We have become victims of our own fear. Gun sales surged after 9/11, and after Sandy Hook, and at the start of the pandemic. Open carry laws proliferated, and in Alabama, lawmakers decided you don’t even need a permit to carry a concealed weapon anymore.
We are supposed to be afraid. Because fear drives politics, and gun sales, and emotions. And deaths.
In 2020 the national murder rate rose. Whether that’s because of the pandemic or the spike in gun sales is unclear. But more than 20,500 people were murdered that year – more than three out of four by guns – and America’s homicide rate reached 7.8 for every 100,000 people.
That’s a lot for this century, when typical rates have held in the fours and fives. But the good old days were rarely so safe. That 2020 U.S. homicide rate is lower than any year between 1970 and 1995.
I’m not telling you not to have a gun, or to love it. I just want you to know the truth. Living in fear is bad for your health. And carrying a gun doesn’t make you safer. Or tougher. It just makes you more dangerous.
— By John Archibald in You know what you can’t have without a gun? A gunfight.