Secure Your Gun to Secure Your Right to Gun Ownership

When I started my research on this article I had some solid preconceived ideas of the information I would find when it comes to gun violence.  What I had set out to do was to dig up data and present the argument that gun owners need to do a better job of securing their weapons. My motivation for this project was show hard data to gun owners that they should have their weapons well secured in a safe, which they could obtain right here on this website.  Based upon a number of personal experiences I had with certain gun owners, I felt that I  had a first-hand understanding of how so many illegal guns make it to the street, and why gun control advocates felt they had legitimate issues with legal gun owners.  I was under the distinct impression that all weapons used in crime started out as a legal purchase from a law abiding citizen in the weapons history, only to somehow be stolen or lost later on and then fall into the hands of criminals.  When two of my associates ended up having their guns stolen from their home during a day time robbery that occurred while they were at work, I figured this was how illegal guns made it to the street. It shocked me to learn this assumption wasn’t even close to the truth. What I found instead was a world of political posturing, half-truths, and clear avoidance of the real issues.

During my research I came across several articles discussing six points of concern about guns.  These articles were written by gun control advocates many calling for the removal of the Second Amendment.  I figured researching the facts behind each claim would provide the data to support the marketing claim to encourage gun owner to purchase a gun safe, however to my surprise, I found something very different.   I have them listed below in the order I address each one.

  1. Guns are used in more than 70% of homicides (actual number is between 70% and 71% to be clear).
  2. Guns are used in most suicides, about 52%.
  3. Guns are typically used in mass murders.
  4. Guns take only 5 days to buy (in some states, more in most)
  5. Guns purchased at gun shows can be taken home immediately (In some states, but not for residence of states having waiting periods)
  6. Guns take innocent lives.

I would like to start off with a bit of information from the horse’s mouth shall we say.  Gun control advocates would have common folks believing that because we have legal gun ownership, hand guns are used to commit crimes. They claim that if you removed legal ownership, illegal guns would dry up.  However, according to the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fire Arms), only 10% to 15% of firearms legally purchased are used in criminal activity.  Let me say that again… 10% to 15% of LEGALLY obtained firearms are ever used in criminal activity.  To be clear what I am saying is that 85% to 90% of firearms used in criminal activity were NEVER SOLD LEGALLY.  Wow, that number surprised me.  If 85% to 90% of guns used in a crime were never purchased legally, exactly where did they come from?   See while I never really bought into the gun control advocates position that removing the guns from the hands of legal owners would stop gun violence and crime, I thought that the statistics would at least somewhat justify that claim.  According to the ATF, lost or stolen legal weapons are at the BOTTOM of the list of sources of fire arms used in criminal activity.  Please note that the 85% to 90% of weapons obtained through illegal sources does NOT include the theft of legal weapons (yes an illegal or criminal act) because these weapons were once legally owned.  It would seem that these statistics do justify a call for strong action!  Apparently while the Government & News media have been focusing entirely on Legal gun ownership and the Second Amendment, it would appear they have completely ignored the issue that the United States has a booming gun smuggling operation that accounts for the vast majority of the guns used in crime.

Bring this back to point number one of the six concerns of guns, 59.5% to 63% of homicides are committed by guns obtained through ILLEGAL trafficking. 30% of homicides are committed using something other then a gun, and the remaining 7% to 10.5% are committed using guns once obtained legally.

In the second point, my research confirmed that most suicides (52%) in the US are indeed carried out by guns.  That is something to think about.  However Gun Control proponents present the case that this data provides a valid reason to overturn the right of Americans to own guns.  The logic being is if private citizens were not permitted to own guns, then the statistics would be different.  Looking at the data provided for each nation I could see that suicide rates and numbers didn’t hold any correlation with the presences or absence of fire arms. Many nations hold much greater rates of suicide then the US and the method of suicide varied greatly.  Some nations without legal gun ownership had higher percentages of the suicides committed with guns, while other nations WITH legal gun ownership had rates significantly less.   The claim is made that by removing legal ownership of guns, the number of suicides would be reduced.  The International data just doesn’t support that claim.  What the data does support is that removal of legal guns will not have an impact on the NUMBER of lives lost due to suicides but may have an impact on the method.  The really important question is why is the Government & News Media focused gun control, but is not paying any attention to nor looking for solutions to address reducing or eliminating the act of suicides.

Examining this question I found even more interesting information in the international data.  The Untied States rate of suicide is number 33 on the list, with Greenland as number 1 and with a rate per person nearly 10 times that of the United States.  In Greenland the method of choice for suicide is hanging at a rate of 46%.  The wise guy in me would like to recommend that in Greenland they should ban rope, that should save lives right?  All sarcasm aside, looking at the 32 nations who demonstrate higher suicide rates than the US, many like Greenland use means other than guns to take their own lives.  Even close to home, 48% of suicides are NOT committed by guns.  So it is clear that the presence of guns MAY have an influence on the method a victims selects, but it appears not to have an influence on the actual number of victims.  If one is REALLY concerned about saving lives, they should be focusing on ways to turn people away from suicide, not debating gun control.

In point number two we state that guns are used in 52% of suicides in the US, but I can find no evidence to support the idea that removal of legal gun ownership would reduce the loss of life due to suicides.

So it has been stated that guns are typically used in mass murders.  Examination of this claim has found some truth to it.  If we limit our data set to just the last century, AND we remove all mass killings performed by governments, we find that guns are involved in 52% of the cases.  We have to remove that data of Government mass killing of their unarmed citizens because this would skew the numbers in to irrelevance.  While exact figures are hard to determine, estimates place the number of killings by Governments of their unarmed citizens at more then 100 Million since 1900.  Since these acts were committed by a Government, that would mean these killings would not technically be murder because murder is the illegal taking of life.  Since Government determines what is legal and illegal and thus can only commit legal acts by their own proclamation, these numbers are not included in the figures below.  However, I hope you pause and think about the staggering number of people those killed by their own Government.   Studies show that the number of victims on average when a gun is used is 4.92, just a little better then knives, blunt objects and bare hands with an average of 4.52 victims per incident. Guns effectiveness pales in comparison to fire with average of 6.82 victims per incident, but nothing beats explosives that deliver an average of 20.82 victims per incident. Examination of Mass Murders in the US during the last century shows no relationship between availability of guns of any type with the frequency and devastation of the mass murders.  Social scientist believe that the rise of spectacular mass murders and terrorist activity both in America and worldwide is linked to availability to mass media.  Non-government mass killings simply do not take place beyond the reach of mass media, while government mass killings typically do.  In both cases the motivation for the murder is not to kill the actual victims but to reach the larger audience available only via the media.

One of the most interesting observations I came across while researching this article was the way selected sets of same data was used by both sides of the argument on the issue of gun ownership to support their position. Truth is only true when all the data is presented, otherwise it is just deception.

Part II

As a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant, I can honestly tell you that a gun, any gun, can be very dangerous.  Despite that undeniable fact, I am still a strong supporter of the individual right to gun ownership. I am also support the right of Americans to free speech in both facts and opinions.  What is frustrating to me is the selective presentation of data.  In Part II of this article I continue to present both sides of the data to display the whole story.

Moving on to reviewing the third claim, we find that Guns are used in 52% of mass murder, while media is used 100% of the time.  We also find that historically fire and explosives are much more effective and easier to obtain and use.  Lastly my research has shown that the most deadly and spectacular mass killings were committed not by legal or illegal gun owners, but by legal governments upon its own citizens.  Once again if your goal is to protect people and save lives, the questions we should be most concerned with here is not the role of guns or any other actual weapon used, but the motivation behind the mass killings.

Points 4 and 5 discuss the amount of time it takes a legal gun owner to take possession of their purchase.  The data on these points seem to hold little relevance since 85% – 90 % of all criminal activity involving guns is not impacted by this waiting period.  In fact one studies show that the waiting periods have had ZERO impact on reducing criminal activities.  The only measurable impact has been to reduce the number of men 55 years and older using a gun to commit suicide, but has had ZERO impact on the overall suicide rate.  In other words thanks to the waiting period, less men over the age of 55 use guns to commit suicide, but just as many still kill themselves as before.  So the long term results of the waiting period shows that it has not saved any lives.

The last point to discuss is that Guns take innocent lives.  During the year of 2010 nearly 15,000 accidental shootings took place with about 600 of these resulting in a loss of life.  It is here that responsible gun owner can make a real impact.  Education and weapon security can significantly reduce the numbers of accidentally shootings each year.  At Installing a floor Safe we review a number of gun security systems that provide a perfect balance between the need to have rapid availability to a weapon and the security preventing access by unauthorized personal.  Take a look under the link for purchasing a safe and locate the page for purchasing Gun Safes to find out more.

In closing I would like to say that here at installing a floor safe we agree that any needless loss of life is a tragedy.  When it comes to the topic of Gun Control, most of the needless loss of life cannot be resolved by any removal or restriction of private gun ownership.  As we have shown it would not impact the suicide rate, just the method of choice.  It would not impact the homicide rate, again just the method of execution.  Mass Murders are not tied to the availability of weapons, but rather to the availability of media coverage.  The most deadly of perpetrators of mass killings (Governments) would not be impeded by the removal of legal gun ownership but instead enabled by it.  Waiting periods for gun purchases have had zero impact to saves lives.  The one thing that responsible gun owners can do to impact these numbers and reduce injuries and deaths due to guns is to obtain proper weapon security and promote gun safety education.

I hope that you have found this article to be information and I look forward to your comments below: