With regard to the more guns equal more or less murders argument, I always assumed more guns equal more deaths.
However, it seems it is not that simple and even the experts seem to find it difficult to say yay or nay.
Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy [Vol. 30
If more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less
death, it should follow, all things being equal, (1) that geographic
areas with higher gun ownership should have more
murder than those with less gun ownership; (2) that demographic
groups with higher gun ownership should be more
prone to murder than those with less ownership; and (3) that
historical eras in which gun ownership is widespread should
have more murder than those in which guns were fewer or
less widespread. As discussed earlier, these effects are not
present. Historical eras, demographic groups, and geographic
areas with more guns do not have more murders
than those with fewer guns. Indeed, those with more guns
often, or even generally, have fewer murders.
Of course, all other things may not be equal. Obviously,
many factors other than guns may promote or reduce the
number of murders in any given place or time or among particular
groups. And it may be impossible even to identify
these factors, much less to take account of them all. Thus any
conclusions drawn from the kinds of evidence presented earlier
in this paper must necessarily be tentative.
Acknowledging this does not, however, blunt the force of
two crucial points. The first regards the burden of proof.
Those who assert the mantra, and urge that public policy be
based on it, bear the burden of proving that more guns do
equal more death and fewer guns equal less death. But they
cannot bear that burden because there simply is no large
number of cases in which the widespread prevalence of
guns among the general population has led to more murder.
By the same token, but even more importantly, it cannot
be shown consistently that a reduction in the number of
guns available to the general population has led to fewer
deaths. Nor is the burden borne by speculating that the reason
such cases do not appear is that other factors always
The second issue, allied to the burden of proof, regards
plausibility. On their face, the following facts from Tables 1
and 2 suggest that gun ownership is irrelevant, or has little
relevance, to murder: France and neighboring Germany
have exactly the same, comparatively high rate of gun ownership,
yet the French murder rate is nearly twice the German;
France has infinitely more gun ownership than
Luxembourg, which nevertheless has a murder rate five
times greater, though handguns are illegal and other types
of guns sparse; Germany has almost double the gun ownership
rate of neighboring Austria yet a similarly very low
murder rate; the Norwegian gun ownership rate is over
twice the Austrian rate, yet the murder rates are almost
And then there is Table 3, which shows Slovenia, with 66%
more gun ownership than Slovakia, nevertheless has roughly
one‐third less murder per capita; Hungary has more than 6
times the gun ownership rate of neighboring Romania but a
lower murder rate; the Czech Republic’s gun ownership rate
is more than 3 times that of neighboring Poland, but its murder
rate is lower; Poland and neighboring Slovenia have exactly
the same murder rate, though Slovenia has over triple
the gun ownership per capita.
In a previous thread, Jim Rosenthal posted this :-
The difference between a gun and any other weapon: -a gun requires less effort on the part of its user than other weapons do. -a gun is able to perform its job (of throwing a missile at something) without having to be in close proximity to the thing that it is aimed at. -a gun takes less time to do what it does than any other weapon. -a gun is smaller than MOST other weapons (not all) -a gun is more amenable to impulse use than any other weapon. Even if you decide to run someone over with a car, it still takes a lot longer to aim it and use it than it does a gun.
Finally, as a physician, working in emergency departments, who has spent my entire professional life trying to keep people alive and well (including people injured with firearms) I take issue with the idea, implied above as I understand it, that a shepherd or sheep dog- a protector of other living beings- necessarily has to be armed. Frankly, I think that it takes a lot more guts to confront an angry irrational person WITHOUT having a gun in your possession than it does when you know you can shoot them. And yet I do this frequently. I don't know of any ER physicians who carry a gun at work; it seems totally opposed to what we do. And although I am fairly diplomatic, and work hard at it, I've taken down people half my age and quite a bit bigger than me with my bare hands, when I had to. I don't like it, but if the staff and other patients are in harm's way, I'll do it. And of course I'm scared, but doing what you see needs done whether you are scared or not seems to me to be what a responsible grownup does.
My country is awash in both guns and trouble. There is a relationship there, and although I am not an advocate of banning guns, I wish they were far better controlled.
You nailed it on the head for me there, 100%.
Reading some of the other posts in this thread is interesting, and the facts (such as they are) make a good point. Some of the information we have seems counter-intuitive,and it appears that a country's culture often defines it's crime rate, not necessarily the guns, so if these facts are true, then I'll happily admit that this seems to be a much more complex issue than just "ban the guns".
Graham makes the point that I put somewhere in a previous thread. Its the violence in society that creates the crime. Sure guns may help to boost the violence in a deadly manner, but its the person at days end that pulls the trigger.
Just a statistic I remember from a gun friend here in the UK. When the UK began licensing shotguns after Dunblane in 1997?, the estimated population of shotguns was 150,000. 100,000 shotguns were registered. Makes one wonder where the other 50,000 went?
Jim, You nailed it! It's the "who", the people that boost violence, the gun, like the knife, stick of dynamite, bottle of gas, car, hammer, ect, are inanimate objects that need unstable people to use them to cause violence. So, you need to keep guns away from unstable people, just as you would try to keep unstable people from operating a car or a plane. Look what 19 people did with 2 planes, what 3 people with a van full of explosives did in Oklahoma. Killing on a big scale is usually not done with guns!
What tool do you grab when you go to work on your car? Do you use an adjustable wrench for every task? Do you own a ratchet wrench? How about air tools?
Firearms are the target of so much attention due to their being extremely good at what they are designed to do. They are tools and anyone that tries to make them into anything else is being a bit self deluding.
I hear the argument that people shouldn't carry a weapon because a criminal will take it away from them and they will become even more likely to be hurt. Then that same group tells me the next week that having the weapon makes the owner more likely to act upon impulse and cause grievous harm to another. Which is it? Am I a victim because I own one or a felon waiting for his chance?
What is a long screwdriver used for? Well a pry bar of course. What about a gun? Obviously a murder weapon. My point? The misuse of the tool is not the fault of the tool, but the person using it.
Want to stem the occurrence of gun crime? Remove gun criminals.
By the way. I hold a Federal Firearms License and will be happy to order you any gun you want. I will then legally ship that to a convenient FFL holder near you for pick up. I will also sell you a hammer if you pass the background checks.
With the exception of a family heirloom pistol from the 1800's, the rest are specifically for hunting.
I live near Houston, where the most disgusting part of my day is hearing how many people were killed the day before....most often with guns.
My guns have not been used for over 20 years. Why?
I grew tired of violently ending the lives of the animals I hunted, so I found alternative ways (where I live in Kansas, the most common quarry is pheasant....I found a pheasant farm where I can buy fresh pheasant for $7 each).
I live a quiet life in a very quiet neighborhood, way back at the back of a subdivision with only one entrance and no through traffic. I don't need a gun, the only time I have ever been burglarized was when the city hired a landscape company to mow my lawn when I was absent for an extended period and the landscape company stole property from my yard. My second home is in a small, rural town....once a windstorm blew the front door off and it was lying in the front yard for 3 weeks before I could arrange from 1,000 miles away to have it put back up. Nobody entered the home, nothing was missing. They had a murder there about 4 years ago (a love triangle), it was the first murder they had in 20 years. There is no need to lock doors on houses or cars there, essentially no crime.
So, why do I have guns? Most are family heirlooms, owned by long gone family members and are being preserved by me for the family. At some point in time, they will be transferred to other family members.
Bottom line, I can't imagine using my guns on another human being. I realize there are those out there who would, so I manage to live in two very nice places where the incidence of crime is lower, reducing the need to deal with the "need" for a gun.
+1 Doug. But I really like shooting clay pigeons at my local sporting layout (its really great fun). And shooting my Kimber .243 at 600 yards and landing numerous shots within a foot of the bullseye is also a trip.
I was car jacked 7 years ago, and had I been in the states, the jackers would have probably packed a pistol. Had I responded with a firearm, I probably wouldn't be writing this today. Who knows I may have had the jump on them and taken them out. Don't know, but had I packed a pistol, I would have made sure I knew how to use it.
I prefer to go on my own and trust that I can get out of a situation without the use of a firearm. Even at home, one has to keep one's guns locked up or one is in violation of the law.