The civilian disarmament movement wants Americans to believe they’re safer without a gun. It’s a preposterous idea. Americans without any great skill or strength can use a firearm to prevent, stop or eliminate a potentially lethal threat. An estimated 55k law-abiding gun owners do so each and every year – at the very, very least. And yet gun control advocates must perpetuate this logical fallacy if they are to have any hope of curtailing and then eliminating Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. So they bang on about suicides, domestic abuse and accidents mostly, and seize on incidents where an owner was overpowered and killed with his or her own gun. Psychology Today adds its voice to the antis’ chorus with this astounding bit of non-logic . . .
In Rome a criminal might assume that his victim won’t be carrying a gun. He may also assume that if he runs fast he’ll get away, or at worst be tackled by a bystander. Whereas in America he might imagine that guys packing heat are “everywhere.” Worse, they may all want to be heroes.
And it’s true that, in Italy as a whole, petty street crime is fairly common, whereas getting your head blown off isn’t.
Unfortunately, of course, as Felson points out, with guns everywhere, Americans are far more likely than people in countries with low rates of gun violence to get their heads blown off. Perhaps, as he suggests, having guns everywhere escalates petty crimes into murders through what Felson calls the “adversary effect.”
Which is to say that criminals arm themselves in a manner equal to that of their imagined adversary. As a rule, unarmed criminals avoid violence with adversaries who are physically stronger or who have powerful allies. But when they can’t avoid violence with heavily armed adversaries, some take steps to arm up.
Now, keeping Felson’s proposed adversary effect in mind and getting back to his look at homicide statistics, it could be that when a formerly unarmed criminal arms up, what might have been intended as a simple assault becomes much more consequential.
So … to those who would say that America is safer when good guys carry guns, I would say “Safer from what?” From non-lethal assaults? Yeah, looks like it. But we’re at higher risk of losing our lives.
Translation: by allowing citizens to carry guns we expose them to greater risk of getting shot by a gun. So . . . ban guns! Only the parts of America where citizens are most likely to have their heads blown off are the places where legal civilian gun ownership is at its lowest – thanks to restrictive gun control laws.
Even in parts of the U.S. where legal concealed carry rates are at their highest as a percentage of the adult population, they’re not all that high. Nassau County is home to Florida’s highest percentage of concealed carry license holders. Just 13 percent of adults are packing heat.
So the odds of a violent criminal encountering a citizen carrying a gun in the U.S. are, at best (worst?), one in ten. Given that most concealed carry permit holders (and those living in Constitutional carry states) don’t carry on an everyday basis, the odds that a perp will get his head blown off by Joe Q. Public are significantly less.
But if we’re talking about entire countries, those that have severely restricted civilian gun ownership have even higher firearms-related homicide rates than the U.S. Here’s a snapshot of Brazil via wikipedia. . .
Although Brazil has 100 million fewer citizens than the United States, and more restrictive gun laws, there are 25 percent more gun deaths; other sources indicate that homicide rates due to guns are approximately four times higher than the rate in the United States. In 2013 there were 27.4 homicides for each 100,000 people in Brazil. With the total number of 54,445 death puts Brazil the 12th most dangerous country for homicide.
In case you were wondering, equally restrictive El Salvador’s homicide rate is 46.85 per 100k people. Which makes South Africa’s reported 21.5 homicides per 100k people seem positively peaceful.
What’s that you say? Why are you comparing the U.S. to Brazil, El Salvador and South Africa when Psychology Today’s pet researchers were looking at Italy’s firearms sitch? Well, why were those researchers comparing the U.S. to Italy when they could have used Brazil, El Salvador or South Africa for comparison?
Perhaps the aforementioned Richard B. Felson of Pennsylvania State University (and his colleagues at the University of Iowa and at Indiana University) was trying to compare like-to-like Western democracies. Or maybe he was cherry-picking a country to suit his bias. Or maybe he just doesn’t get it.
Regardless of how foreign countries regard civilian firearms ownership, you cannot, will not, disarm law-abiding Americans – unless you’re a politician in, say, Chicago. And then what? Then the criminals will still have access to guns – as they do in Brazil, El Salvador and South Africa – and it’ll be even easier for the bad guys to prey on disarmed victims. As they do now. Not to mention what has happened, is happening and will happen to a disarmed populace: extra-judicial assassinations, terrorist attacks and genocide.
At the risk of sounding obtuse, where’s the sense in that?