By: ciacono

1. The scariest guns kill the least amount of people.

Despite the extensive coverage dedicated to “assault weapons” by the media following mass shootings, it appears as though such coverage excludes a few important details. For one, “assault weapons” are functionally no different from any other firearm. As one study has noted of the 1994-2004 “assault weapons” ban:

“The AW [assault weapon] provision [of the ban] targets a relatively small number of weapons based on features that have little to do with the weapons operation, and removing those features is sufficient to make the weapons legal.”

Hence, the difference between an assault weapon and any other firearm are purely superficial.

Additionally, despite the media craze about the danger of “assault weapons” like the AR-15, FBI data shows that ALL rifles were only confirmed to have been used in 322 homicides in 2012.  This is in comparison to 1,589  homicides committed with knives, 518 committed with blunt objects, and 668 committed with hands or feet. Thus, a US citizen’s chance of being murdered by a person with a rifle was 0.00029% in 2012.

Ultimately, the rationale that the government should ban rifles like the AR-15 in order to save lives makes about as much sense as cutting off everyone’s hands and feet so we can’t strangle each other to death.

2. Banning high capacity magazines doesn’t work.

Banning magazines over a certain size is a popularly accepted gun control measure. The logic behind it is simple; if criminals have less bullets to fire, than they will kill less people. The problem is that most gun crime doesn’t even involve more than a few bullets being fired. According to a study analyzing the effect of the 1994 “assault weapons” ban on gun violence reported to the Department of Justice in 2004:

“[A]vailable studies on shots fired show that assailants fire less than four shots on average, a number well within [a] 10-round magazine limit”.

However, this information didn’t stop the US government from banning magazines which held over 10 bullets between 1994-2004. Despite this ban the DOJ report noted earlier found that:

“[C]riminal use of [large capacity magazines] was rising or steady through at least the latter 1990s, based on police recovery data… Post-2000 data… suggest that [large capacity magazine] use may be dropping from peak levels of the late 1990s but provide no definitive evidence of a drop below pre-ban levels.”

Thus, the ban on high capacity magazines didn’t stop nor cause a decline in their use in crime, and even if  it did, most crimes don’t involve more than 4 shots being fired  and thus wouldn’t have been affected by the ban anyway.

3. The majority of gun deaths are voluntary

Gun control advocates cite often cite the statistic that there are 30,000 gun deaths per year. While this is true, it is misleading because the majority of those gun deaths are completely voluntary. In 2010, the latest year for which data is available, the CDC documents 19,392 suicides by firearm. Additionally, the FBI reports that there were 8,874 homicides committed with firearms that same year. That means that 69% of firearm deaths in 2010 were suicides in 2010. 

Even confronted with this fact, gun control advocates may argue that restricting gun ownership is a good thing since it could reduce the number of suicides. While it is true that gun ownership is positively correlated with overall suicide rates in individual states in the US, a Harvard study found that there is no correlation between international suicide rates and firearm ownership. For example, Japan has a suicide rate double that of the US despite having near zero gun ownership.

Many things correlate with suicide, that doesn’t mean that they cause it. Take for example a study which found that the amount of country music radio stations play is strongly related to the suicide rate, even when controlling for other variables like gun availability and poverty. Should we believe that country music causes people to off themselves? Maybe, or maybe there is another unrecognized variable (or reverse causality) driving the relationship.

Regardless, if one believes the government should restrict gun ownership to protect people from their own choices, than stopping people from listening to country music, as well as forcing people to have healthy diets would also seem like legitimate government interventions into a person’s life. Such draconian and authoritative interventions could not possibly be supported by any believer in human free will.

 

4: Fatal accidents with guns are nearly nonexistent.

A favorite argument for restricting gun ownership is that having a gun in the home increases the risk of accidental death dramatically. However, this is not the case. According to the Center for Disease Control, 606 people died due to accidental discharge of firearms in 2010. This is in comparison to 35,332 accidental deaths due to motor vehicles, 33,041 due to poisoning, 26,009 from accidental falls, 3,782 due to drowning, and 2,782 due to fire, and even 551 due to bicycle accidents.

Cause of accidental death Number of accidental deaths among children (all ages)
Cut/ Pierce 105
Bicycle accidents 551
Firearm 606
Fire 2,782
Suffocation 6,165
Drowning 3,782
Falling 26,009
Poisoning 33,041
Motor Vehicle 35,332

 

Additionally, the media loves to publish articles which make it appear as those children are accidentally killing each other left and right with firearms. Once again, this is an illusion. If we look solely at children (age 14 and below), it is clear from CDC data that accidental death by firearm is extremely rare. The 62 accidental deaths among children in 2010 which involved firearms is comparable to the number of children who died from a bike accident or from accidentally falling.

Cause of accidental death Number of accidental deaths among children (Age 14 and below)
Cut/ Pierce 4
Bicycle accidents 58
Firearm 62
Falling 62
Poisoning 94
Fire 308
Drowning 726
Motor vehicle 1,418

 

Gun control advocates may want to reduce gun ownership in a futile attempt to reduce accidental firearm homicides, but this makes about as much sense as doing the same for bicycles, cars, etc. Anyone who legitimately wants to pursue such measures shouldn’t be taken seriously.