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Alan Gottlieb’s Second Amendment Foundation has racked up an enviable string of legal victories, but they’re taking their next battle to the public instead of the courts. They’re promoting the first annual Guns Save Lives Day on December 15th, a day after the anniversary of the Newtown shootings. Civilian disarmament fanatics will, of course, gleefully dance in the blood of victims, holding their own lame-ass rallies and vigils on December 14th.

In advance of GSL Day, they’re asking people to call their 800 number and cast their votes. The SAF’s poll may lack a certain methodological rigor (self-selected survey participants rarely provide valid population samples) but their question is a valid one.

Do guns save lives?


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  1. Mine saved my life.


    Somewhere, there’s a man who got the scare of his life last year in a nondescript parking lot near my friends apartment building.I’d like to think he’s making better decisions now.

    Somewhere else, there’s a man drawing breath who has no conscious idea how close he came to being dead.

    • No, your gun did not save your life. Unless it sprouted arms and legs and donned a Superman cape, it cannot save anything.

      You *used* your gun to save your life.

      • If the gun is the single deciding factor in survival, and one would not have survived had they “used” anything other than a gun, then I think the argument can be made that the gun itself is what caused one not to die. Ok, it doesn’t get 100% of the credit, but it’s a very important piece.

        On the other side of that coin a criminal will often have a size and strength advantage over their victim and as such if firearms are removed from the equation, any remaining choice of weapon gives a clear advantage to the criminal.

        I believe there is a legitimate asymmetry when it comes to firearms where the inanimate object does deserve some credit for stopping a crime or saving a life but almost no credit for crimes committed with it.

        Of course, the individual still has to have the presence of mind to draw in time.

        • Absolutely the gun is an important piece. But there is a very fine distinction that has to be made, as it makes all the difference.

          The gun does not take a life or save a life by itself. Instead, it enhances the capabilities of its user so that they have the power to take a life or save a life USING that gun.

          No doubt it is a very important piece of the equation, but even more important than the tool used is the mindset of the individual using it.

          • Alaskan Troll sez…
            “…But there is a very fine distinction that has to be made, as it makes all the difference…”

            There’s nothing fine about it at all, unless you’re talking about quality. That line is the Constitution of the United States. The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed.

            What part of “shall not be infringed” don’t you understand?

        • @ Rich…

          With all due respect, what the hell are you talking about?

          I’m as fierce, and as unapologetic a 2nd Amendment supporter as you’ll find on this site. What I was saying had absolutely NOTHING to do with the “Shall not be infringed” part of the 2nd Amendment.

          My argument is that people USE guns to save lives, guns do not save lives in and of themselves. How does that even come CLOSE to somehow suggesting an infringement of the 2nd Amendment?

          • Sorry, I must have gotten confused as to who was responding to what; I thought you were one of the squishy ones arguing for “compromise.” I’m sorry, and it won’t happen again.

      • But if he didn’t have a gun he would probably be dead. Therefore the existence of guns is relevant to saving his life. It’s basic logic.

  2. “self-selected survey participants rarely provide valid population samples”

    Yeah, but if this gets enough publicity, then both sides will rally their troops to vote for their side’s answer. Of course, go-go robocalls, and the whole exercise means nothing.

    In answer to the question posed: Sure, guns save lives. They also cost lives. There’s a balance point, and I think the balance point is in the “save lives” favor. Others think that even one tick mark in the “cost lives” column is too many. Balance.

  3. No.

    Guns are not responsible for saving lives any more than they’re responsible for taking them.

    A gun is a tool, designed to enhance the capabilities of its user. It is the user’s intentions that dictate whether the gun is USED to save a life, or if it’s USED to take one.

    Second Amendment supporters and anti-gun activists alike are both guilty of hypocrisy in this situation.

    The POTG shout “Guns save lives” and then in the next breath say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

    The Disarmament Complex shouts “Guns kill people” and then in the next breath, “guns can’t save people.”

    We are all guilty of this hypocrisy because we take the stance that a gun is capable of performing some action when it’s in line with our views, and then asserting that it cannot in fact take action when that action is contrary to our views.

    Guns do not DO anything, other than fire a projectile in a linear direction at a high rate of speed, when manipulated by the operator to do so.

    As Lucius Annaeus Seneca said, “A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.” And by extending that logic we can see that “A sword never saves anybody; it is a tool in the hero’s (for lack of a better word) hand.” Both are equally true.

    • I get your point, and you’re not wrong, but there’s a facet that is missing and that is that of alternatives. True, the intentions of the user are the most important element, as that’s what gives vitality and value to the otherwise inanimate tool of a gun. So we focus on intentions and hold harmless the guns.

      However, as has been argued and well documented, given nefarious intentions, the evil actions will follow regardless of the specific tool available. Killers will attempt to kill by other means, even in the absence of their use of guns. Yet, absent guns, victims won’t always survive their encounters with would-be killers to the same degree as they do when victims are armed. It’s the gun that is the great equalizer, or more, in the hands of the weak would-be victim. A disarmed killer has many and powerful other alternatives. A disarmed victim has few and meager other alternatives.

      So while it’s true in a narrow, literal sense to say that guns themselves don’t save lives, any more than guns themselves take lives, there’s another side to the story. The presence of guns does allow a path for life saving in a way that the absence of guns does not close the road to life taking. That’s how guns save lives, albeit with an asterisk and footnote providing further detail and clarification.

      • In other words, guns enhance the capabilities of their user and as a result of that, can be used to save a life.

        That’s exactly what I said.

        • Well, if it’s “in other words”, then, no, that’s not “exactly” what you said, now is it? So there.

          Beyond that, your reasoning was sloppy and incomplete, resulting in a blurry, off-base conclusion. Then you proceed not only to label POTG as “hypocrites” based on nothing more than your own malformed argument, but then to claim a halo for your effort? Oh that’s rich!

      • I don’t like feeding trolls, but sometimes I can’t help it…

        A sloppy, off base conclusion? The conclusion is that guns are inanimate object and are incapable of taking any action on their own. Some people use them for good deeds, some for bad deeds, but in either case the gun is STILL nothing more than “a tool in the [user’s] hand,” because a gun cannot do anything on its own.

        Some people use them to take lives, and some people use them to save lives. But the gun does not do either thing by itself. That’s a concise, factual conclusion.

        As far as somehow putting a halo around myself? Try again. If I were to take a “holier than thou” attitude, I would’ve said “you guys do X” instead of “we do X.” I’m guilty of the same thing. But logic dictates that if a gun can do one, it can do both. Or, conversely, if it can’t do one, it can’t do either.

        Everybody knows that people who support guns tend to look at it one way, and people who don’t tend to look at it the other way. But they are both incorrect. That’s just all there is to it.

        Guns can be used to destroy life, or used to preserve life. Period.

        • Troll? lol Ahh……the personal attack: the last resort of the failed debater. Better luck to you in the new year, sir.

        • Please, calling a spade a spade is hardly a personal attack.

          Interesting, though, how you failed to respond to any part of the comment other than that word. Lack of logical, coherent rebuttals maybe?

          Better luck next time.

        • Legitimate disagreement does not equal troll.

          Being deliberately inflammatory to get a rise out of people is being a troll.

          You may now continue your regularly scheduled argument.

  4. This “Guns Save Lives Day” event and poll are just gimmicks to drum up donations and new members. I’m pleased with some of SAF successes and I do contribute to them. However, I wonder how much actual 2A defense they’re possibly getting out of my money, when so much of it seems to get funneled right back into weekly paper mail solicitations of me for even more money. We’re probably not going to donate to them again this year, as they’re coming off like a perpetual fundraising machine.

    • “…they’re coming off like a perpetual fundraising machine.”
      Isn’t that what ALL organizations do? They’re not unique in that regard. It would be good to see how much of their cash is consumed by “overhead.” THAT would be educational.

      • No, not “ALL” organizations come off as perpetual fundraising machines, or else I would not have taken the time to call attention to this particular organization.

        While it’s true that all organizations do raise funds, it’s not true that they all do so with such fervor and reinvestment of proceeds into fundraising as to suggest that raising funds is itself their raison detre. Absent transparency into SAF’s finances, that’s a matter of perception, and yours may differ.

        With charities, there are ratings agencies which review their books to determine what percentage of proceeds goes toward the actual charitable cause itself, and what percentage goes toward administration of the charity and fundraising efforts. There’s no set figure that everyone agrees with, but you should generally expect to see 60%+ at a minimum going to the cause itself, preferably 75%+ with some of the more efficient organizations.

        I don’t have access to SAF’s books, so all I can go by is my own specific experience. At the very least, they should communicate more with email than paper mail like NRA and GOA do.

  5. A tool cannot save a live, it is the human operator of that tool (what ever it may be) who saves the life.

  6. Guns save lives in the way pens and pencils write, or paint brushes paint, or a bat hits a baseball. That is, we do speak that way. But in the same way it is true “guns kill”

    Yes guns save lives, guns kill people, guns punch holes in paper. All true statements of instrumental causality. A bat only hits a baseball in virtue of the batter swinging it. A gun only kills or saves because it is an instrument used by the agent to do that.

    When we say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” we are trying to get at the fact that they are mere instruments, they don’t kill people (in virtue of themselves). But it is not wrong to say Bob was killed by a gun. What is wrong is to deny the gun only killed because Bill used it to kill.

    When we say guns save lives, we only mean to say that they are instruments used for life saving.

    You can speak both ways, under different rationals. But to do so at the same time, to says guns don’t kill people, guns save people…will strike people as being contradictory because they will read them as being the same sort of statement, which they are not.

  7. The SAF has had a string of loses with a couple of wins. Unfortunately they are anti NFA and pro universal background checks.
    The SAF supports gun control. People should be scared of the SAF.

  8. A more appropriate question is “Have law-abiding citizens used firearms successfully (regardless of whether they’ve discharged them) more often than criminals, mentally ill or children have used them inappropriately?”

    Unfortunately, there’s no way to prove the answers, one way or another…

    • They are instruments used by man to save lives, by enabling him to do that which he would otherwise be incapable of doing.

      • Just like a gun.

        To Ralph’s point, seat belts, air bags, helmets, child safety seats, on and on. All tools, all save lives. Just like a gun.

        Someone would argue “No that other stuff is safety equipment” …as is your gun.

        You are walking down the street when you are approached by 2 guys demanding your wallet while threatening you with knives. You are prepared and draw your gun…statistics bear out that the conflict ends then and there.

        Any other defense you mount, with any other tool excluding a gun will not have the same outcome. You will either end up dead, injured or minus your possessions.

        Guns do save lives.

      • And guns are instruments for protecting the life, liberty, and property of citizens from government tyranny and other thuggery.

        We don’t shoot to kill, we shoot to stop the threat to life, liberty, and property.

  9. It’s a lot easier to chant ” guns save lives” than “it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun”

    • This++. The public-at-large has a short attention span and takes in information easiest in sound bytes. We need to get out factoids such as “guns save 15 lives a day”, “a gun stops a rape or robbery every 4 minutes”, etc. (Numbers pulled out of thin air to make my point)

      • And a very valid point, IMO. The “low information” crowd is not known for Mensa membership. We must KISS. Like:
        “We stopped three rapes today.”
        “We carry.”

  10. “Do guns save lives?”
    Is there even a question there? Guns are a tool to either feed your family or protect your family, or people would not own them. Now, some would argue that gangs and dealers shooting each other to settle disputes are doing neither, but I would disagree. They are protecting their (illegal) business, feeding and protecting their extended “family.” Protecting your business and turf through brutality when necessary is nothing new. The flaw is that laws relegate supply to organized crime, where the only way to settle a dispute is through brutality.

    If your answer is “no” then you are confusing the means with the end. People don’t want to resort to violence to protect themselves or make ends meet, the fact the violence is strongly correlated with poverty tells you that. Rich people don’t shoot each other they sue, when that option is available. But when people are poor, starving, attacked, or survival is on the line, they’ll do whatever it takes to survive.

  11. “….gleefully dance in the blood of victims, holding their own lame-ass rallies and vigils on December 14th.”

    I don’t see anything wrong with people gathering and remembering loved ones lost in such a tragic manner. It is a callous and shallow statement, one I would expect from the other side of the line, the line of extremes. Many gun owners have families, what am I saying, we all have families, and all of us can and should acknowledge the sorrow and pain these families have and will continue to deal with.

    The problem is the media, the politicians, and uneducated citizens who demonize an inanimate object as opposed to the spineless little prick who executed kids and unarmed citizens. People just can’t get it into their heads that humans, as history is testament, are capable of insidious cruelty and horror, the tool they use is irrelevant, it is the mindset that should be questioned. We cannot stop stupidity and we cannot stop crazy, it is part of the human animal. As I recall, we don’t and didn’t have ban box cutters or ban pressure cooker rallies or groups headed by ex Monsanto talking puppets wanting donations, a fantastic business venture… like all the scum who have started Veteran charities and maybe 1% of donations actually end up going to veterans.

    The question should be, do you blame Adam Lanza or do you blame the firearm he used? Possibly even a third part, do you blame his mother for not getting him the necessary mental care he needed? There are no simple answers to a complex problem, though it seems the knee-jerk reaction, quick fix for the the anti 2A crowd is to simply ban all guns.

    Do guns save lives? Yes, I can use a firearm to save my life. And I can speak for my uncle (who has since passed), his firearm sure as hell did save his life when he encounter multiple intruders on his property.

    Lastly, when I lost my father, I didn’t blame the gun he used on himself, I blamed him and myself and my family for not taking actions to help him with his mental mindset and alcohol abuse. He was a great man, did business with a handshake, and I will always remember him as such, even though he, like all of us, have vices and turbulent times. At some point, certain people have enough, this world can only offer so much. He took his life, he did not harm any others in the process physically and did not threaten anyone, but the pain will always be there. My brother-in-law’s father did the same thing when he returned from Vietnam. He went to a back room in his house and took his life. And there are many warriors coming home today who are in the same mindset. May we save them all.

    • Well-said! My condolences on your loss. I too lost my brother to suicide. In his case, he chose to O.D. Suicide is a deep, complex issue that firearms are just an aspect of. For the sake of this topic though, we run the risk of digression…

      I am an advocate for our 2nd Amendment rights. However, the right NOT to bear arms is implicit. The right to voice your opinion, mourn the lives of victims, etc., is just as important as our rights.

      We are best served by intelligent, logical discussion.

      I greatly appreciate Chris Dumm’s articles, for the most part. I have purchased at least one firearm based partly on his reviews. He lost me on his “dancing in the blood” and “lame-ass” comments.

      In our universe, violence of any kind will not disappear because we ban civilian possession of firearms. The physically weak will NOT be protected because we have police departments. My church-going, pacifist mother was brutally mugged, beaten severely by a worthless piece of crap thief. She went out and bought a .38 revolver. She then learned how to use it.

      It is THESE types of individuals who we may help by swaying their opinions of guns, before it happens to them.

      We need (and I’m speaking to myself here too) to present the best, respectful image we can to the public at large. We should strive to develop our arguments before we post them for the world to criticize. I support the SAF, mostly. They’ve done more as far as I can tell for the preservation of the 2nd Amendment than the NRA. I don’t think that “Gun Save Lives Day” will further our cause though. I think it will be the continued upstanding words/actions of law-abiding gun owners that will carry the day.

  12. Somebody needs to make a poster with two images. One, labeled “gun control,” of a roomful of dead bloody students and teachers with a standing psychopathic killer with a smoking “assault rifle,” and another, labeled “Constitutional Carry,” of a roomful of wide-eyed students staring in wonder at a teacher with a smoking pistol standing over the body of a dead psychopathic killer, and a caption maybe like “Please choose one.”

  13. I think you can shout “the gun is just a tool!” all you want……but it dosen’t matter. They will just shout back “the gun killed children.”

    I will make it personal and emotional if they want………

    my GUN saved my LIFE Many times. my GUN safeguards my family and my freedom.

  14. Cars kill people, planes kill people, trains kill people but that is not their intent.We don’t banish planes that fly everyday cause a 747 over New York explodes and takes 275 people with it all dying a horrible death still alive as it falls from 12000 feet. In the RIGHT and TRAINED hands these vehicles operate thousands of times a day because the trained pilot,driver,train operator know the risks and rewards. Are these vehicle dangerous? You betcha! Then why don’t we ban them?Cause we need them and they are a safe part of our society.Do you need to go somewhere?Sure but you don’t need to take one of these vehicle ,it’s your choice.You have options.
    Firearms have a purpose,it is your Constitutional Right to exercise or not BUT it is NOT up for debate!Are they dangerous You betcha and in untrained hands good or bad they are Dangerous! How about drunk drivers,untrained pilots asleep at the wheel train operators?Are they dangerous You betcha!
    So….. Do we get rid of guns ? NOPE! Should we educate people about them( antis won’t do training cause they are Antis)YEP !
    Do guns save lives? Well..that would be a resounding YES! Do they kill people ?Well that would be a resounding YES! But the ones that are killed are ,hopefully , the ones that would kill you,rape your wife and kill your kids and have a sandwich as they burned your house and bodies.Too graphic,Antis? Too Bad! Welcome to reality!
    The knuckleheads arguing over semantics are knuckleheads !

    • Guns don’t kill people unless someone pulls the trigger.

      There are two circumstances where that can happen.

      One is a government thug or other criminal coming to take away your life, liberty, or property.

      The other is a citizen protecting herself and her family from government thugs and other criminals.

      And don’t forget the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees that the Creator-given, natural, human, civil right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

      There can be no compromise. The Constitution is inviolate. If you don’t like it, just put together a 3/4 majority, and call a Constitutional Convention.

      If you’re driven by hoplophobia, you’re free to move to any of the gun-controlled countries, like Cuba or China or North Korea or ….

  15. It is incontrovertible that guns do, at times, save lives. They also end them. Which one they do more is irrelevant trivia, of interest only to tyrants and statists

  16. Guns do save lives and, no, it’s not the same thing as when the anti’s say “guns kill.”

    The difference is that the anti’s mean that guns literally kill; as though the inanimate object itself is sentient and beguiles others into murderous mischief. At the very least, some of them believe the presence of the gun induces actual biochemical responses in people, which in turn has negative and dangerous consequences. They’ll even cite supposed scientific studies attesting to this effect.

    Where you’re all missing the point is that the phrase “guns save lives” isn’t meant to be taken so literally. How many times have we read in contest entry articles or others here or elsewhere how “guns” mean so much more than the mere metallic devices themselves? It’s the history, the legacy, the heritage, the science, the engineering, the mathematics, the chemistry, the art, the family, the beauty, the safety, the individuality, the community, the responsibility, the philosophy, it’s….it’s….it’s….a million more things than just the friggin’ firearm itself!

    Similarly, “guns save lives” is not some misguided, hypocritical statement, because it’s meant to convey a whole host of ideas all wrapped up in one pithy bumper sticker bon mot, and not the literal notion that this inanimate object sees the signal, dons a cape and fights crime in paladin-like mien at a moment’s notice. It’s meant to suggest a constellation of ideas surrounding guns; including, but certainly not limited to, preparation, personal responsibility, liberty, justice and resolve not to be a victim.

  17. Thanks for all the comments! It is folks such as yourselves that give me hope for our Great Nation. In this day HOPE is hard to find where the CHANGE is easy! The first is good, The latter has been proven to be BAD!

  18. Alan Gottlieb’s Second Amendment Foundation ALSO worked behind the scenes draft the universal gun registry in Manchin-Toomey:

    It’s nice that they’re back on our side for the time being. They may have done some nice things, but they tried very very hard to sell us down the river, and for what? So the antis could keep coming back for more, until there’s nothing left? Registration leads to confiscation (as New Yorkers are finding out at this very moment, btw).

  19. I think some of you are over-thinking this and conflating the tool with the user, or the user with the either way. The key fact is, it works!
    If you look at statistics, and the SAF is correct in their “over 2 million lives are saved by guns every year” assertion, then it turns-out 1.9 million plus were not killed or injured because someone used a gun to prevent a killing or injury.
    I think the question was a little misdirecting, but surely made for a lively discussion.
    However the question is formulated, the numbers answer it resoundingly.

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