Gun Laws & Legislation

The Mistaken Argument: Fewer Guns = Fewer Murders

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By Jorge Amselle, Author Gun Digest’s Shooter’s Guide to Concealed Carry

Taken at its face if we had no guns there would be no firearm murders. That is a fact same as saying that before we had cars there were no motor vehicle fatalities. Still there are those, especially following some horrific crime, who insist on trying to make it harder for Americans to own guns. They claim that the fewer guns the fewer gun fatalities. They are correct in an extremely simplistic way. However, taking guns away from people does not make them less violent, crazy or racist; just less capable of acting on those impulses. That is a good thing right?

It also makes it harder for those of us who are not crazy, violent nor racist from defending ourselves from those who are. Countries that all but eliminated gun ownership like England did see a decline in gun deaths but not in overall crime. They took the guns away but not the criminals. In this country we decided to put the blame where it belongs; on the criminals. The result is that we currently have the lowest homicide and violent crime rates in the past 50 years.

Take a look at some of the statistics that keep getting thrown at gun owners.


Anti-gunners always conflate suicides with murders to inflate the numbers of gun deaths. They claim that having access to a gun makes people more likely to commit suicide. Of course the easier it is to do something the more people are going to do it but it should be noted that Japan which has a virtual ban on all guns has a higher suicide rate than we do. I always take this complaint from anti-gunners as idiot bait. From their perspective every time a gun owner commits suicide that is one less gun owner. They should be happy.  Many of these same people are enthusiastically in favor of euthanasia and “assisted suicide.” Suicide is a sad and desperate act and we should take efforts to reduce it but in the end the harm done is to the individual who made that choice and not society.

Your gun will be used against you:

Did you know that if you have a gun in your house it is more likely to be used against you or a member of your family than to kill a home intruder? Guess what, if you have a pool in your back yard you are also more likely to drown too. Such a narrowly worded statement may be true with a lot of caveats. I once had a student ask me about safe home storage for her gun because her daughter was into drugs and associated with criminals and she did not trust her. My advice was if you live in a home where you don’t trust the people living with you not to kill you gun ownership is the least of your worries. Most murders are committed between people who know each other. It is very rare for complete strangers to kill or be killed. Also killing a home intruder is not the only way to use a gun for self-defense. The vast majority of defensive gun uses do not involve the gun ever being fired.

Guns are used for crime much more than for self-defense:

This is both true and false. Criminals who use guns use them a lot. It is also true that the vast majority of the 300 million plus firearms in this country are not used either for criminal activity or self-defense. You have a very small number of guns that are used to commit a large number of crimes. Since these criminals are intentionally trying to avoid armed victims the incidences of self-defense are going to be smaller. This is actually proof of the benefit guns provide even to the unarmed since it plants the seed of doubt in the criminal’s mind. It is also a major reason why we have so few “hot” home invasions in this country. Criminals do not want to break into your home when you are present because they fear getting shot even though fewer than half the households nationwide have guns in them. They just don’t know which ones do and which ones don’t.

More guns does not mean less crime:

Crime rates are affected by any number of factors such as law enforcement, incarceration rates, poverty, population density, even the weather. What we do know is this; the violent crime rate nationwide is at an all-time low. The rate of gun ownership remains largely unchanged although gun owners now own more guns and there has been a huge increase in the number of people carrying a gun for self-defense. Some will claim that states with more restrictive gun laws have less crime and have seen bigger drops in crime. The fact is that there are states on both sides of this spectrum. Yes some states with restrictive gun laws have less crime than some states with more open gun laws and the inverse is true as well. It depends on which states are selected for comparison.

Mass shootings are a problem:

I absolutely agree but they remain a rare occurrence no matter how much the media hypes them. The murder rate is at an all-time low but instead of focusing on the big picture anti-gunners point to these extreme and horrific examples as proof that we need more gun control. They ignore that fact that the remedies they push (like expanded background checks) would not have stopped hardly any of these crimes from occurring. So why advocate for “solutions” that don’t fix the problem? Why focus on statistical outliers instead of the factors that have succeeded in reducing violent crime rates? It is because anti-gunners are pursuing an agenda and they will use any means necessary to advance it.

Jorge Amselle is a certified firearms instructor, writer and author of the Gun Digest Shooter’s Guide to Concealed Carry. He covers all aspects of the industry from military and law enforcement firearms and training to the shooting sports. His blog is at