Arguments For Gun Control
Arguments For Gun Control
Paul Helmke (President, The Brady Campaign) gives expert video advice on: What are some statistics that support gun control?; What are reputable sources for gun facts?; Does home invasion and assault increase in gun restricted areas? and more...
What are some statistics that support gun control?
The United States has one of the highest levels of gun violence of any country in the world. We're similar to other industrialized countries when we look at other levels of violence -- rapes, burglaries, people killed by fights or knifings or things like that. But when we look at the level of gun violence in this country we're significantly worse and significantly more violent than any other country in the world. Every day in this country 32 people are murdered by guns. Every day in this country about 80 people die from guns. But then there's another 40 or so suicides and a couple accidents every day. That level of violence from guns is something that the rest of the world doesn't see and should be unacceptable here. Gun restrictions can help. Countries that have restricted access to guns, that have restricted the types of guns that they go out, they have significantly lower levels of violence than we do. Even countries that are highly industrialized, even countries that have sort of the Western frontier tradition like we do. But in this country because we make guns so easily available to anybody who wants them, we have a higher level of gun violence. When other countries have done things, it's worked. When we as a country have done things, like Brady background checks, it's made it harder for people get guns. But bottom line, as the United States we make it very easy for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons quickly.
What are reputable sources for gun facts?
The best sources that I like to look at are from the Centers for Disease Control based in Atlanta, the FBI crime statistics and violence statistics that the FBI and the Justice Department provide. Academic studies, in peer reviewed journals, where academics have done research and developed statistics and had it subject to academic reviews. Those are the sources of statistics in studies that make sense to me.
Does home invasion and assault increase in gun restricted areas?
I don't believe that that's the case. And the studies that I've seen that argue that don't make any sense either. Actually, the studies that are reliable show that more guns ends up equaling more violence. Homes with more guns end up with more gun violence. Communities with more guns have more violence. States with more guns have more violence. Countries with more guns have more violence. A gun in the home increases the chances that a gun is going to be used against a family member 22 times. It's something that we don't always think about all the implications of a gun in the home. It can be stolen and used against you, it can be grabbed by the bad guy and used against you, it can be found by the child and used accidentally, it can be used by the troubled teenager as part of a suicide, it can be used by a spouse in a domestic dispute. Guns in the home end up causing more violence and not less violence. Burglars don't want to go to a home with a gun, but they don't want to go to a home with a person in it, they don't want to go to a home with a dog in it, they don't want to go to a home with a security system in it, burglars want to get in and get out. And having a gun in the home isn't any more of a deterrent than an alarm system, but having a gun in the home means that that gun is more likely to be used against the owner or a family member than against a bad guy.
What is your response to 'guns don't kill people, people do'?
Obviously, its people using guns that kill people, and its any one of us - if we're drunk, if we're angry, if we're upset, if its road-rage - can use a gun improperly. Its hard to distinguish between a world of good guys and bad guys. Having guns in the mix means that we're more likely to see violence, because a gun can kill people; more quickly, it can kill people more effectively, it causes a lot more damage than anything else that we've got around us. Other countries have the same levels of; violence, and the same levels of anger, and the same levels of spouse abuse, that we do. But in other countries where there is less guns, you see less spouses being killed, less neighbors being killed, less kids committing suicide, because they don't have the level of gun-ownership, and the number of guns that we've got.
What is a reputable source for firearm death statistics?
That's from the Center of Disease Control, CDC in Atlanta, from their national fatalities report.