I’ve noticed an interesting anti gun argument that (incorrectly) assumes gun owners are more likely to be killed by their own gun than to stop a criminal in their home, then assumes that such an (incorrect) statistic applies to each and every gun owner. This is one of the more flawed anti gun arguments I’ve heard, so I thought I would take a moment to discuss the flaws with such reasoning:
The idea that gun owners are more likely to be killed by their own gun than to stop a criminal is flatly untrue
The often quoted by utterly untrue myth that gun ownership is more dangerous than useful was started by one Mr. Kellermann, in his discredited study “Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearms-Related Deaths in the Home.” That study was inherently flawed, counting only gun related deaths, which are not a measure of self defense (since many self defense gun uses don’t require a shot being fired), any more than the number of suspect shot dead on the street by the police is a measure of crime prevention. The fact is that 65 lives are protected for every 2 lives lost, making guns a safety enhancing thing. See Dr. Suter’s paper “Guns in the Medical Literature – A Failure of Peer Review.” Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. Published March 1994. Furthermore, those lives that are lost by unintentional shootings are usually entirely preventable.
I’m an individual, not a statistic
Although I’ve already discussed how the statistics show gun ownership is a safety enhancing thing, lets assume, just for the sake of argument, that guns really were a safety liability in the home: The fact that some random person failed to keep his gun away from his kid does not mean that I would allow a child to gain access to a loaded gun – I store my firearms safely. The fact that this home owner was not successful at using a gun in self defense does not mean that I would fail – I have guns suitable for self defense and would not hesitate to use them if the need arose.
In short, even if guns were a dangerous thing in the hands of an “average” person (which they are not), I am not such an “average” person. I store my guns in a large safe, and use more care when handling them than most people.
Assuming that I would be negligent with my guns doesn’t make sense. It is similar to suggesting that if I go to a bar with some friends, then I am X times more likely to get drunk and crash my car – even though I never drive after drinking any quantity of alcohol. It is also similar to racial profiling, as the fact that I’m an African American does not mean I’m likely to go commit a violent crime once I’m done writing this article. Statistics, especially long since discredited statistics, are not a very good reason to oppose gun ownership.