By Rob Morse
The gun-control lobby started it. Then the legacy media joined in and told us that guns and gun owners were dangerous. Their solution is to register and regulate guns and gun owners. They claim their gun control will somehow, someday, take the guns out of the hands of criminals.
If you only read the words, you might be persuaded. Let me fill in the facts that the gun prohibitionists leave out. Gun control laws do more harm than good.
Honest gun owners use a firearm to stop a violent crime about 1.7 million times a year, a little over 4500 defensive guns uses a day. That massive benefit overshadows all the other problems we have with the criminal use of firearms.
Legally justified armed self defense is dozens of times more frequent than all of the suicides and accidents we see with firearms. It’s hard to overstate the importance of armed defense. Disarming honest gun owners in the hope of somehow disarming criminals would be a disaster since firearms do so much net good.
Guns are both common and durable. Estimates put the number at over 400 million firearms legally owned by over 80 million adults in the US. I have guns that are decades old. My friends have guns that are over a century old. Guns don’t deteriorate or go away with time.
Criminals have lots of guns, too. Criminals stole over 13,000 guns from FFLs last year. One number I saw said that about 300 thousand guns were stolen from homes and cars annually. That works out to one gun stolen out of every 1300 guns we own, so I’m surprised the number isn’t higher.
Before you think ‘we can stop criminals from getting guns,’ consider that the Mexican army lost a third of the guns it bought from the US military and US manufacturers. That dwarfs the 3,000 or so guns the Obama administration sold to Mexican drug lords. The Mexican military also “lost” guns it bought from Germany, Australia, Italy, Romania, Spain, and Belgium. That’s where the drug lords get the firearms they use in Mexico. And in the US.
The marketplace for guns and ammunition is worldwide. Most countries have domestic firearms manufacturers. That means new sources of guns are only a few days away.
Getting a few gun and parts is easy for the drug gangs in our inner cities. Compared to transporting millions of illegal aliens and billions of dollars of drugs across the border each year, moving a few ounces of steel and plastic is simple. If you can make private submarines to transport drugs, then the narco-orgs can make all the guns they want. That means we’re simply not going to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
Keep in mind that only about eight percent of violent crimes are committed with a firearm. Disarming violent criminals won’t stop the 92 percent of the violent crimes that are committed without knives, fists, feet, hammers, clubs, and so-on.
Gun ownership is incredibly widespread, but violence is localized. The good news is that most counties in America won’t see a single murder this year. About half of all murders happen in just two percent of our counties. Despite the localized problems of drug gangs, anti-gun activists and some politicians want to pass more gun laws that would apply to all of us, no matter where we live.
I wish it were that easy to make the world a better place. Spoiler alert: it isn’t.
In reality, regulations have to be exquisitely well-tailored so they do more good than harm. For example, we could ask for a mental health exam before anyone buys a gun in the hope of reducing suicides. If that eliminates all suicides with firearms (it won’t), but also reduces the number of successful defensive gun uses by just 1.4% — 1 in 70 — then such a law would cost more lives than it saves.
We looked, and sadly we’ve never seen gun control laws reduce the number of suicides. Gun controllers and the media forget (sure they do) that delaying a gun purchase also means that more victims of domestic abuse face their attackers unarmed.
We could demand that all guns be locked up in the hope of eliminating firearm-related accidents. If we decreased the number of armed defenders who reach their guns in time by only 0.03 percent — 1 in 3500, then, again, we’ll have cost more lives than we’ve saved.
You can’t fix a small problem by creating a larger one.
It’s easy to forget that we have over 23,000 firearms regulations on the books today. Criminals are no more likely to follow any new rules than they are to follow the current ones. Most of us already lock up our guns to keep them safe. We’re wonderfully reluctant to shoot an intruder. Because armed self-defense is so common, it is insanely hard for anh new gun regulations — no matter how well crafted — to do more good than harm.
The sad news is that we already have too much gun control. We have more assaults, robberies, rapes, and murders because many of the victims were disarmed by current gun laws. Mandatory waiting periods cost lives because they disarm the victims, not the criminals.
The cold, hard truth is that we’d save more lives if we reduced the barriers — fees and classroom hours — that are required for honest gun owners to get their carry permits in most states.
This article originally appeared at Slow Facts and is reprinted here with permission.