Gun ownership by law abiding citizens has a deterrent effect upon criminals, and the reason is quite clear: A criminal out to commit robbery/rape/theft/etc. is looking for an easy target, not one that will fight back. Since criminals can’t know which potential victim is armed, they know that committing a crime is a risk. Accordingly, the more armed citizens that we have, the greater the deterrent effect upon criminals.

Sadly, this deterrent effect is often less obvious than one might expect. That is because a criminal who chooses not to commit a crime doesn’t call the police and report it. Nor does the criminal inform the wold-be victim that they won’t be robbed today. However, evidence of the deterrent effect can be seen by the increase in burglary after Oak Park enacted its handgun ban, which made criminals feel safer to victimize the disarmed citizens. The decades of draconian gun bans, which saw the District of Columbia become the “murder capitol” of the United States also shows that criminals prefer their victims disarmed. Even during a home invasion, the deterrent effect can be seen when a pregnant woman ejects 2 home invaders from her home, without even having to fire her shotgun.

Since criminals will have guns despite the laws that prohibit them from having guns, gun control laws will only serve to disarm the law abiding citizens. Instead, gun laws should be modified to ensure that all law abiding citizens who wish to own a gun for self defense are able to do so. Such armed citizens can protect both themselves, as well as society as a whole.