“I wouldn’t want a gun in my house,” said the nervous frail suburban housewife, speaking to her daughter’s grade school teacher, who was nodding vigorous agreement. “It’s dangerous.”
This widely believed myth has kept more people gunless and defenseless, removed from the protection and safety that 60 million armed households enjoy, than any other myth cataloged so far in this series.
Like so many of these myths, it is enormously appealing because it has that subtle and seductive error of logic that on first glance grabs hold (the fallacy of selective evidence). Fortunately, on a cool, clear-minded second look, the shimmering deception unravels and inner truth reveals itself.
Of course having a gun in your home is dangerous. It’s supposed to be dangerous. That’s why so many American homes safely keep their homes armed. Keeping firearms in the grand American tradition wouldn’t be any good, wouldn’t serve it’s intended purpose, if firearms weren’t deadly dangerous. That’s the whole point. That’s why you keep a dangerous stove. Because it has value.
Have we so lost sight of our roots and values that this isn’t immediately evident to any person who thinks themselves a citizen? Guns are dangerous so they can provide immediate protection from danger and evil.
Guns are dangerous? Knives are dangerous. Going about terrified that guns are dangerous is like going about terrified that knives are sharp. Of course they’re sharp, the more dangerously sharp the better. Same for guns. Guns are safe. Guns are for safety. Knives are for kitchens.
Multiple choice test:
If knives and knife owners were government registered because they’re so sharp and deadly dangerous, accidents would drop, stabbings would drop, crime would drop.
Yes. No. Don’t know.
A government knife registry has a crime fighting component.
Yes. No. Don’t know.
Background checks and waiting/cooling-off periods for knives would reduce stabbings and knife-wielding muggings.
Yes. No. Don’t know.
Repeat for guns.
You’re an adult, or at least you’re supposed to be, and act like one, as a functioning member of civil society. That level of competency was expected when the nation was founded, as a needed part of self governance. You’re expected to be sufficiently adult to handle all sorts of powerful and dangerous things, most of them much more often than guns, or voting.
If you can’t, then maybe you shouldn’t be left out on your own. Think of all the harm you can do with kitchen knives. The enemies of Israel are showing that to us. Poison, cars, power tools, flammable liquids, matches in a forest. Maybe you’ve read lists of how exposed this nation is to attack by people without guns.
Hey, before guns existed personal physical harm was done with blades of some sort. The world was a lot more bloody, ugly and dangerous in times of Caesar, Khan and Xena the Warrior Princess. Guns have actually tamed things down, for the average domestic street.
It Can Be Measured
Statistical arguments are frustrating. Both sides have numbers, they’re all developed from impeccable sources with Ph.D.s behind them—and they don’t match. In fact, if I tell you a stat is from Brady or the NRA, you already know what the numbers will show, and your beliefs about them are already in place.
That said, no one disagrees that guns are used defensively without being fired far more often than with shots fired. A gun is mentioned, or presented, and a confrontation ends. There is general consensus that a gun is fired in only about 2% percent of self-defense incidents. Yet some people believe and fear guns are totally deadly. In self defense, 98% of the time guns are not deadly at all. Read that sentence again. Defensive gun uses (DGUs) occur between 700,000 and 2.5 million times annually (depending on whose figures you use).
The final nail in the coffin on the dangerous-gun myth is that most people shot don’t die. I know, that’s a shocker, and terrible, and I’m not saying woundings are good by any stretch. Puhleeeze. It’s just that some people believe and fear America’s 300 million guns are completely and constantly deadly. Most people who suffer gunshots survive.
You’ll start noticing it in “news” reports by listening closely to body counts (reported with abandon, which is abominable). Reporters continue to glorify the murderers with gratuitous and repetitious images and name recognition. That needs to end.
More articles in this series:
- Gun Myths Just Keep Coming
- America’s Real Gun Problem — The Progressive’s Gun Myths
- The Loophole Australia and Junk-Gun Myths
Alan Korwin’s website features plain-English books on state and federal gun laws for the public, and more common sense like you just read. He invites you to write to him or see his work, at GunLaws.com, where you can get his 14 books, like After You Shoot, and DVDs that help keep you safe.
Alan Korwin, Publisher, Bloomfield Press, “We publish the gun laws.”
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