In the debate over guns and gun rights, statistics are important. People want to know how big the problem is. They want to know if it’s really a problem and how well solutions work, if at all.
The problem, though, is the public doesn’t get a real picture. They don’t get a full understanding of what’s transpiring because they’re being given some bogus statistics that, on the surface, look scary, but aren’t if you understand the reality a bit better.
In a recent op-ed, some gun control advocates try to use some widely-used and utterly fecal statistics to try and score gun control points.
The sad truth is that gun violence is a reality – it is not some ephemeral ideation that crops up after the all-too-familiar mass shooting. It’s an everyday fact of life in our country. Ask the families of the 40,000 who die from gun violence annually in America.
The fact is that a gun in the home is more likely to be used in domestic violence, suicide or accidentally by a child than it will ever be used to defend one’s home. A recent Harvard University study noted “the risks of owning a gun outweigh the benefits of having one in the rare case where you might need to defend yourself.”
A gun in the home triples the risk of suicide by gun and doubles the risk of homicide. In fact, a gun in the home is 43 times more likely to be used to kill a friend or family member than a burglar.
Now, these aren’t made up statistics. At least, not made up by the writers, anyway. These are real and common stats thrown around by anti-gunners with alarming regularity.
However, they’re also blatantly misrepresenting reality.
First, the 40,000 people who die from gun violence annually. What they fail to mention is that two-thirds of that number or more are suicides. Suicide can be committed in any number of ways and would hardly be impacted by gun control measures. Even the red flag laws that are touted as a solution to suicide aren’t.
Besides, suicide is better dealt with as a mental health issue, since that pathway leads to not just a prevention of suicides regardless of method use but also increases the quality of life for the better for the person in question.
But what about the idea that a gun in the home is 43 times more likely to be used to kill a friend or family member than a burglar? Is that one made up?
Not really, but there are a lot of problems with the study. First and foremost, though, is the fact that a gun can defend human life without taking human life. Wounding a burglar or even just showing you have a gun is often enough to scare off a criminal intending to do harm to you and yours. That won’t show up on any statistic if you’re simply looking for dead bad guys.
Second, the study didn’t really account for lawfully-owned weapons versus criminally-owned weapons. That matters.
You see, criminals who have guns also have questionable relationships. As a result, they’re more likely to kill someone they considered a friend or family member. That’s going to skew those numbers upward.
However, there’s a statistic you’re not likely to hear in op-eds like this, and that’s how an estimated 2.5 million people use a firearm to defend their lives annually. That statistic, long claimed to be invalidated, was recently found to have been validated by the CDC.
Now, any sane person can do a basic analysis and see that even if you include suicide, the number of lives taken by guns is easily outstripped by the number of lives saved by guns.
Why doesn’t that ever work into the discussion of gun control?
Probably because it’s not easy for them to counter, so they completely dismiss it. They ignore it and keep repeating the same talking points in hopes that the undecideds in our society don’t learn the truth.
But if you’re having to ignore inconvenient studies, then maybe the problem is that your entire movement is on shaky ground to begin with?