la, la – I can’t hear you.” You cannot reason with the unreasonable.

  5. I just wish that anti-gun fanatics would go and shoot a gun before spouting off their liberal non-sense. How many liberals do you think have actually SHOT a gun before? VERY very few, and that shows in the small percentage of liberals that own guns. Look, I get it. I was terrified of guns before I knew how to handle them. I grew up around a grandpa that has a room full of hunting rifles and I was NEVER TO GO IN THAT ROOM. That made me fear them because I was taught from the get-go that they were dangerous. Truth of the matter is, they wouldn’t have gone off just because I walked into the room. That was how I was made to feel. Further proof that feelings should not be a determining factor when it comes to creating laws. FACT IS, guns don’t just “go off”. FACT IS, guns are only dangerous if they are in the hands of a dangerous person (which, hate to break it to you, laws won’t keep dangerous people from getting a hold of guns or some other form of weaponry). FACT IS, we have a constitutional right to protect ourselves. Whether it be from criminals or unlawful government. FACT IS, I don’t want to hear a word about “gun-control” from someone who has never taken 10 seconds to learn gun safety and proper handling. 9 times out of 10, once you educate yourself on how to handle and shoot a firearm, you’ll no longer “feel” afraid. You may feel a little ignorant that all of these so-called “truths” about gun-violence that you advocated so strongly for are false, but at least you won’t be afraid.

    • Of course there also the type of liberal who shot trap once at his country club so now he “has firearms experience” and “respects sportsmen and the second amendment but…”
      Then there’s Feinstein who “looked at lots of pictures of guns”

      • Oh! So you’re telling me I don’t know a thing or two about guns by looking at pictures? Shoot.. And I thought I was an expert.

    • Not quite, their feelings are true, our feelings make us bitter-clingers and paranoid psychos. If I feel safe exercising my Constitutional right by carrying a gun I am a paranoid psycho with a timer that ticks down until I snap, if they feel safe removing rights (1st and 2nd Amendment rights) they are doing it for the children and safety of the nation. Double standard, just like they’re the victim when attacking others.

  6. Whenever I debate my friend’s girlfriend on guns, and I really start putting her in a corner, the discussion goes to “I just don’t like it” or “It just doesn’t seem right” followed by “I don’t want to talk about it anymore”. I took her shooting recently though and I think we are making slow progress.

  7. Firearm ownership is the new national civil rights issue. We need to continue to frame the argument in those terms. Instead of “no blacks” signs on establishments the folks at organizations like MDA go around trying to put up “no gun-owners” signs. It’s clear discrimination and in the vast majority of cases there is no legal or moral backing. Just like they wanted to block African Americans from integrating into society they want to remove gun owners from society. Keep them out of our schools, our stores, our bars, our towns. Sound familiar? Safety was a key concern in “keeping the blacks out”, even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, it was a key concern before slavery was abolished. Because of that we know these people will justify literally anything in the name of safety.

    There is no compromise with our rights, just as there is no compromise with slavery. We either have rights or don’t, keep slaves or have free citizenry.

  8. Nice article. One very minor quibble for clarity though:

    “The entire premise of his argument was that he felt safe walking down the streets in England, but not as safe when walking down the streets of his American hometown. And for that DISPARITY, he blamed the prevalance of guns.”

    Calling it a disparity gives the idea credence, I think. Better to call it “false disparity” or “incongruence” or maybe even “psychological fear projection.”

  9. I take pride in educating and taking my anti-gun friends (I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, they breed like bunnies here) out to the range… It is amazing how some education, logical arguments, and trigger time can change a person’s stance on gun control… heck, I even went with two formally antigun folks to help them pick out their first fire arms!

    It seems a lot of the fear of guns the antigun folk have is based on ignorance and misinformation: after all, we fear the unknown…

  10. More likely to get your ass kicked walking around in England than in america. Maybe they are cool with an old fashioned whuppin. I am not

    • My thoughts exactly, I have a feeling they have this idea that an old fashion ass whooping never leads to an old fashion blunt force trauma.

    • A whuppin’ is one thing. Beaten to a pulp with an American made aluminum baseball bat or a crowbar and then stabbed repeatedly is another. Why oh why did Peirced always fail to mention that violent assaults (not using firearms) are rampant in England, and that a person is five times more likely to get mugged there than here?

      • Because it went against the narrative. Morgan is an old-school statist. In that regard, anything that goes against the narrative is suppressed, denied and slandered.

  11. “The root cause of gun control is fear. Gun control advocates have an irrational fear of guns, and they believe that by enacting enough laws the evil firearms will be banished and things will be much better.”

    Exactly. Which is why they are immune to arguments based on facts and statistics. Their fear controls their thinking–and I suspect that most of them are oblivious to this fact. Guns are scary and must be eliminated so they won’t feel fearful. I wish there was a pill for that….

  12. Nick is right but wasn’t complete. Control of the populace is the goal, fear is the tool. Fear is one of the greatest sales tools. Watch commercials and many play on fear whether it be germs, accidents, death, disease, etc. Fear is the driving point. Watch the evening news, the vast majority is negative, very few positive stories make the news because people are attracted to the negative and fear related content. The problem we face is that when we use the same tactic we are labeled as being afraid or paranoid. To them it doesn’t make sense that we have guns for the exact same reasons that they lock their doors, wear seat belts, or have smoke detectors. Its not that we are constantly in fear of something but we are prepared for something that might never happen. This position does not instill a sense of fear that we use as a driving force. The fear of rights being taken isn’t powerful enough because they don’t see how it will affect them personally. I don’t want to stoop to their level but we fight a very hard battle simply due to the fact that we don’t push fear and emotions on our side of the debate.

  13. “The root cause of gun control is fear.”

    Fear, and a snobbish belief that a society cannot be both armed and “civilized”, “evolved” and “enlightened” polite at the same time. It’s outside their conceptualization of those terms.
    But then, they think they are enlightened when, in reality, they are just indoctrinated.

  14. I guess Lee Pace was safer in England because he wasn’t shot. Just hacked to death & beheaded. No evil guns.

  15. Safety and feelings are just ruses, and plausible explanations to justify actions that are intended to control and eventually enslave the American people.

  16. Quick FYI… Something has been directing me automatically from this website to a page called “Goodgame Empire,” some kind of online game apparently. Hopefully it’s fixed ASAP.

  17. One of the substantial parts of gun control that is overlooked is that gun control laws and regulations only effect legal gun owners. The gang bangers in the war zone don’t follow them, already have weapons that are unregistered, full auto, etc. It’s important to consider if more regulation will actually effect the population of concern.

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