As I’ve said many times, one of the most glaring reasons why the anti-gunner lobby has had so much success up until now is because most of those favoring stricter gun laws know very little about guns or the overall issue of gun rights in America. To exploit this ignorance, the left promotes various lies about gun control’s efficacy and the dangers that law-abiding citizens could have guns.
Slate published a piece in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen which did away with New York’s repressive gun licensing scheme; it required applicants to prove they had a valid need to carry a firearm outside of their homes. Alex Yablon wrote the article and repeats many of the same lies that progressive leftists have used for years. However, it is not hard to discredit his claims.
Yablon’s first argument is that gun ownership by responsible citizens increases violence. It also helps to provide criminals with weapons. “While some research suggests that more permissive laws on carrying guns in public lead to more violence, the mechanism is subtler than a rise in shootouts as people take their safety into their own hands,” he writes.
He then makes the questionable claim that defensive gun uses (DGUs) are rare and that loosening laws on gun ownership foster “a proliferation of guns that then get lost or stolen, supplying a black market.”
He added: “So-called good guys with guns almost never have cause to actually use their weapons, and so they get careless, inadvertently supplying the ‘bad guys.’”
Criminals can get their guns by taking them from people leaving them open in their cars or homes. According to the Justice Department’s 2019 study, however, this percentage is very low. The following is an extract from the report
287.400 prison inmates had guns during their crimes. 56 percent of them had stolen the firearm (6%), recovered it from crime scenes (7%), or bought it illegally or on the streets (43%). The remainder (25%), had received it from their family, friends or as gifts. Seven percent purchased the firearm under their name through a licensed firearms dealer.
The study found that only six percent of criminals got their guns through stealing. This means that legalizing firearms for Americans is unlikely to make it more difficult to arm violent thugs. In fact, this is how most of these people get their weapons. When compared to the number of defensive gun uses that occur every year, it is easy to see that the possibility of one’s weapon being stolen is not nearly enough to justify disarming citizens. We’ll get to that in a moment.
The author then contends that DGUs “remain very rare” because “[l]icensed gun owners simply don’t open fire in public very often.”
I’ll be blunt. This argument is as misleading as they come. DGUs can be defined as when an individual uses their firearm in self-defense, to protect another person or property. But what folks like Yablon don’t want their audience to know is that a defensive gun use does not necessarily involve firing the weapon. Let’s say a thug approaches you with a knife and demands your wallet. The criminal flees when you pull out your Glock. Even though the criminal did not trigger your gun, this would be considered defensive use.
Numerous data shows that DGUs happen far more frequently than what the left believes. Yablon acknowledges part of this in his article. He says:
Estimates range from an astounding 2.5 million defensive gun uses annually, according to a heavily criticized but oft-cited early 1990s survey by criminologists Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, down to a mere 70,040, according to more recent survey data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey.
DGUs happen far more frequently than homicides even when the estimates are low. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 24,576 cases of homicides in 2020. 19,384 of these involved firearms. What number of homicides would it be if Yablon and other law-abiding citizens were disarmed?
The author goes on to cite a study claiming that despite the fact that a considerable number of DGUs occur each year, “it seems clear few gun owners use their weapons to protect themselves in public.” He continues:
A 2021 survey by Georgetown professor William English that estimated a relatively high number of DGUs still found that nearly 80 percent of these incidents occurred within the gun owner’s home or on their property, while only 9 percent happened in public. Meanwhile, the National Firearms Survey conducted in 2015 by scholars at Northeastern and Harvard found that only 6 percent of the minority of gun owners who carry a handgun in public had themselves actually been threatened with a gun—the sort of thing that would in theory cause them to draw their own.
Let’s take the study with the lowest estimate of annual DGUs, which is 70,040. If Professor English’s study is accurate, this means about 6,304 incidents in which one uses a firearm to defend themselves occur each year. These are not small numbers. These individuals could easily add more than 6,000 to the annual total if they were not armed. Again, the study’s findings do not justify preventing people from bearing arms in public.
Moreover, the National Firearms Survey’s findings that only six percent of gun owners who conceal carry have been threatened with a gun is irrelevant. The author does not believe that being threatened by a gun is the only reason an individual could use a firearm in defense of themselves. Not all threats are made with firearms.
I’ll give credit to Yablon for actually trying to take on the DGU argument. It is almost impossible to combat, so most left-leaning people avoid it. It is difficult to argue for the disarmament of the citizens if there are more gun-homicides that people defending themselves with guns. Indeed, I’d posit that they avoid responding to the DGU issue because they want to keep their audience ignorant of the fact that they occur more often than one would think–and annihilates the argument that “Good Guys With Guns” don’t exist.