On January 25 Slate magazine published an article revolving around the NRA’s warning that we live in a dangerous world best answered by owning a gun. They argue that the call to gun ownership for self-defense is false, that it is part of a great myth which has clouded the minds of Americans and resulted in a “misguided” expansion of gun ownership, and therefore, expanded crime.
The Slate article opens by listing the NRA’s recitation of reasons for owning a gun. Those include, but are not limited to, “terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping-mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids.”
The NRA argues that the only thing that will stop these and other bad guys with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Slate is responding by claiming the whole “good guy with a gun” scenario is a myth and American’s faith in the gun is “misguided.”
Moreover, Slate argues that “the most gun-restrictive states have fewer fatalities than states with the least restrictive laws.” They linked to an April 2013 study approved by The Boston Children’s Hospital institutional review board to bolster this claim, but failed to note that the study clearly states: “Although multiple studies have examined the relationship between federal and state firearms laws and homicide and suicide rates, the overall association between firearm legislation and firearm mortality is uncertain and remains controversial.”
Nevertheless, Slate argues that “the evidence against firearm ownership becomes even stronger when suicides and accidents are included in the mix.” They claim “guns make both much more likely and more fatal.” They did not explain how one kind of suicide can be “more fatal” than another, nor did they touch on FBI stats–reported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation–which show that firearm-related accidental deaths account for approximately 0.5 percent of all accidental deaths nationwide.
That’s it–0.5 percent.
Slate also overlooked the Congressional Research Service (CRS) study showing that as private gun ownership exploded from 1994 to 2009, crime fell significantly. According to CRS privately owned guns went from 192 million guns owned in 1994 to 310 million in 2009. At the same time, the “firearm-related murder and non-negligent homicide” rate fell from 6.6 per 100,000 in 1993 to 3.6 per 100,000 in 2000 and, finally, to 3.2 per 100,000 in 2011.
In short, the CRS study shows that more guns correlated with less crime.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.