That’s the headline at The Trace, where they’re busy extracting as much anti-gun animus as they can from an unreleased, unscientific poll of 4000 gun owners. (That’s the one Nick diss-troyed here.) According to Michael Bloomberg’s agit-propmeisters, the fact that Americans are hankering for handguns in increasing numbers is cause for concern rather than celebration. And it’s all the fault of the “gun lobby.”
Even though homicides and other forms of violent crime have dramatically decreased, a rise in the number of high-profile rampage shootings has heightened perceptions of danger, and helped fuel the handgun-buying boom.
At the same time, the gun lobby has aggressively campaigned to lift restrictions against carrying firearms in public and stoked fears of government gun seizures. The firearms industry and retailers have also amped up their marketing of handguns for self-defense purposes.
“When I look at our survey, what I see is a population that is living in fear,” says Deb Azrael, a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the lead authors of the study. “They are buying handguns to protect themselves against bad guys, they store their guns ready-to-use because of bad guys, and they believe that their guns make them safer.” . . .
“Our survey suggests that many more people believe guns in their home make them safer, when in fact, epidemiological research suggests precisely the opposite,” Azrael says.
Ohhhh. Epidemiological research shows that guns make American less safe. Sounds pretty conclusive to me! Or not.
Anyway, it’s nice to know that Dr. Azrael went into the Trace-touted study of American gun ownership with such an open mind. I’m sure she balanced this (as opposed to her cheerleaders at The Trace) . . .
Studies have found that people who live in homes with handguns are twice as likely to take their life compared to those who live in homes with other types of firearms, such as shotguns and rifles. (Seniors are the population at the highest risk of using a handgun in a fatal suicide attempt.)
Domestic violence victims are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a gun, research shows.
. . . with this — from her boss, no less, via wikipedia.org:
Estimates over the number of defensive gun uses vary wildly, depending on the study’s definition of a defensive gun use, survey design, population, criteria, time-period studied, and other factors. Low-end estimates are in the range of 55,000 to 80,000 incidents per year [ED: from Dr. Azrael’s boss David Hemenway no less], while high end estimates reach of 4.7 million incidents per year.
Oh wait. She didn’t. Like all proponents of civilian disarmament, Dr. Azrael pays no attention to the defensive gun uses’s behind that curtain. Defensive gun uses that save lives and protect property, and inspire other Americans to arm-up in their own defense.
Sure, fear is the motivation for buying a handgun for personal protection. The same sort of fear that motivates you to put on your seat belt. The same sort of fear that motivates misguided voters and politicians seek to degrade and destroy Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
There’s only one problem: removing guns from civilians will never be as effective at countering attacks on innocent life as arming civilians to defend themselves against criminal, terrorist, psychopath or government predation. In short, to paraphrase Gordon Gekko, fear is good.