Debunking the “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People” Myth

Posted On October 8, 2013
October 08, 2013

Guns don’t kill people, children do.  Cassie Culpepper, age 11, was riding in the back of a pickup when her 12-year-old brother pointed his father’s pistol at her.  He believed he had removed the bullets, and so jokingly pulled the trigger. He was wrong.

Since January 1st, 2013 there have been 11 reported gun fatalities involving preschool children as the shooter. Ten more toddlers have accidentally shot themselves or somebody else this year.  And this statistic represents only data for which a toddler is the shooter in a death (MotherJones reports that 71 children have been killed by guns since Newtown).

The BBC originally reported on this phenomenon in 2009 when, in the span of 24 hours, two children were shot by their toddler siblings.   In both cases, the deaths were a result of improperly secured weapons.   A New York Times’ piece added to the controversy showing that, due to idiosyncrasies over what constitutes a ‘homicide’ or an ‘accident’, child firearm accidental killings happen roughly twice as much as they are reported in national databases.

These deaths, quite obviously, could have been avoided had any adult, at any point in time, exercised even a modicum of discretion concerning the availability of their firearm.  Our outrage towards these deaths should be proportional to how senseless they are, how utterly avoidable they were.  We put child-locks on our medicine cabinets, secure our pools with gates, put on helmets during bike rides, and we give our 12-year-old boys a rifle to play with in the backseat of a truck.  Wouldn’t want him to get bored.   After all, the only way to stop a bad child with a gun is a good child with a gun.

Lawn Darts and Firearms


In April 1987 seven-year-old Michelle Snow was killed in Riverside, California by a stray lawn dart that was thrown by her brother’s playmate.   These darts were part of a children’s game in the 70’s and 80’s involving large, weighted darts with sharp metal tips, designed to pierce a horizontal target on the ground.

Michelle’s father immediately began a campaign to ban the darts, arguing that anything less than a full-scale ban would be insufficient—after all, even if you were to ban lawn darts in your own home, nothing can stop a neighbor’s child from throwing one over the fence.  The campaign led to an all-out ban in the US and Canada.  To this day, it is illegal to assemble a lawn dart in either of the two countries. The problem wasn’t just that lawn darts were dangerous, it was that they were dangerous AND they were being marketed to children as a game, despite being responsible for 6,100 emergency room visits over a span of eight years.  So when parents observed that these unnecessarily dangerous toys were injuring and killing their children, they did what any sensible parent would do: they complained until the government listened.

Now examine how differently our society treats guns in a similar context: On April 20th, 2013, a five-year-old Kentucky boy shot and killed his two-year-old sister with a gun that had been specifically manufactured for child use.  The gun was called “My First Rifle”, a .22 caliber gun which marketed itself as “especially for youth shooters.”  Instead of massive public backlash, the National Rifle Association (NRA) instead, days after the event, held its Annual Meeting where it explicitly marketed firearms and firearm paraphernalia to kids, including NRA bibs for children, ‘Youth Model’ firearms, and NRA publications focused on ‘Youth Shooters.’

Where was the outcry over the blatant militarization of children by one of the most powerful political lobbies in the United States?  Where was the parental campaigns demanding that children not be subject to the propagandization of firearms? Where are the restrictions, the regulations, the bans?  The NRA’s response, instead, sent a different message:  “You’ll have to take my gun from my child’s cold, dead hands.”

Guns may not kill people, but gun culture does.

6 Academic Responses to “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People”

Lawnmowers don’t mow lawns, people do.  But if you want to mow a lot of grass in a very short period of time with very little effort or coordination, you’re going to need a lawnmower.   And if you want to be brutally efficient about it, why not get a John Deere semi-automatic riding lawnmower? The X758 is a popular model that can literally mow down entire fields at the push of a button, and can be picked up without any hassle at your local Walmart.

I’m belaboring the analogy, but the point should be clear:  Guns may not kill people, but people with guns do, and they do so more often and more efficiently than people without guns.  People do not behave in a vacuum. They are influenced by their environment, and when that environment is occupied by guns, people behave aggressively and impulsively.  Even the NRA is unable to follow its own strict logic behind “guns don’t kill people.” In searching for a scapegoat, Wayne LaPierre often accuses media, video games, Obama’s budget, and anything else he can find that isn’t a gun. The point being these fruitless attempts to shift blame are an implicit acknowledgement that we are influenced by our surrounding environment, an environment that includes guns.

So here are six reasons, supported in the academic literature, for why guns do, in fact, kill people.

1. Suicides

One area over which there is very little controversy involves the relationship between gun ownership and suicide rates.   When firearms are available, people commit suicide more regularly and more successfully than people without access to firearms.

A 2009 meta-analysis on lethal means reduction as a strategy for decreasing suicide rates found that policies that influenced the firearm ownership rate had the most prominent effect on suicide rates.

A 2007 paper investigated suicide rates as it related to the implementation of Austrian firearm regulations.  The legislation mandated safe storage practices, a 3-day waiting period for firearms, background and psychological testing prior to purchase, and that all purchasers be at least 21 years of age.  The study found a statistically significant decline in suicides for women age 20 to 64, and among men in all age brackets above 20.

A 2006 paper published by Dr. Miller and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health explored changes in household firearm ownership in the United States over the period 1981-2002 as it related to a decline in the suicide rate, controlling for age, unemployment, per capita alcohol consumption, and socioeconomic status.  The study found that, for every 10% decline in the household firearm ownership rate, firearm suicides decreased by 4.2%, and total suicides dropped by 2.5%.  The decline in suicide rates was highest among children, and there was no statistically significant increase in the fraction of suicides committed with other weapons.

From Inj Prev. 2006 June; 12(3): 178–182.
doi: 10.1136/ip.2005.010850

A 2000 paper by Ludwig and Cook estimated whether declines in suicides over the period 1985-1997 were associated with the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.   The study found that the legislation produced a significant reduction in suicide rates among persons aged 55 or older, suggesting that suicidal impulses in older individuals were attenuated by the imposition of the five day waiting period.

Note also that the largest study done to assess mental health trends in the United States found that there was no significant changes in suicidal tendencies between 1990 and 2000.  The number of suicides occurring during that period, however, did increase.  The only explanation for this incongruity is that suicide attempts became increasingly more ‘successful’ as the years progressed, and the most accepted explanation for why this is the case is due to increase access to firearms.

Furthermore, the best empirical evidence on suicides suggests that most attempts occur during temporary bouts of mental illness.  One in four teens who survive a suicide attempt say that they thought of suicide just five minutes before the attempt.  The presence of a gun increases the likelihood that a suicide will be ‘successful’, which is why gun regulation consistently decreases suicide rates.  The imposition of waiting periods or barriers to the acquisition of a gun allows for the resolution of transient suicidal impulses, decreasing the overall suicide rate. This is further validated by a 2012 study, which shows that the majority of suicide attempts were impulsive and that restricting access to highly lethal methods of suicides (like guns) saves lives.

In the case of suicides, then, the evidence is clear that guns do kill people.

2. Accidental Deaths and Injuries

A key observation noted by Hedeboe and his colleagues is that injuries are inflicted by whatever object is most near.  However, when a gun is available, impromptu arguments escalate quickly, leading to a lethal injury.  FBI data from 1981, for example, found that 2/3rds of deaths involving arguments were a result of guns.  These deaths would have been replaced by non-fatal injuries had the guns not been present.

This is the reason that the United States leads other developed countries when it comes to fatal injury rates:

Image from New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy Secretariat

In another study, David Hemenway found that unintentional firearm deaths in the U.S. are five times higher than any other high-income country.   Among the 23 countries compared, 87% of all firearm deaths of children under the age of 15 occurred in America.   In 1995, 5285 U.S. children were killed by a firearm, compared with 57 in Germany and 0 in Japan.

The risk of accidental firearm deaths is also not shared equally among the population: in low-income areas, the likelihood of unintentional injury is 10 times higher than in high-income areas.  Rates are particularly high among Native Americans, White teenagers, and African Americans age 15-34.

Remember, these are accidental firearm deaths, and they happen far more often than accidental deaths from any other weapon.  According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2010, 606 people were killed by unintentional firearm injuries.  By contrast, the next highest category for unintentional deaths by weapon was knives (or other sharp objects) which killed 105 people in 2010.  Despite the fact that there are many more knives in the United States than guns, guns are responsible for five times as many accidents.  The reason being, of course, that accidents caused by guns are more lethal than accidents by any other weapon.

In the case of unintentional injury, then, the evidence is clear that guns do kill people.

3.  Homicide Outside the Home

A number of ecological studies in the United States demonstrate the strong association between gun availability and higher rates of homicide and suicide.  A famous study entitled a “Tale of Two Cities” showed that Vancouver and Seattle, two cities with similar demographic characteristics, and near identical rates of robbery and burglary, differed in their approach to handgun restriction.  Seattle, which had far less restrictive gun control laws, had a homicide rate that was 60% higher than that of Vancouver, and virtually all of the difference in homicide rates could be explained by differences in the firearm ownership rate.  Furthermore, despite the fact that assault rates in both cities was very similar, the lethality of the assaults occurring in Seattle were substantially higher due to the fact that firearms were used seven-times more often.

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4. Homicide in the Home

A 1986 study found that, for every time a gun was used in self-defense in a home, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides involving a firearm.  Therefore, a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household, or a friend, than an actual intruder.

A 1993 study compared various risk factors for homicide in three U.S. counties.   They found that the presence of a firearm in the house makes it three times more likely that someone will be murdered by an intimate partner or a family member (usually during arguments).   A follow-up study conducted in 2004, came to the same conclusions: if you have a gun in your home, you’re more likely to die from homicide in your home than people without guns.   Guns don’t kill people, but it turns out that if you have one near you when an argument escalates, the likelihood that you’ll be killed by that gun is higher than if the weapon had been anything else.   Oh, and if you’re wondering why many  of these studies occur before 1996, you can thank the NRA.

In the case of homicides, then, the evidence is clear that guns do kill people.

5. The Weapons Effect

‘Priming’ is a well-known, rigorously evaluated concept in cognitive science by which exposure to an unconscious stimulus influences response to a later stimulus.   A textbook example by Bargh, Chen, and Burrows (1996) involves an experiment in which subjects were primed with words related to elderly people (slow, forgetful, wrinkle), and found that subjects in the treatment group walked more slowly out of the room than subjects in a control group.   These priming effects have been shown to be long-lasting as well.  One study found that people primed with certain words are more likely to use those same words to complete a ‘word-fragment completion test’ long after those words had been consciously forgotten.

Why is this relevant to guns?  Because a group of social psychologists decided to test whether weapons could function as primes, and the extent to which such primes influenced behavior.  They published their findings in a famous paper entitled “Does the Gun Pull the Trigger?” where they found that the mere presence of a weapon primes aggressive behavior.  Guns in particular, due to their semantic association with violent behavior, which is reinforced through common experiences in movies, television, and front-page stories, are linked closely with aggression-related concepts.  Several studies have confirmed this point.  One found people exposed to weapon-related words such as “gun” or “firearm” are more likely to express hostility in subsequent time intervals than those exposed to neutral words.

A great article in the Atlantic brings this conception to bear, arguing that the network of conceptual and symbolic associations triggered when one wields a firearm can, and do, influence behavior.  Just as wearing a white lab coat can make an individual behave more intelligently, wielding a gun can make an individual behave more aggressively.  The environment we put ourselves in influences our behavior, so we should be cautious about what sort of cultural and social norms we are reinforcing when we advocate for firearms.  To modify a Steven Weinberg quote, “With or without guns, you’ll have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things, but if you want good people to do evil things, give them a gun.”

In the case of human psychology, then, the evidence is clear that guns do kill people.

6.  International Violent Crime Rates

Let’s examine two graphs, adapted from the most recent available survey of international crime statistics.  We see here that, compared to other OECD countries, the United States has a fairly modest violent crime rate (ignoring, for a moment, the differences in how countries report crimes).

However, when we compare the same countries on homicide rates, we get a completely different picture:

Why is it that, despite having a relatively modest violent crime rate, the United States has the highest homicide rate, by far, out of OECD countries?   Which substantive difference between the United States and other countries explains why the violence our criminals commit is more lethal than the violence of other countries’ criminals?   I suspect that the difference might have something to do with this:

Indeed, a study done by David Hemenway and a colleague at Harvard University found that, compared with 23 OECD countries, the United States had a homicide rate that was 6.9 higher than other high-income countries, a difference driven almost exclusively by firearm homicide rates that are 19.5 times higher. A 2013 study also showed that among high income countries “there was a significant positive correlation between guns per capita per country and the rate of firearm-related deaths.”

In the case of violent crime, then, the evidence is clear that guns do kill people.

The Illogic of “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People”

In the final analysis, I’m reminded of another argument made by gun advocates to succinctly challenge all gun legislation: “Gun control doesn’t work because criminals don’t follow laws.’   I pointed out in an earlier post, that the problem with this argument is that, when iterated out to its logical extreme, it necessitates having no laws at all.   We would be forced to live in anarchy if the only laws on the books were ones that everybody always followed.

The same is true for the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument.  Yes, the ultimate cause of any crime is the underlying biochemistry that regulates human decision-making.  But this says nothing about how proximate causes, such as firearms, influence said decision-making, or whether or not we should regulate such proximate causes.

To provide an admittedly extreme example, humans are responsible for making the decision about whether or not to use a WMD—this is a situation in which one group of human beings wants to kill another group of human beings, and their WMD has no say in the decision making process.   This clearly doesn’t mean, however, that Weapons of Mass Destruction should be unregulated.  I can’t imagine anybody sanguinely justifying the sale of nuclear weapons to a terrorist group under the pretense that “Nukes don’t kill people, people do.”

Let us not split hairs: the purpose of a firearm is to kill—to kill at a distance, to kill with speed, to kill with maximum lethality.  This is a weapon that has been optimized to extinguish life with the minimum amount of effort possible.  And, for whatever reason, America has embraced a social norm that explicitly legitimizes these deaths by providing an unending laundry list of excuses whenever one happens: it was the irresponsible parents, the inadequate firearm training, the bad public policy, and so on.  But it’s never the gun.  And yet, somehow, the U.S. is responsible for 80% of all firearm deaths, 86% of all female firearm deaths, and 87% of all child firearm deaths in the developed world.  It’s just a coincidence that we have the highest per capita gun ownership rate in the world.   That’s a lot of irresponsible parents.


  1. Devin Hughes   October 8, 2013 3:44 pm / Reply

    We welcome all coherent, respectful comments. Since it is impossible to provide thoughtful commentary on something you haven’t bothered reading in full, comments where this is readily apparent will not be posted. We review all comments before they appear, so there will be a delay even if it meets the preceding criteria. Although we do not typically respond to comments and have no time to engage in prolonged debates, we will attempt to answer questions about our data or research.

  2. McAllister Bryant   October 8, 2013 5:33 pm / Reply

    Very good article.

    I slowed down on blogging about this a few months ago to take on a more national role…stacks of new, near real time gun violence statistics coming soon.

    • Evan DeFilippis   October 8, 2013 5:40 pm / Reply

      Thanks for the comment. I just took a look at your website, and the content seems quite good. I’ll be subscribing.

  3. Debbie Duggan   October 8, 2013 5:58 pm / Reply

    What an excellent article. It is unfortunate that most of the people who will make it all the way through are not the ones who most need this information.

    • Devin Hughes   October 8, 2013 11:02 pm / Reply

      Thank you for your comment.

    • Evan DeFilippis   October 9, 2013 5:01 pm / Reply

      Thank you for the comment. You don’t happen to be the wife of Mark Duggan, do you?

  4. Phil N. DeBlanc   October 8, 2013 7:43 pm / Reply

    Well written and well researched. I’ll be sharing this right away. (BTW, I really miss Jarts)

  5. C. Jeffrey Smith   October 8, 2013 8:33 pm / Reply

    Excellent work; thank you. Crucially, though, your “International Violent Crime Rates” figures are seriously misleading because violent crime is defined very differently by different countries. For example, US violent crime figures from the FBI include only crimes against persons, and not against property; whereas consolidated UK figures generally include crimes involving force even against unattended property (e. g., forceful entry into an unoccupied locked home). Furthermore, definitions of violent crimes against persons suffer from definitional, cultural, and reporting differences, e. g., involving sexual violence. Homicide statistics are more likely to be consistent.

    • Devin Hughes   October 8, 2013 8:41 pm / Reply

      Agreed. We only briefly mentioned this “(ignoring, for a moment, the differences in how countries report crimes),” but possibly should have made a more thorough explanation. We plan on writing an entire post on this later to hopefully make up for our lack of commentary here. Thank you for reading and for your commentary. Both are appreciated.

  6. Joey   October 9, 2013 3:40 am / Reply

    I have never heard a single person say that we should make murder legal. If it were legal then you couldn’t punish anyone for doing it. That’s my problem with gun control. You want to punish me for doing nothing more than owning a gun. One argument I see quite often is people saying “there are drunk drivers even though it’s illegal, so should we legalize that too?” But the better analogy would be people drive drunk so let’s ban alcohol. We all know how well that went.

  7. Karen   October 9, 2013 9:19 pm / Reply

    Excellent article. As an aside, I wonder why the Washington Post’s data didn’t include Canada (unless I missed it.)

  8. JVu   October 9, 2013 10:58 pm / Reply

    Sources cited at the bottom

    1. Suicides
    Agreed. Waiting periods are effective at dealing with the impulses of people bent on destroying themselves and/or others. It’s also important to note that the suicide rate has been going up since 2002 (beyond the scope of the Harvard Study you cite) as well as private firearm ownership. But people most often attempt suicide due intense depression resulting from problems from relationships, health issues, job, financial etc.. Would it be more accurate then to say “depression kills”? A study by the CDC (1) states that firearms are used in 56% of male suicides, while poisoning is used in a majority of female suicides at 37%. If the objective is ultimately to save people from suicide, would it be more effective to address depression itself, as well as provide education on prevention and coping, rather than just mandate waiting times on firearms purchases?

    2. Accidental Injury and Death:
    The fact that accidental injury with a firearm is 10 times more likely to happen in low-income areas than high-income areas does not surprise me at all. As you wrote at the very end of this study (sarcastically, I assume), bad parenting does play a large part. Keeping a loaded gun outside of a locked container (ie nightstand drawer) or brandishing a loaded gun in a theatrical manner in front of a documentary crew ala “Hoodlife” (now on its third installment) are reflections of irresponsible attitudes that result in senseless injury and death. Many, including myself, are in favor of teaching safe sex to budding adults in school. But it seems the common attitude towards teaching safe firearms handling is like an abstinence-only approach. Of course, sex-ed addresses natural developments faced by nearly all teenagers, unlike safety training to firearms handling. However, there’s no denying that safety education and responsibility have played important roles in the falling damage rates of both areas.

    3. Homicide Outside the Home.
    Excuse me for eyeballing the bar graph as I do not have access to your source in full via provided link. But if the ratio of firearms related homicide between Vancouver and Seattle is about 1:4.5 respectively per 100,000, taking a step back leaves me with the conclusion that the homicide rates for both cities are very low. Seattle has usually been one of the safest cities, and ranked 7th in least murder/non-negligible manslaughter for a metropolitan area at 3.2 per 100,000 according to the FBI 2011 Uniform Crime Report (2). The effects of firearms in Seattle, with or without, would be considered negligible unless we ride on the “If it saves one life” objective.

    4. Homicide in the Home
    In tables 1 and 5 of the 1993 study, firearms were used in half the homicides. It raises the question of how many of those homicides would have still happened even if firearms were not involved. The ratios and probabilities you attribute to mere presence/ownership of a gun is as shallow and narrow as me taking this same study and concluding “Blacks kill people” after looking at Table 1. But no, we have to consider socioeconomic status, cultural acceptability of violence, mental health, influence of drugs etc.

    5. Weapons Effect
    Increased aggression is not necessarily correlated with carrying out violence. We also get increased aggression with videogames, with best sellers often being violence simulators in their core with varying levels of graphic content. If increased aggression leads to a greater chance of violent behavior, we would see more violence due to the increasing popularity of violent videogames. Yet violent crime in virtually all categories is still falling according to FBI stats through he past decade. Granted, an action shooter game does not have the lethal capacity a firearm has. But it’s a stretch to suggest stimulated aggression should make us wary of tragic violent behavior.

    Though, I am not denying that a person changes once they get ahold of a gun, especially when they are mentally prepared to use it. But is this change necessarily increased aggression or inclination towards violence? Is it acceptable to conclude “but if you want good people to do evil things, give them a gun”? No and No. For instance, it’s not uncommon for people who exercise their licensed right to carry a concealed firearm to be even more cautious, including avoiding escalating confrontation and avoiding alcohol consumption.Besides, if either of your two conclusions here were true, we’d see an increase in gun violence across the entire spectrum of gun owners. Yet, in spite of increased number of gun owners and number of guns owned per household, the statistics don’t hold up, save for suicide.

    6. International Violent Crime Rates
    Like the Tale of Two Cities study, taking a step back and seeing how the bars compare to the overall rates shows that reducing gun ownership, if deemed an achievable goal, will do little to increase public safety. And yet, in spite of such high rates of ownership and growing, the violent crime rate SHOULD climb as well as your previous points claim.


    Lawn Darts: I’m sure both of us can appreciate the obstacles political, logistical, and cultural in nature, that makes regulation/reduction of firearm ownership much more difficult as opposed to that of Lawn Darts.

    “Criminals Don’t Follow Laws” argument: Yes, if taken to the extreme, written laws are in of themselves ineffective. What gives them teeth is enforcement. Hate speech, driving over the speed limit, drinking under age and other illegal activities are avoided for many reasons, including enforcement. Until we find an affordable way to stop criminals from obtaining guns, the argument holds water.

    Nukes and Terrorists: Yes, it is an extreme example. Though, the people who would allow a to-be-killer to be armed because of rights are the same people that would shoot a violent perp on the spot, and all buildings will still be standing.

    Firearms are designed to kill: This is what makes the gun so important to some people. few things stop others in their tracks like the presentation of lethal capacity. A person with moderate training can have an expert resorting to cover. If a portable tool were ever to be invented that can reliably stop multiple people without killing them, or if the state devised a system that guaranteed everyone protection from violent criminals, this would be a great breakthrough in ethics. In the meantime, guns fill a niche.


  9. JVu   October 9, 2013 11:21 pm / Reply

    Sorry, forgot a few things:

    Thanks for presenting a case thoroughly backed by reason and allowing discussion. It’s hard to find both qualities on either side of this issue.

    I’m sure I’m of a more modest background as compared to you in debating these matters, judging by your credentials listed on this site. I linked a site of mine to help you give an idea of where I come from, should you be interested.

    Thanks for allowing dialogue. I have already benefited from the challenge of critiquing this essay/post. In such a heated issue, I hope we can find some civility.


  10. Ryley Hayes   October 10, 2013 4:57 pm / Reply

    “A 1986 study found that, for every time a gun was used in self-defense in a home, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides involving a firearm. Therefore, a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household, or a friend, than an actual intruder.”

    Are you SERIOUSLY using this nonsense again? SERIOUSLY? How intellectually dishonest are you that you try to pass this baloney off?

    The study only considers justifiable homicides as “self-defense”, completely ignoring that almost every defensive use of a gun does not end with anyone being killed – many don’t even see a shot fired.

    So when you say ” every time a gun was used in self-defense in a home, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides involving a firearm” you are telling a bald-faced lie. Par for the course for the anti-gun zealots though.

    • Evan DeFilippis   October 10, 2013 6:15 pm / Reply

      Thank you for your commentary, Ryley. The idea that guns are used regularly in self-defense is a commonly held belief that isn’t supported in the data. I wrote a post demonstrating this point:

      Contrary to the gun lobby’s claim that, between 2007 and 2011, guns were used 12.5 million times in self-defense, the most reliable data on this question clearly show that firearms were used only 338,700 times in self-defense, and this includes off-duty police. Clearly, then, despite living in a country with 300 million guns, the use of firearms in self-defense appears to be an exceedingly rare phenomenon…

      The 338,700 DGUs is primarily composed of self-defense uses in which the victim would not have died in the absence of a gun. We know this to be true because the majority of firearm violence in which the victim is unarmed does not result in the death of the victim… Again, guns were used in self-defense 338,700 times between 2007-2011. In that same five year period, there were 2,277,000 crimes committed with a firearm. Let’s be clear about this: every time a gun was used in self-defense, a criminal committed fatal or non-fatal firearm violence ~7 times.Either way you look at it, offensive gun use far outweighs defensive gun uses, and there is very little evidence validate the claim that guns reliably de-escalate a criminal encounter once it happens.

      • tom   June 12, 2014 4:56 pm / Reply

        There is a reason that all self defense use of guns aren’t supported by the data. There isn’t data that exsists. If I use a gun for self defence to stop an armed robber resulting in them running away with no shots fired why would I report that? Even if I did report that how would it be reported? Have you found raw data of gun carrying good guys stopping bad guys with no shots fired? Let me know. The absence of data isn’t an argument in your favor. It is an absence of data.

  11. Kamisaki   October 10, 2013 5:28 pm / Reply

    Thank you for an excellent article. I live in the very heart of gun culture in eastern Utah (also big oil country out here). There is literally daily rhetoric against gun control of any kind, in the town, on the radio, in the newspaper, even on the business marquees around town. It gets very frustrating. Thank you for being a voice of knowledge and reason on this issue. I appreciate your efforts.

    • Evan DeFilippis   October 10, 2013 6:15 pm / Reply

      I appreciate the comment! Comments like this keep me going. Thanks for reading!

  12. Ethan   October 10, 2013 5:36 pm / Reply

    When you do write about international crime statistics, if you want to move beyond the homicide rate – which is the most internationally comparable crime simply because most countries generally agree on what constitutes homicide – then make sure to take a look at the ICVS (International Crime Victimization Survey) and the GSS (General Social Surveys). I haven’t really found anything else that’s truly internationally comparable over time, and you can look directly at the original data from both.

    • Evan DeFilippis   October 10, 2013 6:16 pm / Reply

      This is very useful, and we will do this in the future. We, too, found that finding comparable international violent crime statistics was nearly impossible.

  13. Deb Rudnick   October 10, 2013 6:28 pm / Reply

    Absolutely excellent and spot-on article. This is the kind of thing every major news media should be publishing, rather than the BS claim-counterclaim we get regarding gun violence where the conversation is constantly driven by the NRA. Thank you so much, this type of journalism is a true service to our communities and our country.

    • Devon   March 24, 2014 6:07 am / Reply

      There is alot of BS on both sides of Gun Control, spewed at times by both the NRA and groups like Moms Demand.

  14. Larry   October 10, 2013 6:57 pm / Reply

    I will be the first to admit that I do not know every statistic about gun-control, nor do I really care to look into the statistics since they can be so incredibly skewed for either side. In short, a statistic will tell you whatever the writer wants you to see. Sounds a lot like our politicians, doesn’t it!?!? And I am not going to get into a debate about gun-control since my opinions will not influence anyone other than me. I am, however, going to suggest a different way to look at gun-control. I hope you will read my comment in its entirety, just as I have read your whole story, with an open mind.

    I have a blog of my own and in that blog I talk about my son who is an Aspie. If you would like to check it out, the link is Just before your article was written, I wrote on the gun-control topic as well. Again, I took a different approach. Below is a direct copy/paste from my blog…

    “I do, wholeheartedly, believe our politicians (and many citizens) would rather put a Band-Aid on a splintered femur just to say they did something to help the problem. Yeah, you wasted time, money, and resources and guess what, that broken femur is still broken and hurts like hell when you move it. Why not address the problem at its root? If you don’t, the problem keeps coming back.

    Here’s one, one day I was driving down the highway with my son. We were on our way to school, the traffic was bad, but I was still traveling at or around the speed limit. I suddenly heard what appeared to be a massive “clank” followed by a “bang” then a rhythmic “clop…clop…clop…clop.” I looked in my rear-view mirror and noticed some type of automotive part flopping around the asphalt, bouncing forward trying desperately to catch up to no avail. When it realized the attempt to reunite with its other family members was futile, it lay slumped in despair, hugging the yellow line for comfort, only to be squashed by an 18-wheeler going 70 mph.

    The “clop…clop…clop…clop” carried on and would not go away. There must be a serious problem, I thought. The noise is not going away, the part clearly came from my car, but I am still moving forward so it can’t be that bad. The constant noise then became irritating. I need to fix this problem, I thought, and quickly. At this time, I discovered the solution…I turned up the radio loud enough where I no longer heard that dreadful “clop…clop…clop…clop.” Problem solved!

    Pretty silly, isn’t it. I solved the problem by pretending the clopping sound wasn’t there and replaced it with the radio. I put a Band-Aid on the problem. Guess what, it didn’t fix a damn thing.”

    We, as American’s, tend to address the immediate and ignore the root. People in America will always have guns. If guns are banned, then the only people with guns will be criminals. These criminals may or may not use them in a malicious way; however, by logical deduction, they will be criminals if guns are illegal. Hence, gun violence will remain, and chances are other types of crimes will rise, but the only thing that will remain constant is the criminals will be the only ones with guns.

    In most cases, the person committing the violent act with a gun is either suffering from mental health issues (Sandy Hook shooter was an Aspie, Navy Yard shooter suffered from mental health problems, Batman theater shooter…mental health issues), are uneducated (either poor or no formal education), or are ignorant to safe gun use (I own two handguns and have a 12 year old boy who is very interested in everything military – including guns…he has no idea I have these guns because I keep them locked in a case with trigger locks on them as well AND I know that he is not mentally ready to learn how to shoot a gun responsibly). So, instead of trying to eliminate guns altogether (a seemingly impossible task, unless you can get the whole world to eliminate every gun, too), why not try to fix this problem we are having at its root? Focus on the mental health of individuals. Why are we so afraid of pumping money, time, and effort into working with mental health issues but we have no problems jumping on a bandwagon with limited and skewed information? Where have our critical thinking skills gone?

    Yes, I am against gun-control, but I am also appalled by the senseless violence and greed (which is a much bigger problem, and is actually related in the big picture, but is for another time) in our nation. The problem is not the guns – guns are inanimate objects by definition. The problem is the people using the guns. Fix the problem, not the symptom. Focus on the three things I mentioned (mental health, education, and responsibility) and the rest will fall into place.

    Thanks for letting me state my opinion.

    • JFK   March 4, 2014 2:46 am / Reply

      “If guns are banned, then the only people with guns will be criminals. These criminals may or may not use them in a malicious way; however, by logical deduction, they will be criminals if guns are illegal. Hence, gun violence will remain, and chances are other types of crimes will rise, but the only thing that will remain constant is the criminals will be the only ones with guns”

      Are you missing or perhaps simply ignoring the fact that all leading industrialised countries have criminals but they don’t all have the mass slaugher by guns taking place in the US? In fact none of them do and in the case of my own country, the UK, firearm deaths amount to an average 40 a year while the US has more than that in a single day.

      You imagine the UK has no criminals? Let me assure you that they do but when the penalty for being found in possession of a single round of ammunition without even a gun to fire it in is an automatic minimum 5 years in prison even criminals think twice.

      Observing Americans like you making such comments makes ,me think that you’re saying hey it’s just a Mad Max society and there is nothing we can do about it even though other leading nations have solved the very same problem by banning guns.

      And another thing that gets me about Americans and their insane gun culture. One I have heard as often as the guns don’t kill people nonsense is a gun is our defence against tyrannical government. Really??? You see the rest of the civilised world deals with an unpopular government using a ballot box not a gun and that’s working out very nicely indeed for us. That’s what we call democracy

      And who decides what’s “tyrannical” government? Some yahoo with a gun? You people need to drag yourselves out of this primitive wild west mentality and into the modern civilised world.

      • Devon   March 24, 2014 6:45 am / Reply

        You dishonor the initials of John F. Kennedy with your words. For starters your whole aggressive mentality against someone who made a calm, well centered argument, mentioning nothing of tyrannical governments. The UK is the is one of the best examples of a society without guns that has high crime rates(refer here: . You may want to look into more then just gun crimes in your great nation. I know several people in the UK that wish they had the 2nd Amendment rights Americas have. Second yes Ballot Boxes and protest worked when Ukraine police slaughtered 100 unarmed protesters, That’s failed Democracy. Also your knowledge of UK’s gun laws is laughable as it is legal to own a firearm, though difficult to obtain ( So your statement about 5 years in prison for a single bullet is completely wrong Maybe you should educate yourself properly on a subject you clearly know nothing about. You Stereotype Americans and gun-owners alike by talking about our “insane gun culture” making a asinine assumption that not only are all Americans “gun nuts” but that all gun owners are locked and loaded to take on the government. You only make an ass out of yourself when you assume things. And I think the moderators need to review your post better.

  15. First Last   October 10, 2013 7:25 pm / Reply

    I wonder how many of these homicides are actually justified by people saving lives such as police officers in the line of duty, FBI, and women preventing rape?

  16. Janet M. Simons   October 11, 2013 12:07 am / Reply

    This statement is incorrect: “In 2005, 5285 U.S. children were killed by a firearm, compared with 57 in Germany and 0 in Japan.” In 2005, 3006 U.S. children and teens were killed by a firearm. The figure cited, 5285, is for 1995. The U.S. data are all from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    • Devin Hughes   October 11, 2013 12:26 am / Reply

      You are right. We apologize for the error and have corrected it.

  17. Brandon   October 11, 2013 1:07 am / Reply

    I agree with everything JVU said.

    I still appreciate this article though. It’s good to see a non-fanatical and logical argument for gun control even if I ultimately disagree with it.

  18. May Drake   October 11, 2013 11:59 am / Reply

    I do not live in the US nor do I have an Aspie child but I do have family members who suffer from depression who would not be alive today if a gun had been available to them in the past. Furthermore I have been working with kids and young people with high needs in a child protection setting for over 20 years. Many of those adolescents have been the perpetrators or victims of assaults. If guns had been available to them there is no doubt that many of them would now be dead or permanently incarcerated for murder or manslaughter. While fixing the society or human nature might be the permanent answer, or young people do not have the luxury of time to wait around while we get that sorted. The young people I work with have already been abused and neglected by the adults in their lives who should have been posting them and have a long way to go to realize that anywhere is a safe place. Some of them could be forgiven for killing someone if woken unexpectedly if you knew their history. They are the pointy end of the children notified to child protection service. One in four girls & one in five boys sexually assaulted before 18; one in five families living with domestic violence at some point. Unless the statistics are changed the underlying belief that one is LIKELY to be victimized which underpins gun ownership WLP not be changing except by legislation.

  19. Jeremy Smith   October 11, 2013 11:39 pm / Reply

    In studies showing gun ownerships correlation to firearms homicide rates they never seem to answer how it is that rural areas that always have higher gun ownership, have drastically lower firearms murder rates, then cities that have drastically lower gun ownership with higher firearm murders. If gun ownership rates have a direct correlation then won’t we have more murders in rural areas, then cities?
    I would think your international firearm ownership to firearm related homicide shows this too. Even though the US is highest on homicide, and ownership, Switzerland is 2nd in ownership but the lowest when it comes to homicide. Also Harvard did a study showing the opposite of your findings
    Another point on Private guns in america o.ooo1% of privately owned guns get used in crimes, compared to the 1% of privately owned guns in the UK. I couldn’t find the article that I found these stats on but once i do i will be happy to share with you.
    2. Self defense uses. The firearm without a doubt is a lethal weapon, I do not argue that, however often times the mere presences has also been known to deter people from committing violent act out of fear of being harmed, instead of riling them up to act more aggressively. These instances occur and their are many who have shared personal experience of just brandishing or letting a possible assailant that they are armed, have deterred their assailants from acting. Such situations however do not get report to law enforcement, and even if cases that they are do not get report (Paperwork, no one likes it). I Think Ryley was trying to bring this to your attention earlier. I believe the CDC even has claimed in their findings that self defense uses outnumber the violent crimes uses.
    3. The weapon effect. Wouldn’t the effect of this study be more of a cultural depiction of violence that surrounds guns due to our media, which you even mention in article be the cause of why we associate violence with guns?
    Your Articles was well done and I applaud your efforts in bringing reason to an argument that often is plaqued by emotion.

  20. freeballer   October 12, 2013 9:33 pm / Reply

    I hope the owners of this blog will address your comments directly, but that “harvard” study isn’t from harvard.
    They are pretty clear where they stand on gun policy if you go to their site.

    This study was conducted by two pro-gun advocates, who had previously written books and articles opposing gun control (In America and Canada). The study itself was funded by a conservative think tank called”Pacific Research Institute” and published in the “Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy” a self-described “Tri-annual student law review for conservative and libertarian legal scholarship”. In other words, its NOT peer-reviewed and its findings haven’t been proven one way or another. I’m don’t have a phd, I’m not a criminologist, political science major or a statistician but even I found glaring errors in their math. It uses research by lott, kleck and gertz largely; which this blog has previously addressed in “Less Guns, Less Crime- Debunking the Self-Defense Myth”. It tries to compare “apples to apples” comparison between countries gun laws; something no credible criminologist would try to do. Why do I bring up the origins of the study? Well, I’m tired of gun advocates throwing out well intentioned research because, in their mind, its “bias” or has an agenda but cite this (NOT) “Harvard” study as if its the holy grail. It should not only be taken with a grain of salt, but the entire shaker.

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  22. Steven   November 28, 2013 4:55 am / Reply

    I am a supporter of gun control, but not a total prohibition of guns. Thought this was a very thoughtful and well written article, however the section comparing WMD’s to guns bothered me a bit in that while it is true that guns were designed for the sole purpose of killing, there are a great many people who own guns without the intent of killing another human (unlike WMD’s). I personally own a 12 gauge shotgun which i use for target practice and occasionally for hunting. I keep it in a safe whenever I am not using it and have no intent of ever using it for any type of violence, even home defense. Most of the gun owners I know are like me in that regard. What one must remember when discussing the NRA is that the only reason the NRA can boast such large membership numbers is because many gun ranges make NRA membership mandatory for all range members in order to receive special benefits. So while most of the NRA’s most vocal members are what many would accurately call “Gun Nuts”, they do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the majority of NRA members. Another interesting point which was recently brought to my attention was that it seems that lately one of the hottest topics in the gun debate is automatic weapons and assault rifles. However most violent gun crime is in fact committed with handguns. If a man decides on impulse that he wishes to kill his wife, or if his home is broken into, he will most likely not go into the basement gun safe to get his AR-15 but will instead use the pistol in his night table drawer. Food for thought.

  23. Dave Renninge   December 1, 2013 1:27 am / Reply

    I am of the firm believe that fewer guns are better guns… or something like that. I was very heartened after reading your well-written and well-researched article, since all of the information I have come up with thus far seems contradictory to itself. You have laid out a heap of relevant numbers and statistics that really paint a picture of what is wrong with the overwhelming presence of guns in the United States. Thank you for posting this!

  24. Cameron   December 5, 2013 4:50 am / Reply

    This is coming from a parent who was not careful enough and was wounded by my toddler who got a hold of my firearm. I have reflected on that day so many times and I have completely changed the way I store and handle my firearms. To this day, I still play that scenario over and over in my head of what happened and what should have been done differently. Also, to this day, I will NEVER give up my guns. Since I got shot, my son has gone shooting with me and I have been working with him on proper gun control, not the kind the government wants to enforce. In my opinion, if a citizen wants to own a gun, more power to them, however, I agree with background and mental stability checks, but to take it one step further. There should be additional training for someone that wants to own one, or be able to show ability to properly handle a firearm. Licensing to own a firearm is just another form of control, unless you are specifically talking about a license to be able to own a firearm, and not having to license every firearm with the government. The government doesn’t need to know how many or what guns I have, just that I am able to own them and know how to use them.

    I also agree with everything JVu stated, and I’m very curious why you didn’t reply to what he said? He brought up some very good and important rebuttals to your post here. A gun in the home does not mean your going to get killed, and the chances of being shot in your own home are MUCH less than you make them out to be. My situation was my own fault, but I am the only person that I know that has been shot with their own gun, and to go a step further, ever shot in their own home, another step further, EVER been shot at all (short of some military personnel).

  25. Cameron   December 5, 2013 5:13 am / Reply

    I forgot to add a video that is very relevant to this. It’s over all violent crimes, but still relevant.

  26. Will Smith   December 19, 2013 1:00 pm / Reply

    Apropos of other countries like the UK being “more Violent” That is not true. You need to further examine what is Classed as a “violent crime” and you will see that the UK classes a whole host of offence as violent that the USA does not. Therefore a higher rate of recorded and classified crimes per capita may seem to exist but its simply because a wider classification is used. For example a violent crime could constitute threatening behaviour in the UK. You need to becareful because teh gun nuts point to that and say “see” THATS why we need guns! They took their guns away and LOOK violent crime is worse. They are of course idiots and wrong but like for like comparrason on teh stats just does not cut it.

  27. Michael Murphree   March 23, 2014 6:57 pm / Reply

    Thank you for a civil and well reasoned approach to making your point. I hope that you will apply a thoughtful response to my retort.
    I assume from the tone of this article that your intended point is that private gun ownership should be reduced or abolished in the greater interest of security and public hygiene.
    While I can appreciate the perspective that reducing the number of weapons in the world would make it a more civilized place, I am disappointed that this article fails to account for the very basic reasons that the US adopted the 2nd amendment in the first place.
    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
    The entire point of the Constitution was to set up checks and balances that prevent excessive consolidation of power. Constitutional framers were adamant about a government being by consent of the governed. When all power is concentrated in the government, it becomes impossible to dissent. That is the essence of tyranny. And that is why it is, and will continue to be, essential to put naked power in the hands of individuals so that they have the tools to dissent if necessary. Without the tools to dissent, there is little incentive to respect the will of the people.
    It is tempting to argue that the Army is our “militia” and we have plenty of that. But a study of the historical record and explicit statements of the constitutional framers tells that a militia, as stated, is an “army of the people” and that the 2nd amendment is an individual right, and not a collective one. (i.e. applying only to a State Reserve, or National Guard)
    At its core, the right to bear arms relates to the right of individual citizens to deter and protect themselves from oppression and tyranny. From the American perspective, individual arms are the tools to defend our other constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and freedom from unreasonable search ans seizure.
    I am of the opinion that these rights form the core of human dignity and are therefore, worth dying for. Before I, as a free man, would willingly consent to relinquish my right to bear arms, I must first be convinced by very compelling evidence that neither I, nor my future progeny, will ever be in danger of having our other rights taken from us.
    Can you reasonably justify that this is the case?

    Also, I was intrigued by JVu’s post, and I was wondering why you did not respond to it.

    I look forward to your reasoned and measured response.

    • Devin Hughes   March 23, 2014 7:58 pm / Reply


      Thank you for your respectful and thoughtful reply. You may want to explore our blog a bit further, as we directly address the constitutional arguments in a series of 4 posts (2 of which have a title of Constitutional Fallacies, 1 of Militia Myths, and the other “How Gun Advocates’ Blind Focus on “Freedom To” is Destroying Lives by Ignoring Our Right to “Freedom From””). You will find our position articulated in those articles (more thoroughly than I could lay out in a comment).

      As for why we don’t respond to some comments, it is mostly a question of time. I am a college senior and my coauthor currently works full time in Kenya. We typically only respond to comments that (aside from being respectful and coherent and that make claims that aren’t easily debunked by a quick Google search) a) ask for more info/research b) can be answered quickly or c) mention something we hadn’t planned on addressing in the future.

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  30. Josh Mangan   May 20, 2014 8:10 pm / Reply

    Well written article, but I am curious to how many “average” gun owners you know or talk to. I frequently carry a concealed weapon when I’m in public. All throughout my training process to be certified to carry a weapon it was drilled by instructors that when you carry a weapon you can never be an instigator. When carrying a gun it is my responsibility to attempt to deescalate or avoid conflict. When it comes to keeping oneself safe the most important tool is situation awareness. The same goes for literally every other concealed weapon licencee I have ever met, which is many. I realize this is anecdotal, but there it is regardless.

    There are a lot of members of the “gun culture” in America and some are going to be irresponsible, and accidents happen. The crux is, as calloused as it may be, how much those accidents matter.

    I once read an intriguing comment from a Chinese blogger. This person remarked that it was amazing that the US could allow average citizens to have guns and that the US has the highest guns per capita in the world and yet “the number of American that die under the barrel of a gun are only a trivial 30,000 per year.” I thought that was very interesting; what’s shocking in the UK may just be trivial in China.

    Anyway, the gun issue is big and complicated. Do guns make people more violent, assault weapons bans, high capacity mags, guns on college campuses, NFA items, concealed carry/open carry. There’s a lot to talk about. More than one blog or one comments section can ever hope to resolve.

    tl;dr: good article, American guns are a complicated issue.

    • Devin Hughes   May 21, 2014 8:24 pm / Reply


      Thank you for your thoughtful and respectful comment.

      As for how many average gun owners I know/talk to (I will exclude all internet communications), I am very good friends with about half a dozen, am friends with at least a dozen more, and know a couple dozen more (and those are just the people I know have guns, not the ones I strongly suspect). A majority of these owners are avid hunters and not the “storm-Chipotle-by-force-because-I-can” type of owners (although I would add that almost all of them are either libertarians or staunch conservatives). I grew up on a farm in a small town outside OKC, the heart of gun country. While living there, we would often hear gunfire by the nearby creek, many times fully automatic (not just semi, but full auto).

      I fully recognize that a large majority of gun owners are very responsible and take every necessary precaution with their firearms. These responsible owners are not the people we fight against (although we do often have differing opinions on this subject). The “gun advocates” that we frequently mention (in more recent articles we have made the further distinction of “extreme gun advocates”) are the “storm-Chipotle” crowd, the modern NRA, and those who argue against even universal background checks.

      I am all for firearms training, and in fact I think it should be required for anybody owning a gun (and by firearms training I mean much more than the scant 10 hours many states have for concealed licenses (in Texas it is now down to 4 hours)). The current amount of instruction though, from everything I have seen/heard is woefully inadequate though. And I agree that personal responsibility is of the utmost importance when it comes to carrying a firearm. Part of the problem though is it takes months if not years of training to develop proper situational awareness and the ability to properly use a firearm. Even with this training and responsibility though, the presence of firearms often escalates situations rather than reliably deescalates. There are a couple of studies in our database that examine this specific psychological phenomenon.

      As with almost any matter, the gun issue comes down to a cost benefit analysis. And in the status quo, our current gun situation has far greater costs than benefits.

      I hope you explore our blog further, even if you disagree with our points. Understanding where the other side comes from on any issue is critical, and is why my coauthor and I spent nearly a year researching both side of this issue before writing a single post (and even in the time since writing our first posts we have learned much more (although our thoughts on what type of gun control is needed have not been altered much)). If you have any further questions, feel free to comment further (although neither my coauthor or I have the necessary time to engage in a lengthy debate; our posts are already few and far between even with our relatively few comments).

      • Josh Mangan   May 24, 2014 4:27 pm / Reply

        Glad to hear you’re getting your information from both sides of the debate. I try to do the same and seek to understand the strengths and weaknesses of all arguments surrounding the debate (the NRA is as bad at bending statistics as the Brady Campaign).

        I’m glad to be able to add your site to my list of articles and court cases I read through as I seek to always better verse myself in the debate.

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  32. Anthony   May 22, 2014 5:54 am / Reply

    The ‘weapons effect’ has been criticized numerous times by researchers, have some fun:

    You don’t need a study, just look at conviction rates for licensed conceal-carriers. These are people who carry a gun with them in public all day, yet they are far less likely to be arrested for any sort of violent crime compared to the general populace.

    Assuming the weapons effect is true, we should see a higher rate of violent crime or at least somewhat comparable to the general populace. We do not. Canada is another example, where firearm licenses per 100,000 are the greatest, firearm homicide rates are the lowest.

    Thus as one of the study mentions, outside of the laboratory setting the effect on violent crime is hardly substantive.

  33. Anthony   May 22, 2014 6:05 am / Reply

    Also here:

    The weapons effect was not observed amongst hunters.

  34. Thomas   June 1, 2014 3:07 pm / Reply

    Okay, but all this happens when you have IRRESPONSIBLE parents, for the children part you posted anyways. We own lots of guns in my house and they stay kept away from the children, even though the children do know about them and were educated about them, and taught not to joke with them. For the whole piece about children, all that can be simply avoided if the parents would be more responsible and teach their kids guns aren’t to joke with, they’re fun to hunt and go to the range, but you never joke or point one at somebody, unless in self defense obviously. And the whole crime rates and all that, guess what? If you ban guns, or whatever you’re trying to do, criminals will still have guns, the black market isn’t going to say, “well shit, they banned guns now, guess we gotta stop supplying them to anyone who comes to me.” Then all the criminals have guns and no law abiding citizens do. And the part about suicide, people are going to kill themselves anyways if they really want to, and if they do, that’s their decision. Why are you worried about it?

    • Evan DeFilippis   June 1, 2014 4:22 pm / Reply

      Thank you for your thoughtful post.

      The problem is that gun advocates and gun control proponents view the world from different perspectives. Unless we can reconcile those perspectives, I am convinced no progress will be made in this discussion. Advocates tend to view the world from their own perspective– they evaluate how a policy will affect them and they get understandably upset when they are “treated like a criminal” and therefore inconvenienced by procedure. Gun control proponents tend to view the world from a public health perspective– they think: how can we best minimize suicide, homicide, crime, and accidents IN THE AGGREGATE? They acknowledge that policies may be an inconvenience to citizens, but a necessary one to protect communities as a whole.

      You may have no intention of hijacking an airplane, but you should go through a metal detector at the airports anyway. Similarly, you may have no intention of committing crime or letting your gun slip into the hands of your child, but we should take the precautionary principle and design policies to minimize that risk anyway. We should hold firearm manufacturers criminally liable for poor gun design, for example (thereby boosting the push towards smart guns, and so on).

      I am confident that the vast majority of gun owners (probably more than 90%) believe that they are responsible adults for whom gun control is nothing more than an inconvenience. But we also know that many of these people are just wrong. It’s sort of like the phenomenon of most people thinking they are above average–and, as it turns out, we are just really poor predictors of our own future behavior. At least some of those 90% of “responsible good guys with guns” will turn out to be domestic batterers who use guns to abuse their spouses, or irresponsible parents who let their guns slip into the hands of their children or suicidal youth, or the paranoid homeowners who loses their guns in criminal theft because of irresponsible storage practices, or the hunter who accidentally shoots his partner, ad infinitum. It is clear to me that there are many more ways to go wrong with a gun than there ever will be ways to go right.

  35. Malachi Coleman   June 2, 2014 5:42 pm / Reply

    So What You Are Saying That People Aren’t Responsible ? So Why Do They Get Charged With Murder , And Not The Gun ? Your Article Is Just Illogical Shit , Guns Don’t Get Up And Pull Their Triggers ! People Pick Up The Fucking Gun , Load It , Aim , And Pull The Trigger . Therefore , That Person Is Responsible For That Death , Not The Gun . That’s Why They Prosecute People For it , And Not Th Guns You Idiot . Please Use Logic And Common Sense Next Time You Decide to Write An Article Like This . People Kill People , Not Guns , That’s A Fact , Not An Opinion .

    • Evan DeFilippis   June 2, 2014 5:53 pm / Reply

      Thank You For The Devastating Reply!!! You Are Right About The Facts. Thank You For The Brave Response!!

  36. marky2112   June 5, 2014 11:08 pm / Reply

    In Canada they make anyone who wants a gun have a background check to see if you have a history of mental illness and if you have a criminal record. This also works as a cooling off period. They also make that person take a gun safety course, and lastly they interview them to check and make sure they aren’t a few sandwiches short a picnic or might be planning on a killing spree. They have millions of guns but only a fraction of the gun murders we have per capita because of these things. And most of the gun murders there are with guns that have been smuggled from the US where gun laws are so lax. Gun laws save lives period(as long as you have a reasonably secure border)

  37. Max   June 13, 2014 7:27 am / Reply

    To give you an idea of how junk these “priming” studies are, I present you the “alcohol priming” effect:

    Would anyone here argue that alcohol causes people to get killed?

    These priming studies lack any practical usage and are not really generalizable outside a laboratory. One can just look at arrest and conviction rates regarding conceal-carriers and find that they are much less likely to be arrested for any crime.

  38. broncfanor   June 19, 2014 9:22 pm / Reply

    While you provide some interesting information it seems to me you manipulated some things to fit your argument as well as making conclusions based on nothing more than circumstantial and coincidental information.

    A quick search showed that there are several nations with STRICT gun control that have MUCH higher suicide rates but yet you claim it’s the guns.

    I don’t disagree we need to be safer with firearms but as with any argument it’s easy to manipulate information to fit your agenda.

    With all that I find your conclusions to still be mostly opinions especially in the case of suicide.

  39. haswell   August 10, 2014 10:44 pm / Reply

    Regarding the weapons effect I think this is a study the authors should check out:

    It found that a lot of the priming stems from what you associate with guns. For example hunters were more likely to associate hunting guns with recreational activities which they associated with much less aggression.

    Have the authors read this particular study?

  40. T.E. Sumner (@TESumner)   August 17, 2014 2:34 am / Reply

    Your logic does not seem to explain in the final chart why Switzerland occupies #2 behind US but is #21 behind US in the preceding chart on homicide rates. Obviously something else is in play besides possession of a gun.

    • Owen Glendower   January 18, 2015 2:15 am / Reply

      ” Obviously something else is in play besides possession of a gun.”

      Indeed. A more homogenous population probably has something to do with it.

    • mjch gsdl   January 23, 2015 6:05 am / Reply

      you seem to be missing around the obvious.. Unlike the us gun ownership is linked to military service not “self-defense”.. switzerland also has some of the tightest gun control laws on the book.. and moving towards more “gun control”, not loosen them.

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  42. acalix   August 28, 2014 12:17 am / Reply

    “This is the reason that the United States leads other developed countries when it comes to fatal injury rates:”

    Uhh, no. It’s because the US has a much higher traffic fatality rate than other nations.

    You’re looking at all overall injury deaths, which includes all accidental deaths by any means for example.

  43. acalix   August 28, 2014 12:18 am / Reply

    “A 1993 study compared various risk factors for homicide in three U.S. counties. They found that the presence of a firearm in the house makes it three times more likely that someone will be murdered by an intimate partner or a family member (usually during arguments).”

    First off it’s 2.7 times.

    Second there’s no evidence any of the homicides involved guns kept in the household.

  44. acalix   August 28, 2014 12:19 am / Reply

    “A number of ecological studies in the United States demonstrate the strong association between gun availability and higher rates of homicide and suicide. A famous study entitled a “Tale of Two Cities” showed that Vancouver and Seattle, two cities with similar demographic characteristics, and near identical rates of robbery and burglary, differed in their approach to handgun restriction. Seattle, which had far less restrictive gun control laws, had a homicide rate that was 60% higher than that of Vancouver, and virtually all of the difference in homicide rates could be explained by differences in the firearm ownership rate. Furthermore, despite the fact that assault rates in both cities was very similar, the lethality of the assaults occurring in Seattle were substantially higher due to the fact that firearms were used seven-times more often.”

    Actually in this study the homicide rates for non-hispanic whites was lower in Seattle than Vancouver. Despite whites being by far the most likely demographic to own guns.

    The greatest predictor of homicides in that study was the percentage of residents that were black.

  45. randy   September 23, 2014 3:40 pm / Reply

    On your graphs switzerland down at the bottom in homicide rates issues anot assault rife to every military age male. Go ahead check snopes. Australia and new Zealand up there at the top.. almost impossible to own a gun. Your right guns do kill people in the untrained irresponsible or criminal hand but banning them is not the answer. They must be regulated better but not banned. Guns are not lawn darts sorry. Bangers in south side Chicago don’t play with lawn darts they play with guns none of which are owned leagally. To say that we would love in anarchy if we only had laws everyone followed is not a very valid argument. I don’t expect this comment to make it to your site because reading then only those that agree have made it on here. I do respect the fact that you did research before writing though since no one else ever does. But it seems you picked and chose stats to use. Why a study from 1986? How many crimes were stopped with no injury because the homeowner had a firearm. I hope we can have discussion and not me being attacked for. My belief I would just like to know how you think the plan would work.

  46. Antony Leonard   September 23, 2014 3:43 pm / Reply

    And also we should be allowed to carry around rocket launchers, because it’s not the rocket launcher that kill, it’s the person.

  47. JFK   September 24, 2014 2:57 pm / Reply

    @randy “Bangers in south side Chicago don’t play with lawn darts they play with guns none of which are owned leagally”

    Criminals in the UK who play with guns are guaranteed to be playing with illegal guns because ALL handguns are illegal yet the UK has a gun death rate of around 40 per year and a total murder rate in England and Wales of 700 to 800

    UK criminals aren’t following any laws. They are lacking guns not because the law says they shouldn’t but simply because guns are so difficult to acquire and not just guns but ammunition. Possession of a single round without even a gun to put it in is just is as illegal as the guns themselves are and even criminals think twice when the penalty for just being caught in possession of either can be a minimum 5 years in prison.

    It would take the UK centuries to match the annual US gun death rate and that’s simply because guns are strictly regulated. ‘Bangers in south side Chicago’ play with guns so readily because they live in a country where cars are more strictly regulated than guns..

    How many crimes in the UK were stopped with no injury because the homeowner had a firearm? Absolutely none because having a gun is illegal yet the gun murder rate and the overall murder rate is vastly lower than the US equivalents even taking into account the differences in population size. UK criminals are no shrinking violets. You can rest assured that if guns were easily acquired and had no penalty for being in possession the gun murder rate and the overall murder rate would skyrocket.

    • Sinclair   October 6, 2014 5:42 am / Reply

      Actually overall homicide and gun homicide rose after the UK banned handguns in 1997.

      First link, page 33 IIRC.

      Not saying it’s causation though.

      • JFK   October 6, 2014 6:49 pm / Reply

        I can guarantee you it’s not causation. Even before the banning of handguns most British people had never seen one in their lives. The ban meant nothing to anyone but a very small minority. No one from the average citizen to even the police on the streets ever expected to see a gun both before and after the ban.

        And the major point is that littering a society with guns has absolutely no chance of lowering murder rates in fact the opposite is the case. Hell if proliferation of guns could lower murder rates the US should have one of the lowest in the Western world. It doesn’t. It would take the British centuries to match the US annual gun death rate alone and decades to match the overall murder rate..

        The US has more gun deaths every single day than the British do in a year and that’s simply because guns aren’t available not because the British are so peaceful.

        I’m in my mid 50’s and lived in the UK all my life until I married an Oklahoman a couple of years ago and moved to Oklahoma to be with her. I who had never seen a gun in my life until I came here have now seen both sides of the coin.

        I might even agree to some degree that perhaps average American does need a gun more than the average Briton would but that’s only because the average Briton will never see a gun in his entire life while the average American in a society where guns are scattered around like candy has an infinitely greater chance of being faced by a gun during something as routine as a burglary.

        These guns also make the US a more aggressive society. Here in Oklahoma I have seen people wandering around local supermarkets openly packing guns and some even have two. Playing cowboy in the 21st century. Much of it boils down to little man syndrome as they strut around packing deadly weapons being extremely rude to anyone who may displease them in any minor way.

        I have seen the gun nuts right here in Oklahoma try to claim among other things that a gun society is a polite society. It isn’t. These little men are packing these guns so that they don’t need to be polite to anyone if they don’t feel like it. In a gun free society like Britain you better be ready to put your fists where your big mouth is if you want to behave like these Billy the kid wannabes because someone will quickly put a fist in your face.

        THAT creates a more polite society AND a lower murder rate.

        • Sinclair   October 8, 2014 6:17 am / Reply

          I’m not saying that gun proliferation reduces murder rates. I am merely suggesting that the handgun ban was not tied to a decrease of homicides. Neither did the ban on semi-auto centrefires in 1988 as evidenced by statistics.

          Instead what the evidence does suggest is that the UK has always had extremely low gun crime, even during the Victorian era when gun control was non-existent.

          Also England isn’t exactly “gun-free.” Shotgun ownership is relatively common in the rural areas there. Indeed I know a few people with their shotgun certificates there.

          My belief is that a lot of the violence stems from the culture surrounding these weapons. I’m Canadian and we have our fair share of hunting weapons here (although few handguns) Our homicide rate last year was 1.4 compared to 1.0 in the UK, so it’s very comparable. Likewise Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Switzerland and Austria have their fair share of guns but very low homicide rates.

          • JFK   October 8, 2014 6:41 am

            Well what you appear to be suggesting is that Americans have a mindset which isn’t suited to free and easy access to deadly weapons which just comes back to the same thing. Take away that free and easy access and murder rates will fall.

            I think it’s ludicrous for the gun fanatics in the US to claim otherwise and frankly from a personal viewpoint having come from a more or less gun free society where you could pass a lifetime without ever seeing a gun to living in a society where I see people swaggering around supermarkets openly packing not just one but even two guns I find it unsettling.

            That type of person should probably be among the very last who should ever be allowed deadly weapons but as it stands there appears to be almost ZERO regulation. I’m not even a citizen and I could go to a gun show and walk out of there carrying an assault rifle but a car dealership wont even give me a car because I don’t have an Oklahoma driving licence.

            If the suggestion is that Americans have a murderous gun culture then it simply makes even more sense that they should be deprived of deadly weapons which are easier to acquire than cars.

  48. Sinclair   October 9, 2014 3:01 am / Reply

    Oh no no. I don’t oppose gun control, I prefer a balance myself. I think our laws here are perfect in striking that balance between freedom and safety here. You need references, training and a licence to buy a gun in Canada, and that’s what it should be.

    But in the end I don’t want guns banned the same reason I don’t want alcohol banned because some people drink-drive.

    • JFK   October 9, 2014 5:45 am / Reply

      So are you thinking that there is something different about the American mentality which is one of the causes of their comparatively enormous murder rate when compared to the other nationalities you have mentioned?

      If so I think I may agree with that considering some of their typical rationale for having all these guns while insisting they must be more easily acquired than cars. As an example consider the kind who will say all these guns are their defence against “tyrannical government” That too unsettles me and makes me wonder if this type are even fit to be holding deadly weapons.

      Who decides what is tyrannical government? The gun nuts? Is a government elected by majority vote tyrannical if they decide to introduce gun legislation?

      And if a population is unhappy with a government a vote isn’t good enough to deal with that? The vote seems to work perfectly well in all the other advanced Western nations without the threat of shooting anybody.

      And what kind of crazy would you need to be to propose that you’re going to take on a fully equipped fully trained modern military machine with your handgun or even a rifle if they want.

      Remember what happened to the professional military machine of Saddam Hussein facing just air power alone then imagine what would happen to the gun crazies and their six shooters.

      During the Warsaw ghetto uprising in WW2 the Jews in the ghetto were fighting for their very lives not any right to own a gun and were still utterly routed by a professional military machine.

      It’s insane and is another thing that leads me to doubt the fitness of anyone even suggesting the tyrannical government thing to have a gun at all. That’s not democracy it’s gun anarchy.

  49. Jim   October 26, 2014 11:28 pm / Reply

    You negated your whole argument by admitting “the ultimate cause ” is HUMAN decision making. Its the intent of the person holding it. All 6 of your examples just point out human interaction with a gun. AGAIN HUMAN. So please try again to explain how a gun kills a person without being in the hands of or controlled by a human?

    • JFK   October 27, 2014 12:01 am / Reply

      I didn’t actually propose what you suggest the person I was replying to did but seriously, you can sit there telling me that guns are entirely harmless it’s people who are dangerous?

      Ok your own argument is that people are crazy so people shouldn’t be walking around with deadly weapons. Right? What’s sane about that?

      I come from a country where guns are strictly controlled where the gun death rate numbers around 40 in a bad year. You’re arguing in favour of a system where the guns cause around 12,000 deaths a year? Are you really serious?

      Why if I were to take you seriously I should be advocating that the British public all be armed to the teeth and you think that would reduce one of the lowest gun death rates in the world even lower? You seriously think that’s rational?

      So please try again to explain to me why I should follow your lead and advocate every Tom Dick and wacko walking around packing a gun to imitate a country which has a gun death rate my country would take centuries to match.

  50. Nathan Matheson   November 11, 2014 7:39 pm / Reply

    Am I the only one who noticed that Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark all have among the highest rates of gun ownership and yet the lowest rate of gun related fatalities? How can this be if you claim that the reason that we have so many deaths by firearm is because we have so many firearms? Also, there is a flawed presumption in the idea that the number of firearms means number of armed individuals. I know of only a couple people who own only ONE firearm. My acquaintances who own guns have many guns and overall that seems to be true of gun owners. This vastly skews your statistics, which helps your argument seem so logical. How would it change your outcomes if you could actually take into account number of HOUSEHOLDS who owned guns vs. considering every gun owned to belong to a different individual? The fact that you say “thank you” to all pro-gun-control postings and yet do debate with anti-gun-control postings (although you stated that you would not) PLUS the fact that you feel that you have to moderate what is supposed to be a ” free and reasonable discussion” about the issue you wish to present speaks volumes to me. In part it says that you are not willing to entertain any idea which might discredit your “findings”, which is sad for someone presenting the image of an “academic” and “logician”. The fact that you allow postings to remain here which are filled with no valid point not already presented and yet they spew vitriol toward anyone with a firearm seems to support that this is merely a platform for promoting anti-firearm agendas rather than a serious, scholarly discussion.

    • John Dover   November 11, 2014 8:10 pm / Reply

      You clearly haven’t read anything that these authors have published, which is part of the reason I imagine they do not engage with you. I don’t know why Denmark is on your list, as they have relatively low gun ownership per capita. In any case, those countries all also have extremely strict gun control in the form of background checks, registration, and so on, which is absent in the United States.

      Read this: — this post goes into extreme detail about why household ownership rate is the correct way to think about this issue (as you point out), and demonstrates that, using this metric, more guns leads to more crime.

  51. JFK   November 14, 2014 12:24 am / Reply

    A recent incident from England highlights one difference between a society where guns are easily accessible and one where they are not. A machete wielding man comes in to a small store and tries to rob the shop keeper who then manages to fight him off with what appears to be nothing more than a rather shortish piece of wood or something similar.

    Anyone think he could have done that if faced by a gun which would be highly likely if he were in a society awash with guns. Guns do indeed kill people with infinitely greater ease than anything else can including a machete.

  52. david   November 17, 2014 6:08 pm / Reply

    Interesting read. This, article contains numerous errors, however. For example, #4 – Homicide in the Home. The 1993 referenced study had methodological errors, most notably that the homes selected for the study were comprised of people with past drug use and abuse histories and homes where there was a previous history of violence, or where the individual(s) had previous criminal histories. Obviously, this makes it look like guns in the home increase rates of homicide. That’s just not true – not when the sample size is not representative of the normal American population.

    This analysis goes into a bit more detail than I can here:

    These arguments tend to follow a “correlation is causation” theme in some instances too. And, while the studies are there, they do not really prove what you (the author) seem to think they prove.

    In general, Americans who own guns tend to do so for one of a few reasons:

    1) they want to hunt.
    2) they want personal protection from criminals in life or death situations where the police will be too slow to respond.
    3) they are collectors of antiques.

    I think I understand where you’re coming from on the gun issue and, while I understand the facts presented, I just don’t think they prove the point. At least, not in the way you intend for them to.

  53. Jimbob   December 3, 2014 3:23 pm / Reply

    Nothing was debunked in this article. A firearm lying on closet shelf ,a night table or any other surface has never fired without human assistance. I do agree with the statement ” “Gun control doesn’t work because criminals don’t follow laws.’ I pointed out in an earlier post, that the problem with this argument is that, when iterated out to its logical extreme, it necessitates having no laws at all. We would be forced to live in anarchy if the only laws on the books were ones that everybody always followed.” No law enacted in an an attempt to control a human behavior has ever made a difference. Prohibitions on create work-arounds and black markets. All crime could be eliminated instantly if all laws were repealed. For all the times the phrase is used in a derogatory manner, the “wild west” was very peaceful compared to today’s society. There were fewer murders, robberies, etc. per capita than today. If you don’t like armed citizens, the next time you’re in danger– call one of the Brady Bunch! (Or a Million Mom Marcher)

    • david   December 3, 2014 3:47 pm / Reply

      The problem I have with statements like this: “when iterated out to its logical extreme, it necessitates having no laws at all.” is that they are sort of a reductio ad absurdum. The meaning of the statement “criminals don’t follow laws” in this context is that you need a way to defend yourself because criminals don’t follow the law and, while law enforcement is there to protect you, they cannot be everywhere as crime is happening.

      Forget statistics for a second. Let’s think in principles. Everyone has a right to defend themselves. Not everyone is terribly good at it. Most people defer that job to local police. That’s what they pay taxes for. But that doesn’t change the fact that people have a right to defend themselves if they need to. Making laws on *how* they defend themselves impedes that right, which is objectively wrong.

      Maybe the probability of getting into a violent, life-threatening altercation is 1 in 1,000. Maybe it’s 1 in 10,000. Maybe it’s 1 in 1 million. It doesn’t really matter. Because that one time will be life-threatening.

      Now the counterargument to this kind of reasoning usually (at least implicitly) follows some kind of “greatest good for the greatest number” logic. But, people are not statistics, and I think it’s important to recognize that, when you’re talking about moral rights (e.g. the right to self-defense), it’s not about quantitative analysis. It’s about qualitative analysis.

      People buy fire insurance all the time, even though the risk of a house burning to the ground is slim. Why bother? The numbers don’t really support buying that type of insurance. Why? Because when a house fire happens, and it gets out of control, it’s almost always catastrophic. People want to protect their hopes and dreams, their memories. And, look, they’re buying insurance even though the money won’t bring back the burnt baby photos.

      It’s the same kind of thing with gun ownership, in principle.

      All of the points used to argue *against* a law-abiding citizen carrying guns can be flipped around and used against the author’s point. The fact that criminals do not follow laws, including restrictive gun laws, means that they get a leg up in society.

      Yes, guns *can* be dangerous. They are designed to fire a ballistic at a target and, with self-defense rounds, they are designed to inflict maximum damage possible relative to the size of the weapon. And, when you give criminals the advantage in society by restricting law abiding citizens from owning or carrying guns, what you do is take all of those alleged disadvantages or risks of owning a gun and turn them into benefits for those criminals – not really a great thing.

      What’s the solution? Presumably, the author believes law enforcement is fully capable of handling the situations as they arise. But, guns fire in a fraction of a second. An altercation may only take 30 seconds or less. Even the best cop in the world can’t respond that quickly to a 911 call.

      Who is the author to say whether the person should defend themselves with a stick, a fist, or a ballistic?

      • christian   March 2, 2015 12:31 pm / Reply

        And those are moments or valid reasons to have/obtain/use a firearm. Not “criminals will be criminals”.
        Not “swimming pools cause deaths by drowning, therefore we should ban swimming pools”.
        These are silly arguments.
        You can still be advocate for gun control and accept that in certain circumstances, having a firearm may be necessary.

        • randy   March 2, 2015 9:10 pm / Reply

          Murder is illegal, discharging a weapon in a public place is illegal, felons owning guns are illegal, so how exactly does making guns illegal protect people?

  54. jwg   December 17, 2014 11:14 pm / Reply

    Ok so we change it from “guns dont kill people, people kill people” to”guns dont kill people, people, and ideots kill people” I mean come on the number one rule with guns is you always treat a gun like it is loaded. Its an inanimate object. Now it would be another story if a bunch of gun are just randomly going off and killing people but when you point the gun at your little sister thinking that it is clear and pull the trigger as a joke and kill her I have no sympathy

  55. Charles Edward Pardue   December 31, 2014 1:24 pm / Reply

    The analogy concerning lawn darts and firearms for children is very apt. I remember when lawn darts were sold for children and, in retrospec, it’s hard to imagine a more dangerous game (short of “Johnny Human Torch”).

    Yet we allow firearms to be marketed directly for children, with stocks to accommodate the bodies of some as young as 4 years old. This insane. There are very few people that would let children this young handle shop power tools or cutting torches yet many would not bat an eye about letting these same children handle a firearm.

  56. Konrad   January 2, 2015 8:16 pm / Reply

    I hate guns and would never touch one. That being said, I think the US not only has a huge gun problem as such, but a deeply troubled mindset as a nation. That whole social-Darwinist ‘everyone is my potential enemy’ mentality, which you just won’t find in Europe, let alone East Asia, where society is more important than the individual.

    In the US the problem probably goes back to the times when early settlers stole the land from the Indians and others. You will find a similar culture of aggression and violence in many parts of Latin American which has a similar history in that respect. It shows everywhere, be in in video games, action movies, etc.

    And it also shows in all the wars and human rights offenses the US has been responsible for for decades or centuries even. Needless to say that the huge arms and military industry also has an interest in keeping society toxic.

    And the constitution? It is a joke, totally outdated. It might have been more or less useful 200 years ago, but today the US is a completely different country with a totally restructured organization and infrastructure. Guns in a 21st-century society are as out of place as lions in the pedestrian zone.

    • David   January 3, 2015 3:25 am / Reply

      Konrad, if you think the Constitution is outdated, you should probably be living in another country. Seriously, there aren’t many pure monarchies left, but they’re out there. Most of the world’s constitutions are modeled after ours.

      i’m sure there are things in the Constitution you like, like the embedded principle of checks and balances, the bill of rights (except the 2nd amendment, clearly. You probably love the 5th and the 1st though), the peinciple of the House of Representatives, oh and probably section 8 along with the 16th amendment.

      You believe it’s outdated and you would have us adopt a style of government that predates and is more primitive than our own (e.g. europe’s constitutional monarchy)? I think that would be very uncivilized.

      • JFK   January 3, 2015 3:49 am / Reply

        Are you serious? First you say that “most of the world’s constitutions are modeled after ours” when I would guess that most of the worlds advanced nations are older than that then the only examples you speak of “europe’s constitutional monarchy” obviously isn’t like it.

        And what precisely is it you think that’s so wonderful that you imagine no one else has? You doubt the right to trial by jury is common place all over the world? In terms of what would generally be regarded as the most advanced countries the US has absolutely nothing worth talking about the others don’t have and in fact the others have in a number of ways a far superior society.

        • David   January 3, 2015 1:54 pm / Reply

          Yes I’m serious. Apparently, you don’t know your history very well. Most nations model their constitution after the U.S.


          At the same time, most nations are *older* than the U.S., and part of their system of government is older (a monarchy), and this is the element that makes them less civilized. It’s true that many monarchys are constitutional ones, so they started moving in the right direction.

          Then, they quit–for some reason they’re unwilling to modernize to a republic.

          What’s so great about our constitution? It places firm limits on government, secures rights in a very clear and straightforward manner, and is relatively uncomplicated.

          That is suprisingly rare in the world, especially when power in most countries is either tamed by a king/queen or there is a hat tip to old dynasties and families.

  57. dave nation   January 3, 2015 2:04 pm / Reply

    I dont own a gun because of several reasons, #1 somehow kids seem to be able to get their hands on guns, regardless of how much we secure them, #2 if i did own a gun, and in the heat of the moment, like an argument, or road rage, etc, i might lose control for a minute, and do something i might regret.

    • David   January 3, 2015 4:10 pm / Reply

      I respect your choice not to own a gun.

      At the same time, I think it’s important to clarify where the problems lie, and that it is not with owning a gun.

      1) my girlfriend lived in a house filled with guns. Her dad has an amazing collection of both historical and modern pieces.

      She’s a reasonably well-adjusted human being with a healthy respect for guns, a gun owner herself, a genius (no really, confirmed by an IQ test), and a cancer researcher who is interested in moving towards advanced research in regenerative medicine — she has a profound respect for human life.

      She pretty much defies all of the OP’s alleged “facts” about gun owners, proving once again that statistics do not apply to individual human beings which is something anti-gun activists consistently ignore.

      Neither of us are republicans (we hate republicans on principle). At the same time, we love the second ammendment.

      #2 is a pure psychological problem you would have to overcome. You simply cannot (do not) get worked up over an altercation. A gun is for a moment when you are in imminent danger and you will likely die if you do not use it. Everything short of that is water under a bridge. Live and let live.

    • Weer'd Beard   January 4, 2015 12:06 am / Reply

      #1, really not. Vast parts of the country, especially rural parts are dripping with guns. Many people might even say honestly to you that “they don’t own guns”, but that’s only because they haven’t thought about their old .22 or an inherited pistol that they aren’t particularly interested.

      Also it really wasn’t until the 90s that the idea that guns should be locked up really became a thing. Before that guns were tucked in closets, drawers, or even just hanging or leaning against the wall. Back then if somebody had a gun safe it meant they were a SERIOUS collector, just like the people who locked up their jewelry collections tend to be people with very large and/or expensive collections, while most people just have a simple box for their baubles and heirlooms.

      Meanwhile the bulk of the violent crime happens in urban areas with heavy gang populations, and the “kids getting guns” are really in the vast majority are “Children” 15-24 with gang ties who acquired their guns through theft or the black market.

      #2. as David said below, you are either giving yourself too little credit, or you have a serious problem.

      I’ve personally had a few VERY heated arguments with my wife, and I was carrying a gun. No issue.

      Think about it this way, have you had a heated argument with somebody and “lost control” and physically assaulted them? Have you been at home and reached for the butcher knife you keep unlocked in the kitchen?

      Have you caused property damage with your car due to road rage?

      If the answer is “Yes” to any of those, you are a dangerous person no matter what you have or don’t have and need help. If the answer is “No” (which I suspect it is) the gun has no magical powers that any of the other items you already have do.

  58. Konrad   January 3, 2015 5:58 pm / Reply


    Your views are based on illusions and wishful thinking. The US is only a democracy on paper, but in reality it no longer is, former president Carter also said that not too long ago. There are secret courts forcing companies to betray and lie to citizens. Citizens’ privacy is being violated all the time. There is no control of secret services anymore, which the events following the Snowden leaks have proved. US politics is run by lobbying groups and corporations, while people keep believing they are in charge. The US is turning into a police state and Americans still think they are free and have it good.

    Sorry, but even a modern monarchy like the Dutch one is way ahead of the US system, where checks and balances are either wastepaper or, where they still exist, have lead to a toxic political war, which has almost rendered the US ungovernable.

    The US constitution is itself just a mix of elements of various European constitutions and systems. And when you look closely there are a whole lot of differences between the US system/constitution and for instance European ones.

    Most modern constitutions have a lot in common because they are built around the ideas of Enlightenment.

    • David   January 3, 2015 10:08 pm / Reply

      I get this knee-jerk reaction when people say “democracy”. I feel like people really need to understand the concept “constitutional republic,” or just “republic.”

      It’s like some people saying “axe” istead of “ask”.

      And european constitutions are inspired by the US one. It’s not that our system of government is wrong or inherently flawed. It’s that there are a lot of criminals breaking the law that happen to be in positions of legal authority.

      It could be congressmen or local police and prosecutors in Philly stealing peoples’ property under the guise of civil forfiture using, wait for it, guns.

      I suspect silence on those acting above the law because they are in the minority, while those who have NDs are not (who are also in the minority).

      • JFK   January 4, 2015 8:11 am / Reply

        Frankly I think you’re becoming incoherent. You insist everyone is somehow inspired by the US even though they have different systems and that the US has a better system even though the Europeans have superior societies in every way worth talking about.

        They have lower infant mortality rates, they have universal healthcare which means they aren’t tied to a job they might hate because they are afraid to have no health care at all. They are healthier, they live longer, they are happier and have far more vacation time to spend with their families which no doubt is a factor in their overall health and happiness and in addition to that they are better educated and they aren’t being slaughtered in their thousands by guns.

        Now tell me again what’s so superior about the US?

        • David   January 4, 2015 2:27 pm / Reply

          I already posted a link to an article explaining the origins of modern European constitutions. If you think that is incoherent, then facts are incoherent to you. There’s nowhere this discussion can go.

          I don’t think you’d be open to reason on this issue, but there are many, many reasons why I think the alleged benefits of European nations you named aren’t benefits at all. And, the statistics–not valid in a broader context.

          Use all of the colorful or colourful language you want. The crown of your so-called civilized world, which would be Britian, is the most violent country in Europe, according to both the UN and European Commission.

          Way more violent crimes per 100,000 people than the US.

          If you didn’t find facts so incoherent, it might put things into perspective for you.

          • JFK   January 4, 2015 7:34 pm

            Allow me to inform you of my own experiences because I’m British but have been in the US for the past 3 years and aside from that have spent time in almost every Western European nation and something you should know right away is that the Daily Mail is a joke.

            It’s a tabloid which is a fan of the Conservative party and that DM link you have posted is from an article more than 5 years old which is simply doing what the Mail does among other things which is produce dubious statistics in an attempt to be critical of any Labour government. The Labour party were in power at the time and to the Mail that means everything is a nightmare.

            Think of it as Fox news with it’s anti Democrat line though probably even more ludicrous. Almost every year this rag is successfully sued for not just writing ibaccurate stories but actually completely inventing them so coming in here posting anything from the Daily Mail as evidence of anything at all is worthless.

            If you want a link which disputes it take a look at the following which comes from a site called and I will just post a description of it before the link.

            “PolitiFact is an independent fact-checking journalism website aimed at bringing you the truth in politics. PolitiFact’s reporters and editors fact-check statements from the White House, Congress, candidates, advocacy groups and more, rating claims for accuracy on our Truth-O-Meter. Every fact-check includes analysis of the claim, an explanation of our reasoning and a list of links to all our sources”

            This is the link in which they label your claims on British crime levels as a meme and which they declare to be false.


            One problem I’m seeing here is that you appear to have a desperate desire to see the US as a shangri-la superior to other nations when in fact in almost every category worth mentioning regarding quality of life it comes way down the tables of studies looking at things such as health care, education, murder rates, overall quality of life. If what you want to see as the reality really was true why Europeans would be emulating Americans by walking around supermarkets toting guns like Americans do and being blown away by their own 4 year olds as happened in a walmart just this week.

            A nation wallowing in a fantasy bubble that everything they have is better than what anyone else has is never going to solve any of it’s horrific problems because why should they when they are already so much better than anyone else.

            You seriously imagine that a nation in which there are tens of thousands of murders annually is somehow magically less crime ridden than a country like the UK which has an annual murder rate below 1,000 and an average gun death rate of around 40 against the tens of thousands of Americans killed by guns every year is somehow more peaceful and crime free? There are more Americans killed by guns alone every single day than in Britain in a whole year and you think it’s the British who have the problem?

            And regarding the US constitution being a model for the entire world what exactly is it they have in there which is so unique the world is driven to copy it? Trial by jury? You think Americans invented that concept? As far as individual rights go Magna Carta is 800 years old and at that age somewhat outside the boundaries of what you could claim to be inspired by the US constitution.

            You see countries all around the world rushing to emulate the 2nd amendment? You think the British want over a hundred of their policemen murdered every year as is routine in the US while the police in return gun down countless numbers of American citizens?

            Want to know how many British police officers typically die in the line of duty? Well NONE in 2014 which is baffling in a country you imagine is so crime ridden and violent and 1 in 2013 who was run over by a suspect in a car and 1 in 2012 who “Collapsed while pursuing two robbery suspects and later died”

            You’re seriously still going to insist that the US is a more peaceful and law abiding society? In a previous post you labelled European societies and their political institutions primitive but think a society awash with guns where people are murdered in the tens of thousands where individuals walk around supermarkets openly toting all manner of deadly weapons is the advanced society and not the primitive one?

            You will find the world doesn’t agree with you and in fact the world prefers to keep what you imagine to be their primitive systems and allow you to luxuriate in the no health care, poor education, mass murder advanced US society.

          • David   January 4, 2015 8:18 pm

            Oh no, there are plenty of problems with the U.S., with corruption being one major problem that prevents consistent application of the Constitution as written.

            Even if you disagree with some aspects of the constitution, I think a rational person would agree that, at the very least, the basic foundation of law and government needs to be followed, even in an attempt to change it. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a government at all?

            I did not say the UK had more deaths, merely that it appears to be a more violent place overall. In general, I want to make it clear that I think statism in any form, regardless of the country, is uncivilized and backwards. In that regard, there’s plenty of things to abhor in the U.S. – warrantless search and seizures by the NSA via the Internet, for example.

            Civil forfeiture laws which are inherently corrupt would be another example – this latter actually allows police to use, of all things, guns to forcibly take property from people before they’ve been convicted of a crime (which I regard as simple theft by the government). This is such a problem in Philadelphia (of all places), that the Institute for Justice has had to dig its heels into the city and spend considerable time publicizing exactly what’s going on there while trying to help people get basic due process they’re entitled to but are not receiving.

            Statists, in general, I think regard all rights as positive rights, and this is where you get the idea that healthcare is a right, education is a right, etc. I reject this unless it’s a contractual agreement between private parties. This may be our fundamental disagreement.

            Healthcare isn’t a right, not really. It’s not even particularly efficacious for a variety of illnesses, in the U.S. and in Europe. Not everyone needs health insurance either, not if businesses like Theranos and Medibid were allowed to operate freely.

            For example, who would need health insurance to pay for a $2 cholesterol test that could be run an unlimited number of times? Who would care about paying a $350/month insurance premium with a $10,000 deductible if mending a fractured leg cost $1,000?

            For every example you give about some freak gun accident, I can give you a counter example. In NC, where I live, the Dept of Agriculture illegally banned the carrying of firearms at the state fair this year (carrying firearms at events where an admission fee is charged is legally allowed here in NC). The department went to great lengths to advertise this fact – that the state fair would be “gun free.”

            The night that I went, 2 people were robbed while leaving the fair when the gates closed. This, despite the entire perimeter being “secured” by police.

            And, don’t forget one of the more high-profile cases where Eric Garner was murdered by police over a matter involving the sale of a cigarette. No, it wasn’t gun violence, but it was violence just the same, committed by the state against a defenseless citizen.

            And, that’s something often left out in this discussion – the crimes and deaths caused by police. A news story like this points out there’s a significant number of them happening in the U.S. –

            Where does this fit into the stats? Police “tote” guns around on them all day long. No one bats an eye because they are supposed to protect people from criminals, but that doesn’t always happen. Cops sometimes do kill people for non-violent offenses, a gross abuse of power, I think.

          • Charles David Edinger   January 4, 2015 8:54 pm

            JFK: It is difficult to answer your silly diatribe without laughing out loud!!! You give yourself away early in your over-long comment with your attempt to marginalize THE DAILY MAIL by drawing a connection to Fox. Any rational, thinking American has known for at least a decade that the “Mainstream Media” in the US has been a completely controlled organ of the Progressive Movement, & that absent Mr. Murdoch’s media properties at Fox & the WSJ there would be no actual news reporting in the US.

            Further, as a recovering academic whose background is in applied economics & risk, the manipulation of statistics by the denizens of the Collectivist fever swamps around the world is both obvious & pathetic!!! Collectivism in all its forms creates misery wherever it is permitted to put down its poisonous roots & the pattern is unmistakable to all but the ideologically blinded sheep like youself, whose delusionary Utopian visions are pathetic in their disastrous results.

            If one seeks to create a society characterized by economic failure, complete lack of individual freedom & rule by an intellectually marginal authoritarian elite, then Collectivism, AKA Progressivism, AKA Obamism, is what one should pursue. Under Obama the rich crony capitalists have gotten richer, the now government-dependent poor have gotten poorer & those who work to support their families are now increasingly working to support those who prefer government dependence to self reliance.

            If Obama had been permitted to continue his campaign to Europeanized or Collectivize American society we would within a generation face the prospect of becoming a weak-willed, defenseless, economic basket case like the EU & even the UK. Fortunately, most Americans are not blind sheep like our European cousins & the turning away from Obamism that began in 2010 is accelerating & strengthening, as November’s elections in the US made clear!!!

            As an entrepreneur & strategic investor whose interests have increasingly focused on the Asian & Latin markets, my hope is that the change in leadership that has begun in American will again make the U.S. into the strong & growing market it has been historically & that the European stupidity that Barack Obama has been trying to force on the American people will be relegated again to the ash heap of history!!! I am less sanguine regarding the economic & political future of Europe, whose history was once the beacon of freedom for the world, but whose current sclerotic cadaver may be beyond repair. The future appears to belong to Americans, North & South & Asians, & your babbling illustrates why that may be inevitable. Charles David Edinger

          • JFK   January 4, 2015 9:46 pm

            Well Charles your “babbling” immediately perfectly illustrates the planet your mentality exists on. The fact you would attempt to argue the Daily Mail is a reputable source of news or even opinion is laughable and if you lust took a minute of time to check up on that you may be embarrassed but whether you are or not is irrelevant.

            What you and David seem to think is superior does nothing but remind me of a sinking ship and in this case that sinking ship is the failed US political system. European societies which are undeniably healthier, happier and better educated than the US equivalent operate from a basis of what’s best for the future of the society as a whole while what you advocate is what I can only describe as the aforementioned sinking ship scenario. Every man for himself and sod the rest as we go down.

            Now enlighten us all. Give us what must be the numerous and clearly visible examples of US societal superiority that isn’t bettered by any of these medieval Europeans. As has been pointed out it’s certainly not health or education which could be viewed as base barometers of societal well being so what exactly is it that makes them so inferior to the debt ridden murder/crime ridden sub par educational US?

            Maybe the British and the rest should drag their primitive societies into something more like the advanced US? Get everyone armed with as many guns as possible and that would reduce their murder/crime rates which are already way below the advanced US?

            Carry on. Point out all the benefits of being a citizen of the US system that primitive Europeans don’t have because after 3 years living in this country I don’t see any.

          • David   January 4, 2015 10:58 pm

            Wow. JFK. I don’t think you’re really taking in and processing anything I write, so this will be the last message from me. It’s clear you don’t belong here in the U.S. You hate the country — I’m baffled why you stayed here for 3 years if you think the UK or Europe in general is so much better. I’m sure you have some kind of reason or rationalization.

            In any case, all I can suggest is that you go on your own chosen path. Hopefully, you achieve whatever goals you’ve set out for yourself, and you avoid infringing on others’ rights, regardless of whether you agree with those rights — not everyone is as willing to have a civil discussion in a peaceful manner.

          • JFK   January 4, 2015 11:20 pm

            I will correct your impression that I hate the country, I don’t and you have to appreciate that a belief that things could be better doesn’t constitute hate.

            Actually in my time here it’s been notable that the right wing media sources who propagate your opinions and beliefs also propagate the hate line you just repeated. Anyone who doesn’t agree with the status quo is a hater right? So anyone who doesn’t share the views you espouse is automatically a hater and that’s what? Healthy tolerance?

            I have many friends here and have in general enjoyed my time though it is true that I didn’t actually choose to be here as such. I married an American who has elderly parents one of whom has alzheimers who need her around from time to time so here we are due to that fact. I would prefer to be back home and my American wife would prefer to be there too but the above circumstances rule that out in the meantime.

            You have to understand that I know for an absolute fact that people in other countries are living a healthier and happier life because I have experienced it unlike the vast majority of Americans many of whom know nothing beyond false claims many of which border on the ludicrous about the world outside their own borders.

          • David   January 4, 2015 11:28 pm

            OK you made a liar out of me. Perhaps *this* will be my last post. I must protest to your wrong characterization of my views. I have stated before, but perhaps it needs to be stated again, more emphatically – I do not like republicans, nor do I like right-wing media. Fox News is one of the worst news sources in the U.S. CNN is probably the only one that tops it.

            You absolutely do not know for a fact that people are healthier in other countries. Morbidity and mortality (field underwriting) is my profession. Let me relieve you of your beliefs. Your assertions are simply untrue, and a whole lot more complicated than what you present here, much more complex than could ever be put into a blog comment section.


          • JFK   January 4, 2015 11:45 pm

            Ok goodbye and good luck to you. But what you think you know is irrelevant beside what I actually know from decades of experience. People in other countries are healthier, happier and even better educated too which I have seen with my own eyes, not heard from any source

            There is something far wrong when these factors alone are considered against the reality in the US which you believe has a superior system while these countries operating with what you imagine is a more primitive system are comfortably out performing the US in providing quality of life for their people.

  59. Konrad   January 4, 2015 3:00 pm / Reply

    I don’t like that whole democracy talk, either, for the simple fact that those – above all US presidents – who keep promoting democracy verbally wherever they can, are themselves from countries that are an insult to democratic to begin with. So democracy is basically a joke today. (Just like the Nobel peace prize ever since it was awarded to people like Obama and Arafat.) The most democratic country I know is probably Switzerland.

    The term republic has little to do with democracy, they are different categories. Lots of countries are republics, maybe even the majority worldwide, including Iran and North Korea.

    • Weer'd Beard   January 4, 2015 6:20 pm / Reply

      CALLING yourself a “Republic” or even worse a “Democratic Republic” should read to any rational person the same way the tag in the opening credits of a movie that reads “Based on Actual Events”, or when you buy a dietary supplement that makes claims to treat health conditions. If you think Iran and North Korea (which are both actually military dictatorships) are “Republics” because that’s what they call themselves, you probably have a medicine cabinet filled with homeopathic remedies.

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  61. Zibby Notsworth   January 16, 2015 3:14 am / Reply

    Automobiles don’t kill people either but the people driving them do. Where’s the hue-and-cry to park motor vehicles especially when the news report details a driver jumping a curb and plowing into a crowd of people?

    • JFK   January 16, 2015 3:56 am / Reply

      Well since it doesn’t seem to have occurred to you I will point out the obvious. Vehicles are not specifically designed to kill people and are an essential part of a modern economy and in addition you actually need extensive training and a license to own one then it must be registered too not just by you but again by any subsequent owners while none of these things are true for guns which is bizarre.

      Guns are designed for nothing but killing and a society and it’s economy can manage perfectly well without them but not without cars. If you have any doubts about that go ask the British. They have one of the worlds leading economies but they do not have guns and incidentally they also have a murder rate which is a fraction of the US murder rate.

      Also I was thinking that if we were to organise a society with the muddled thinking you are presenting here well hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades, tactical nuclear weapons and much more don’t kill people either do they? It’s people who do that you say so let’s liberally sprinkle all manner of harmless weapons around and watch the joy that brings.

      • Owen Glendower   January 18, 2015 4:26 pm / Reply

        “…in addition you actually need extensive training and a license to own one…”

        No, you don’t. You only need a license for the privilege of operating the vehicle on public roads. I grew up on a farm and drove pickup trucks and other vehicles on the farm property years before I had a driver’s license. And which states require “extensive training” for a license? In my state, you have to pass a written exam and a driver’s test, but no one asked me to document my “extensive training.”

        “…then it must be registered too not just by you but again by any subsequent owners…”

        No, you don’t. It only has to be registered (i.e., have license plates) if it’s going to be operated on public roads.

        “…while none of these things are true for guns which is bizarre.”

        Hunter-safety training is required in some states. Most states require a background check for purchase of a firearm, plus training and a permit if you wish to carry…although Vermont is indeed “bizarre,” constitutionally guaranteeing concealed carry with no training or permit. Of course, just look at Vermont’s crime and homicide rates.

        Incidentally, the entire “register cars, register guns” argument is a false analogy. The one is a Constitutional right. The other is not.

  62. james   January 27, 2015 8:09 pm / Reply

    Hmmmm,,, I would bet that you were a protester in support of Michael brown. We live in a free country, and the way we got here was a violent way indeed, it took guns and knives and courage.

    I support background checks, but I also support firm discipline for those who commit violent crimes. We slap people on the hands and send them off to commit the same crimes over and over again, I don’t even want to get into the illegal immigrant violent crimes. We live in a flawed world where people hate police for shooting violent criminals in self defense, where people have kids they can’t and don’t take care of them leaving them to fend for themself. People don’t even teach kids what’s right and wrong anymore in most family’s. Inner city kids learn if they want something in life they have to take it, not work for it then after they get shot and killed ,then and only then mom’s comes out and cries about her baby being a good boy.

    People tell me why shouldn’t we all be armed to protect us from this crazy world?? We need to look at responsibility, accountability, and self respect for each other before we can do away with guns. You see I live in a real world where violence is everywhere, and I hope I never have to use a gun in self defense, but I’m not sure why people think a tool is dangerous without someone to use it. Cars kill more people than guns yet we let anybody drive them. Anybody can go out a buy gas without a background check. Its harder to buy a gun than a Axe or a knife but stabbings happen and nobody cries about that.

    I laugh at some of the laws people want passed when it comes to fire arms, its sad to see how easy some are willing to give away their rights in fear of a tool. I call you weak and I’m not surprised by the way this country is diminishing because of people like you.
    The problems go way beyond firearms, firearms are just a weak excuse for you guys who don’t want to tackle the real problems. I live in seattle, I see first hand how most people against guns are hypocrites and for the most part mentally weak. I see how politicians try and hide laws in bills they try and pass, they are trying to make law abiding citizens into criminals. Next will be our religion!!

  63. tjlc68   January 31, 2015 2:43 pm / Reply

    We live in a culture of violence. And when it comes to the entertainment industry, we’re a culture of gratuitous violence, I would argue. If you don’t agree, look at all of the films and video games being marketed to young boys. On the surface, it’s easy to say, if you don’t like it, don’t tune in. But this cultural influence is pervasive. More than anything else in the debate about gun violence, I think THIS is the area we should be focusing our attention. Not on whether you own or possess a firearm. But whether young kids should be exposed to Grand Theft Auto or films like Pulp Fiction. Detractors say it’s un-American to restrict one’s freedom of speech, and to a certain degree I concur. But we restric kids from looking at the cover of Hustler magazine on the newsstand. Shoudn’t we be doing more – as a society (not just in our homes)- of limiting the exposure of impressionable young kids to the constant barrage of entertainment that effectively glorifies gun-related violence?

    • JFK   January 31, 2015 7:29 pm / Reply

      The same games etc are available to kids all throughout the Western world and beyond yet they don’t have the same problems. Why not focus on why they don’t have the same problems. Since the same games and films aren’t resulting in dozens being slaughtered by guns on a daily basis in these other places try examining why.

      British kids for example were playing Grand Theft Auto at least as early as American kids, the game was originally developed by a British company. The British watch more or less all the same movies. So what is the difference? Why do the British have fewer people being killed by guns in a whole year than Americans do in a single typical day?

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  67. T-to-the-B   March 12, 2015 9:42 pm / Reply

    Am I the only person who noticed that your part six argument invalidates itself with the very charts that you claim to prove it with? Look at Switzerland: second-highest ownership, rock bottom in homicides. And according to the 2000 statistics on methods of homicide from, there were 69 homicides in Schweiss in 2000 and 40 of them were from guns, so the number may even be lower than cited on your graph that appears to show general homicide activity.

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