Guns in the Home Don’t Make Us Safer
Devin Hughes, founder of GVPedia
Having a firearm in your home doubles the risk that you or a family member will die of homicide and triples the risk of suicide, yet 60% of Americans believe having a gun makes them safer. GVPedia, based in Oklahoma, helps advocates and survivors debunk myths like this. Our mission is to provide advocates and survivors with easy access to facts and data so that they can fight for evidence-based policies that reduce gun violence. To learn more or access resources to help in your work, sign up for our newsletter at www.GVPedia.org.
To get you started, let’s talk about the four fundamental pillars of the widespread myth that guns make you safer:
1) Misinformation about defensive gun use
Defensive gun use is actually rare. There are about 2,000 verified defensive gun uses per year compared to 40,000 gun deaths annually.
2) Misbelief that carrying guns in public reduces crime
In 2005, the National Research Council investigated all existing research on concealed carry laws and came to the conclusion that Right-to-Carry laws, which allow people to carry a firearm in public, did not correlate to a reduction in crime. Research conducted since that review has found that right-to-carry laws actually increase violent crime, particularly aggravated assaults.
3) Confusion about Gun Free Zones
A study by Louis Klarevas, which looked at public high-fatality shootings from 1966 to 2015 in which 6 or more people were killed, found that 84% of those shootings occurred in areas where people were allowed to carry firearms. The evidence is clear that shooters do not target gun free zones.
4) Misguided belief that gun laws don’t work
When Connecticut passed its Permit to Purchase law in 1995, homicides fell by more than 40% over the next decade. In contrast, when Missouri repealed its Permit to Purchase law in 2007, its homicide rate increased by 14% in the following 5 years. Permit-to-Purchase laws, as well as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, strict Child Access Prevention laws, well-organized community programs, and other policies have substantial academic evidence supporting their life-saving potential.
When these 4 pillars are clarified, it’s easy to see that guns don’t make you safer and it is simply misinformation making people believe they do. Debunking this myth through facts and data is critical to changing America’s views on firearms and strengthening support for life saving policies.
We hope our myth-busting will be helpful for you down the road.
-Devin Hughes is the founder of GVPedia and executive director of Oklahoma Gun Sense, both members of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, of which Colorado Ceasefire is also an active member.