This current year, 2018, has brought to light specifically one deeply moralizing topic in American politics; gun control. Gun control advocates, such as David Hogg and his Parkland classmates who’re disgustingly being propagandized and monetized by CNN and their affiliates explicitly wish to abolish the Second Amendment. The notion that this is becoming a legitimate movement, that those who wish to ban firearms are not considered hard leftists but rather “common-sense gun control” activists is in itself a travesty. Cameron Kasky is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He and his classmates survived a national tragedy, and I’ve not heard one person who disagrees with that conception. However, their skewed politics should not be taken as seriously as they are. Via change.org, Cameron and his classmates have started a movement which has caught fire in the media. Their platforms, however, have not been given the light they deserve. They deserve the light of day because essentially anyone with any smidgen of insight can easily refute the arguments they’re making. With the exception of Emma Gonzalez, everyone who spoke at the “March for Our Lives” protest sounded immature, unintelligent, and misinformed. The misinformation about gun safety in America has become an epidemic.
For starters, most of the data you will see regarding firearm casualties in America is skewed. Roughly 2/3 of all firearm related deaths in this country come from suicide, and those numbers are usually bulked in with homicide statistically. The CDC is burdened with the task of tracking deaths in the US by cause and found that (excluding suicide) 11,000 people are killed by guns in America each year. This is vastly different that the 30,000 statistic which is carelessly thrown around in the news. After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, President Obama issued an executive order which allowed the CDC to review existing studies on causes of and ways to reduce gun violence. Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (incidents where a gun was used by a crime victim to deter an offender or an attacker by means of threatening) have found that the annual uses of firearms in this manner have been increasing, with estimates ranging from 500,000 to 3 million lives saved by guns each year. This staggering fact has slipped the minds of most. To say that the banishing of guns would do anything but make it more difficult for Americans to defend themselves is untrue.
Gun control freaks everywhere agree on one thing: assault rifles must be banned in the United States. Well, along with being explicitly unconstitutional, it would not make us a whole lot safer. In reality, if they were concerned with safety and not just emotional dissent with assault rifles, gun control advocates would find that handguns are used in about NINE TIMES as many murders and EIGHT TIMES as many nonfatal violent crimes than rifles, shotguns, and other firearms combined. Not to mention the fact that instruments such as knives killed nearly five times as many people as rifles in 2016. According to FBI data, 1,604 people were killed by “knives and cutting instruments” and 374 were killed by “rifles” in 2016. Coincidentally, the FBI could’ve and should’ve silenced this conversation before it started by following through on the 36 calls it got regarding the Parkland shooter, but I digress.
Criminologist and researcher Gary Kleck, using his own commissioned phone surveys and number extrapolation, estimates that Americans use guns for defensive purposes 1.2 million times each year — and that 1 in 6 Americans who have used guns defensively believe someone would have died but for their ability to resort to their defensive use of firearms. I believe the good heavily outweighs the bad.
Even still, many will assume the dominant view of society that more guns equate to more gun violence. This, however, is false. Per capita, Americans own more firearms than any nation on earth. Yet, gun deaths have been radically declining in the United States since 2003. According to the centers for disease control, there were 7 gun related homicides for every 100,00 Americans in 1993, and by 2013 that number had been sliced in half, where there were 3.6 deaths for every 100,000 citizens. During that time, the number of privately owned firearms DOUBLED from 185 million to 357 million privately owned firearms in the United States.
People will then say that mass shootings are the problem and mass shootings are characteristically America. The fact is that mass shootings more broadly are not happening all that often in the United States. In fact, on a per capita basis the United States does NOT rank number one in deaths from mass shooting, in the western world. Actually, the United States ranks 11th. The lie that is promulgated in the media is refuted by statistics, yet people still whole heartedly believe these lies. It’s a disgusting reflection on the media’s role in determining what is fact and what is not. What goes unreported isn’t necessarily not true, but the ignorance of fact in the media has become a problem that most people can’t seem to see.
School shootings have also been on the decline since the 90’s, contrary to widely held belief. Including any incident that took place on a school campus at times where students and faculty were on the grounds, according to the gun violence archive, 138 people have been killed in school shootings since 2012. This means that 15-20 students are killed each year on school grounds. (Remember the suicide statistic? This applies here as well). According to the facts, 2.6% of all youth homicides occur in schools. A child is about 40x more likely to die from getting into their parent’s medicine cabinet than in a school shooting. The popular maxim among “Never Again” students, “We will make sure no student has to fear being shot in their school,” is riddled in falsities. I graduated from a large high school in 2017 and not one day had I felt any fear that I was going to be shot. Neither should the clear majority of students in the United States. Also, it’s worth noting that Northeastern University conducted a study which found that students were 4x more likely to be killed in the 1990’s in schools than they are today.
I pray that I’ll be able to debate one of these activists one day. It’ll be easy, because the facts are on my side.