Everytown for Gun Safety wants its members to “talk turkey” about firearms and crime this Thanksgiving. An infographic put out by the Bloomberg-funded organization states, “This Thanksgiving, when talk around the table turns to politics and current events, you can help set the record straight on some of the most common myths about guns.”
Well, below is the flawed infographic followed by my rebuttal. So, if anyone tries to talk turkey on turkey day, you’ll know how to respond:
1. More Guns in More Places Makes Us All Safer
This is poorly worded. No sensible gun owner or Second Amendment advocate would argue “More guns in more places makes us all safer.” There’re obvious limitations to this premise. For example, putting more firearms in the hands of gangsters in Chi-raq doesn’t make the Windy City any safer.
That said, what does have the potential to reduce crime is putting firearms in the hands of responsible and law-abiding citizens.
In examining crime and gun ownership data from 2006 to 2011 in Virginia, Thomas R. Baker a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University found a negative relationship between gun sales, which increased 73 percent over those five years and gun-related violent crimes, which fell by 24 percent over the same period.
“While there is a wealth of academic literature attempting to demonstrate the relationship between guns and crime, a very simple and intuitive demonstration of the numbers seems to point away from the premise that more guns leads to more crime, at least in Virginia,” Baker, a criminologist, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2012.
He went on to say that “while it’s difficult to make a direct causal link [that more guns are resulting in less crime], the numbers certainly present that that’s a real possibility.”
What is plainly obvious, however, is that the opposite is not true. That is more guns do not create more crime.
“It’s mathematically not possible, because the relationship is a negative relationship – they’re moving in the opposite direction,” Baker said. “So the only thing it could be is that more guns are causing less crime.”
“From my personal point of view, I would say the data is pretty overwhelming,” Baker added. “But we’re pretty cautious in the social sciences in talking about causality. We only talk in probabilities.”
2. Having a Gun at Home Makes Women Safer from Domestic Violence
Everytown makes the assertion that “Women are five times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner when a firearm is present.” Yet, how can they make that claim when the number of defensive gun uses per year, instances where an individual uses a firearm to thwart a criminal act, is not really known?
Yet a Centers for Disease Control study in 2013 stated the following:
Defensive uses of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed. Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.
In other words, the figure doesn’t account for times when women use firearms to defend themselves against a domestic abuser.
Also, I’d like to know what percentage of those intimate partners were concealed carry permit holders versus criminals who were banned from owning firearms in the first place. I’m pretty sure the study they culled that statistic from did not discern between the two.
3. The Only Thing that Stops a Bad Guy with a Gun is a Good Guy with a Gun.
Yeah. This is an NRA talking point. I prefer to rewrite it as such, “The optimal way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” But to each his own, I suppose.
Everytown’s goes on to state that “If more guns stopped gun crime, we’d be the safest county in the developed world.”
Guns by themselves do nothing. They’re inanimate objects. We have more gun crime in this country than some developed countries because we have more criminals, drug dealers and thugs than those developed countries.
4. Hiding Your Guns is Enough to Keep them Away from Your Kids
I agree with Everytown on this. Hiding a firearm is not the same thing a securing a firearm in a gun safe or with a trigger lock. The former is no substitute for the latter, especially when children are around.
But to be honest, who is perpetuating this myth? It’s certainly not the NRA, the NSSF, the NAGR or any other gun-rights organization I can think of.
5. Congress Hasn’t Passed a Background Check Law, which Proves that Americans Don’t Support Background Checks on Gun Sales
Americans support background checks. This is true. In theory, I support background checks. But in practice, with the way the current universal background check bills are being drafted, I don’t support them and I’m pretty sure a large percentage of Americans would oppose them as well if they knew what the laws entail.
For instance, if I sell a firearm to my friend or cousin, that transaction shouldn’t require a background check. I know my friend and cousin, they’re law-abiding citizens. There’s no need to burden the deal with a trip out to a federal firearm licensee or gun shop dealer. Moreover, I don’t want to pay the extra $40-60 the FFL charges to run the background check. That’s a lot of money.
The truth of the matter is the background check debate isn’t really about background checks. It’s about making firearm ownership more burdensome and more costly for law-abiding citizens. I oppose this and I’m sure many others do as well.