Painful Lies and Boring Facts

I’m in a rut. I read the endless stream of gun-control proposals and I have the same reaction time after time. Gun-control advocates promise us safety in return for further restricting the ability of ordinary citizens to go armed. Those excuses would be laughable if they didn’t cost so many lives. It is easier for us to recognize the false-claims of gun-control if we have a sense of proportion and perspective. Then we can see it is a step backwards when we create a larger problem as we work to solve a smaller one. If we actually want to save lives then we have to see the big picture and do no harm.

Ordinary citizens defend themselves with a gun several thousand times a day. Our armed defense stops tens of thousands of robberies, assaults, and rapes. It saves thousands of lives a year. Many thousands. Despite that immense virtue, nothing is perfect. We are human so there are problems with armed defense.

Gun-control runs into problems precisely because armed defense saves so many lives. To change our laws and save a few more lives tomorrow, we can’t reduce the many lives we save each day. It is hard to pass a gun-control law that will do no harm. Let me give you an example to make that clear.

Each week I analyze how ordinary people defended themselves with a firearm. I advocate for instruction, training, and practice. I encourage people to plan for lethal and non-lethal defense. We talk about avoidance and de-escalation all the time. Sure, I want gun owners to be trained, but I have perspective.

Week after week we see criminals break into a home. Grandma grabs her gun and says she is armed. The robber runs away because grandma wasn’t the victim he expected. The great news is that eight-times-out-of-ten the bad guys runs away before we have to fire a shot. I don’t see where mandatory safety training could make this self-defense situation significantly safer or more effective. 8-out-of-10 times it is already good enough.

Proportions are crucial. Firearms accidents are rare but criminal attacks are common. Yes, I ask gun owners to take training, but I know that costs money, takes time, and demands energy. Disarming ordinary citizens until they take training means that more good people will be disarmed. Maybe mandatory training saved a few people from firearms accidents but we condemned more of them to be the unarmed victims of violent crime. The unarmed victims will have to surrender or go against a criminal attacker with their bare hands. Criminals plan their attacks to beat an unarmed victim. I don’t want that, and few of us do.

If demanding a firearms safety course costs lives then demanding more is even worse. Today, the advocates of gun-control demand that we take longer and longer classes. Some gun-control proposals require several classes over more than two full days (over 22 hours). Some gun-control legislators propose that we retake the entire training course every six months. One gun-control bill would require us to carry a taser every time we go armed in public.

That might be fun for gun-junkies like me, but gun-control also disarms the people who are struggling to pay their bills and take care of their families. Putting a barrier between the victim and their gun disarms the single mom who can only afford to live where rent is low and, unfortunately, crime is high. Once I thought that was an accident, but it happens too often for it to be a mistake. Now I think that disarming poor people was what gun-prohibitionists wanted all along.

Gun-control laws often disarm minorities, women, and the poor. I’ve given small gun-safes to friends who bought guns. Demanding that we lock up all our guns at night might eliminate some firearms accidents, but it will also increase the number of us who are unarmed when a robber breaks into our home. This is where a sense of proportion becomes critical since we defend ourselves more than 40 times for each firearms accident. We can’t solve a relatively small problem of firearms theft and accidents by creating a larger problem when we disarm the victims of violent crime.

Gun-control advocates want legal gun owners to pay a tax when a criminal uses a gun illegally. I noticed that prohibitionists never offer to pay us when an ordinary citizen uses a gun to defend themselves from harm. Guns in civilian hands save lives and reduce crime. Gun owners are subsidizing non-gun owners and saving the taxpayers money.

The lie is that gun-laws disarm criminals. The truth is that gun-control laws disarm law-abiding victims. Let’s look at gun-control from another perspective.

If safe storage of a firearm is a virtue, then shouldn’t gun-control advocates offer to buy small gun-safes for poor gun owners? If firearms training is so important, then why don’t gun-control politicians offer vouchers, subsidies, or tax deductions for firearms training? Why isn’t basic firearms safety taught in public schools? If avoidance and de-escalation are so important, then politicians should be subsidizing outdoor lighting, high-quality door locks, camera systems, and security alarms that help us avoid criminal encounters in the first place. They should, but they don’t. Their silence says a lot.

Gun-prohibition serves many purposes. Gun-prohibition lets elite government officials sell the right of armed defense back to our social elites. Gun-control also lets some people pretend that the government keeps them safe by disarming violent criminals. Let’s not forget that gun-control is a useful excuse for failing politicians in violent cities. None of those make us safer.

Source: Painful Lies and Boring Facts About Being Armed by Rob Morse, Slow Facts

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