Anti gun rights groups will claim that guns are ultra dangerous items. The fact is that guns are less dangerous than many of the items we all interact with on a daily basis. Furthermore, even taking the misuse of guns by criminals and negligent individuals into account, fewer lives are lost due to gun misuse than are lost due to car misuse.
Guns are not that dangerous
I want to start out by saying that guns are worthy of respect and must be handled safely and stored responsibly– however they are not the ultra dangerous items that anti gun groups try to make them out to be. Firearms are designed to perform a single task – the firing of projectiles at a target. For a hunter, that target could be a deer. For a trapshooter, that target could be a clay disc. For a law abiding citizen acting in self defense, that target could be a violent home invader.
This important distinction makes guns safer than cars, as the ordinary use of a car requires that the car be pointed in the direction of other cars, as well as pedestrians. A momentary lapse of concentration on the part of the car’s driver can easily result in a fatal collision.
Similarly, the ordinary use of a knife requires that it be brought in close proximity to one’s fingers, where one slip can mean great injury. This fact came up in discussion with a visitor to this website named Ryan, who stated that he has accidentally cut himself with knives plenty of times, and considers them to be more dangerous than firearms. I agreed, stating that I too have suffered several accidental knife related injures, and exactly 0 gun related injuries. On that same day, my girlfriend (who a culinary student) stated that a classmate of hers accidentally cut his finger in class, and required multiple stitches.
A comparison: Gun related deaths versus car related deaths
About 50,000 Americans are killed in car collisions each year, compared to the roughly 10,000 people murdered or shot by “accident” – making cars 5 times more likely to cause death. Even adjusting for the fact that only about 40% of Americans interact with guns, while nearly 100% of Americans interact with cars, cars still pose a 2.5 times greater risk to your average citizen than guns. However that is not the end of the analysis, as guns are used for self defense about 2.5 million times each year, saving far more lives than are lost.