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American Guns: Lies, Half-Truths And Facts, Part 1

Dan Morgan-Russell |
January 20, 2013 | 11:14 a.m. PST


Debunking the myth that guns don't kill people, people kill people. (Michael Saechang, Creative Commons)
Debunking the myth that guns don't kill people, people kill people. (Michael Saechang, Creative Commons)
In the wake of recent tragedies in places such as Aurora, Colorado, and Newton, Connecticut, both political parties and numerous special interest groups have become increasingly vocal about their stances toward tackling the growing problem of gun ownership in the United States.

While I applaud the efforts of both sides to win political points in the wake of tragedy rather than address obvious problems before they make national headlines, both sides have already made fallacious and outright untrue statements about the facts of the issue. I am here to correct those lies.

In the following short series, I will examine myths about American guns and respond with hard facts.

MYTH: Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Look, I understand what you're saying. Guns don’t act on their own. A person must aim a gun at someone else and pull the trigger. In that sense, yes, people kill people with guns, and guns themselves do not kill people.

However, where these arguments go awry is in assuming that these “madmen” can be readily identified and classified, and then firearms can be kept out of their hands. The problem is that predicting when someone is going to snap, or exactly why he or she is going to snap, is impossible. Thus, since we cannot actually control the American population in this way (and the amount of research necessary to do so would likely be unethical and illegal). That is the reason that most background checks fail in this country to prevent people who have the possibility to have murderous intentions or go on a rampage from buying guns.


The only legal and effective way to prevent these kinds of problems is to restrict the firearms themselves. The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that having a gun in your home makes you three times more likely to be the victim of a homicide and five times more likely to kill yourself. This study conclusively shows that gun owners are in far more danger than non-gun owners. First, a 300 percent increase in the risk of death by homicide illustrates the likelihood that someone in the house will “snap” and kill you. Whether it be a father, a mother or a child, if you own a gun, you are more likely to be the victim of a homicide in your own home.

Similarly, if you own a gun, you are more likely to take your own life than if you do not own a gun. Again, the background checks are not comprehensive enough to find that you aren’t the type of person to kill yourself. Even owning a gun increases your risk of just thinking about killing yourself. If background checks were comprehensive enough, then perhaps your risk of dying at your own hand wouldn’t be five times as likely as someone who does not own a gun.

The huge increase in the risk of death from just owning a gun is the reason that the U.S. government should take a stronger stance against gun ownership. Restricting the number of guns in the United States and the ready access to these weapons is the only way to keep the American people safe. Furthermore, enforcement of gun laws needs to increase as well to make sure that the laws designed to protect the American public are followed and tragedies do not occur.

Do people kill people with guns? Yes. Is human interaction the only way for a gun to kill a person? Yes. But gun ownership dramatically increases the risk of death by homicide and suicide, and rampant American gun ownership creates tragedy. We need to fix this.


Reach Contributor Dan Morgan-Russell here.


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Comments sense (not verified) on February 14, 2013 5:28 PM

Why do we need to make new laws to take away the rights of many to protect the ones that are breaking the laws? If the gun ban comes back into play again and it deems that people who have these ( assault rifles) criminals then that would be a huge mistake. There are over 50 million gun owners in this country and 98% of them who are law abiding people who love and believe in their 2nd amendment rights. That's a hole lot of criminals that we don't have enough correctional facility's for. Not to mention the largest standing army in the world!!!! The American citizens that own guns... Scary thought huh? I don't believe any law abiding gun owner has a problem with background checks, but don't take away their rights that most would die to protect. If we're going to do that outlaw cars, bats, axes, knives and alcohol again. All of these and thousand more kill more than what gun violence does each year.

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Gary the Gun Nut (not verified) on January 25, 2013 6:17 PM

My dear fellow Gun Nutters™.

Never forget what our good friends at the NRA tell us: “Guns don’t kill people,” they sez, “people kill people”. The truth o’ that is so plain fer anyone but a friggin skaredycat libtard ta see that it is almost too painful fer me ta have ta s’plain it all over again (but I will):

It’s akshallee the bullits, not the guns, that kill people (but let us not argue here over a teknakalitee).

And believe it or not, lotsa’ people out there can kill with their own bare hands! So just ask all yer friggin libtard frens (if’n y’all got any, that is), “What’s next? Y’all goin ta ban hands now, too?”

And to all ma good Gun Nutter™ friends out there, pleaze remember this as well:

In addition ta tellin us that we done got the rite ta keep our arms beared at all times, our good friends at the US Supreme Court also done told us that “corporations are people too“.

Therefer, takin this here last statemint tagetha with that o’ our good frens at the NRA, the only logikal conclusion thet y’all shouda come ta by now is thet gun manufacturers, which’n are coprayshuns ‘n therefer people, kill people…err…um...what I really mean ta say here is:

“They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers”!

(Well, akshallee ma fingers’ll prolly still be warm as, ya know, it does take a wile fer a freshlee kill’d body ta cool down ta room temp, but I’m sure y’all git ma drift here.)

Anyways, them’s there ma thoughts fer the day. Cheers!

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