When I was in 10th Grade, I took a calculus class. My teacher’s name was Mr. Frank. Frank was his last name. He had two first names but that’s mostly irrelevant to this story. 10th grade was 12 years ago. Now, if you ask me what the derivative of 6x cubed is, I’d say it’s 18x squared and I may or may not be right. The moral of this story is: I don’t remember a damned thing from that year in calculus class. Now, how is this relevant to you, a potential owner of a gun or multiple guns?
Well, it’s relevant because guns are a lot like calculus: they’re complicated and you better pay attention if you want to get it right. The fact is, no matter how many gun safety classes you take, there’s always the possibility that in some given moment you’ll forget everything you learned and accidentally you shoot your parakeet named Derek. The point is, it’s always possible to do something stupid with your gun.
Did you know that on average at least 500 accidental gun deaths occur every year? Did you know that in 2010 firearms were the third-leading cause of injury-related deaths nationwide, following poisoning and motor vehicle accidents? Did you know you’re more likely to shoot yourself if you own a gun than you are to be shot by someone else? Did you know that owning a gun won’t necessarily make you safer at all?
These are just a few things you might not learn in your average gun safety course. But on your way to acquiring your Massachusetts gun license, it’s probably a good idea to keep in mind all the stupid things that could happen when a gun is in your midst. So, for the sake of constancy, here are five stupid things people have done with guns.
For many years, pro-gun advocates have continuously encouraged and fought for the “right” of citizens to carry handguns, asserting that this will deter the occurrence of crimes. They believed and tried to convince the public that owning a gun will scare off criminals and help law-abiding citizens to protect themselves as well. In other words, they are contending that more guns would stop the violence especially if people take a gun license course to properly understand firearm safety.
These messages have resonated for years resulting in numerous people believing it. Nevertheless, it is important to note that just because this mantra has been accepted by many, does not automatically make it true. How can the mass availability of guns, a tool meant to injure, prevent the occurrence of crimes and violence? Objective studies and specific numbers should back up this claim.
What do the numbers say?
There are research studies that have been carried out to ascertain if gun ownership (including right-to-carry or RTC) is effective in deterring crimes and violence. While the results of early studies have remained inconclusive, new data collected in more than a decade revealed compelling results about the effects of RTC.
In general, the comprehensive study showed that the implementation of RTC laws is positively associated with the increase of violent crimes. Specifically, it was found that the 33 states in the country which adopted RTC laws experienced a significant increase in the rate of violent crimes. A careful analysis of the records within the 10-year period of RTC implementation versus the years wherein RTC laws have yet to be adopted showed that the rate of violent crimes increased by as much as 19% during the years of RTC implementation.
Does this support the claim that allowing citizens to carry guns will make for a more peaceful environment? No. At the end of the day, numbers do not lie. This means that it is critical that instead of believing the rhetoric and creative soundbites, people should look at existing facts and numbers.