If you are a follower of gun politics or a close reader of the New York Times, you may be aware that some people claim that owning a gun actually makes you LESS safe. To support this claim these people point to studies that show statistical relationships between gun ownership and suicides/being a victim of gun violence. The statistics, they claim, show that owning a gun is correlated with more suicides and getting shot more. At first glance these statistics seem to “prove” that despite what racist (all gun owners are inherently racist remember) redneck southern NRA murderers say about guns keeping you safe, guns actually make you less safe! And to continue with the “conservatives hate women” theme, some claim that having guns in the house make women less safe because men are more likely to use the gun on their wife than a criminal. Statistics “prove it!” they claim.
And then you remember to use logic when analyzing claims.
First, lets make a note about statistics. As the saying goes- there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. I have never studied statistics in depth but people who have have told me that they can be very misleading at best. Just because there is a statistical relationship between two things does not say anything about the NATURE of the relationship. The classic example here is the fact that the rooster crows when the sun rises, but that doesn’t mean that the sun rose BECAUSE the rooster crowed.
Lets apply some of this logic to the anti-gun argument. For one, maybe the reason why a person owns a gun is because they live in an area where there is high crime to begin with, so they have a higher chance of being a victim of crime regardless of if they own a gun or not. And as for the suicide claim, I agree that if you are suicidal having a gun around is not a good idea. But what about all of the gun owners that AREN’T suicidal? If you are not a suicide risk, owning a gun doesn’t endanger you. As for the claim about guns making women less safe, that one is perhaps the most insulting because it implies that all men are high risk of being abusive. Has our society come to a point where we tell women they shouldn’t marry gun owners because they may get killed by their spouse? What about all the gun owners who keep a gun in the house to protect their wife and kids and would gladly die for their safety? Do they not count?
When people claim that owning a gun makes you and your family less safe, they are playing a statistical game. The way to beat the game is by using logic to understand how to properly interpret statistical data. This goes both ways, too. When gun owners point to the fact that the country has seen an influx of guns and a decrease in crime as proof that gun ownership CAUSES crime to go down, this should be analyzed as well. Now in this case there is a logical reason for the relationship: criminals will think twice about invading a home if the owner is waiting with a ________(insert your favorite gun here).