Amanda Marcotte, a political writer for Salon.com, believes that now is not the time for the public to be arming itself.
She wrote, in an article published this week, “But the last thing anyone should be doing in this crisis, if they want to stay safe, is to buy a gun.”
“Buying a gun right now will make your family and your home less safe, especially if you, like many panic buyers, are not trained in gun safety and don’t have the proper storage,” she added.
On some level, maybe she has a point. A gun will do one no good if he or she doesn’t know how to accurately shoot it, properly maintain it and safely secure it. And it does make the individual less safe if he or she doesn’t take the time to learn the basics.
But the good news is that a basic level of proficiency with firearms isn’t that hard to obtain. Turns out guns are pretty user intuitive and, depending on the student, the training materials and resources the student has access to, and whether the student has an instructor or seasoned gun owner to help show them the way, one can learn how to shoot well rather quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, perusing gun safety literature and taking several trips out to the local range with a reputed instructor (while following the guidelines of social distancing) isn’t going to turn the student into Doc Holiday but at the same time, it should give the student a level of competency so that A. The gun no longer a liability to one’s safety and B. It begins to become a viable tool for personal defense.
And, at that point, it’s good to have a gun. It makes one safer because one can effectively defend oneself, one’s family and one’s property. Again, the student isn’t going to be a gunslinger but he or she will be able to point, aim and shoot at a target which is, in most scenarios, enough to get the job done.
It’s worth mention that in the vast majority of defensive gun uses (instances where good guys use firearms to defend themselves), no shots are actually fired. The mere presence of the gun is enough to de-escalate the situation. Put in a real-world, COVID-19 situation, prowlers and looters and other hooligans are likely to take off running when a homeowner simply presents a gun.
But Ms. Marcotte disagrees.
“The idea that guns are effective at self-defense is a myth, which is constantly propped up by the gun industry and has been repeatedly disproved by independent researchers,” she wrote.
To back up her claim she cites several studies, surveys, and papers collected by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. I suggest you check them out and when you do you’ll see that the sample size on many are small and most of the data examined is from several decades ago before the widespread adoption of permissive concealed carry laws in the U.S.
Remember, we went from a virtual No-Issue/May-Issue country to a Constitutional Carry/Shall-Issue country in the span of about three decades, the ’80s to ‘00s. With almost 19 million licensed concealed carriers nationwide as of last year, our society is more prepared to deal with threats than it’s ever been.
And while we don’t actually know the precise number of defensive gun uses that happen annually, estimates have been as high as several million and as low as 100,000, or at least as common as criminals use firearms in the preparation of crimes, what we do know is that A. Self-defense with firearms is certainly not a myth (One quick example, per the FBI, concealed carriers stopped 8 percent of active shooter incidents in 2016-2017) and B. Crime rates have plummeted over the last several decades as more law-abiding citizens exercised their 2A rights.
SEE ALSO: FBI: Concealed Carriers Stopped 8 Percent of Active Shooter Incidents in the Last Two Years
Sure, correlation doesn’t mean causation. Crime rates may have dropped for any number of reasons. But at the same time, what we can say for sure is that more guns in the hands of responsible people does not increase crime nor does it endanger public safety! Any fair-minded, rational person has to acknowledge this reality.
Marcotte concluded by saying, “But one thing you should not do is buy a gun. It won’t make you or your family safer. On the contrary, it might lead to someone getting shot — and needing to be rushed to a hospital that’s already in danger of being overwhelmed by the coronavirus. So stay home and stay safe. Leave the guns alone.”
What I would say to all those considering purchasing their first firearm during this crisis is don’t buy a gun if you’re not going to take gun ownership seriously. If you’re not willing to put in the time to learn how to use it, don’t bother. Save your money for food or a security system or other supplies that might be useful during this global pandemic.
However, if you’re willing to practice and train and educate yourself, then, by all means, make the jump. While the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now!