When discussing guns and gun rights, I’ve noticed a recurring theme: Those who are unfamiliar with guns asserting two contradictory things: (1) guns are too difficult for an ordinary, law abiding, person to use properly in a self-defense situation, and (2) guns make it too easy for criminals to kill. Allow me to explain:
The idea that a gun is too difficult for an ordinary, law abiding person to properly use in self defense is incompatible with the idea that a gun makes it too easy for a criminal to kill. That is because believing both ideas requires one to accept that law abiding people are unable to use a simple mechanical tool (a gun), while criminals are able to excel at the use of that tool. That just just doesn’t make sense. Instead, law abiding citizens, statistically speaking, are more intelligent than violent criminals. It therefore stands to reason that if a criminal can manage to muster the intelligence and skill necessary to use a firearm, then a law abiding citizen of higher intelligence should be able to do so at least as well, if not better.
This conclusion seems to be well-supported by the available data. Studies show that law-abiding Americans use guns for self defense about 2.5 million times per year. Real-life example of armed self defense are also commonplace, and I write about a tiny fraction of such cases every week, in which law abiding citizens successfully use guns to save themselves from violent attack. On the flip side, although I don’t make much of an effort to track cases of criminals incompetently using guns, I have written about several such examples. Looking at both the studies and real-life cases, it seems that law abiding citizens are considerably more proficient at using guns in self defense than criminals are at using guns to harm law abiding citizens.
Remember, a gun is a mechanically simple tool with just a few controls that the user need operate. Guns are much simpler than cars, computers, telephones, and many of the other objects we use everyday. Like many other anti gun notions, the idea that a gun is too difficult for an ordinary, law abiding person to operate is unfounded.
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