Thomas Sowell: ‘Gun Control Zealots’ Bring Everything but the Facts

Gun Control Rally
Indianapolis Star/AP/Charlie Nye

On October 13 Hoover Institute senior fellow Thomas Sowell addressed the way “gun control zealots” fire up the cameras and microphones, grab a set of pre-established talking points, and a social media machine second to none any time there is a shooting they might be able to leverage for more gun legislation. Like Obama’s “intrusion into the community of Roseburg, Oregon” in the wake of the Umpqua Community College attack, Sowell stressed that the zealots bring everything–except the facts.

Writing in Townhall, Sowell said, “The zealotry of gun control advocates might make some sense if they had any serious evidence that more restrictive gun control laws actually reduce gun crimes. But they seldom even discuss the issue in terms of empirical evidence.”

In fact, they avoid empirical evidence, instead quoting studies conducted from within their own circle, many of which can be traced back to the wallet of gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg.

Sowell points out that if the “gun control zealots” had actual proof that gun works they could abolish gun ownership in America via the processes our Founding Fathers set forth for repealing or amending an amendment. That fact they are not seeking to go through Constitutional channels to accomplish their ends is proof that they really lack the empirical support to justify the actions they wish to take.

Sowell put it this way:

There is a huge amount of statistical evidence, just within the United States, since gun control laws are different in 50 different states and these laws have been changed over time in many of these states. There are mountains of data on what happens under restrictive laws and what happens when restrictions are lifted. Statistics on murder are among the most widely available statistics, and among the most accurate, since no one ignores a dead body. With so many facts available from so many places and times, why is gun control still a heated issue? The short answer is that most gun control zealots do not even discuss the issue in terms of hard facts.

Instead, the zealots “act as if they just know–somehow–that bullets will be flying hither and yon if you allow ordinary people to have guns.”

Sowell shows that the push for gun control also includes ignoring that which challenges the gun control template. In 2015, that means ignoring the fact that the murder rate in America greatly decreased as the number of privately owned firearms in American dramatically increased during the late 20th century. And he adds, “Among the other facts that gun control zealots consistently ignore are data on how many lives are saved each year by a defensive use of guns. This seldom requires actually shooting. Just pointing a loaded gun at an assailant is usually enough to get him to back off, often in some haste.”

On February 19 Breitbart News reported that Florida State criminologist Gary Kleck reaffirmed his findings that there are approximately 760,000 defensive gun uses (DGUs) in America each year. Through scholarly work with colleague Marc Gertz, Kleck began arriving at a minimum of 760,000 DGUs a year in 1993. Although his number his been challenged in the decades since, he and Gertz have refuted the criticism every time.

It is interesting to note that 760,000 DGUs breaks down to approximately 2,082 a day. Odds are, you won’t hear the “gun control zealots” mention this.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.