Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

New Gallup poll about gun ownership

According to this release:
But do guns make you safer? “Americans are divided on the topic,” Gallup reports, with 46% saying that having a gun in the home makes it a more dangerous place to be, and 42% saying guns make households safer.
I just can't help but wonder if the people Gallup asked about this had read any statistics on crime rates in homes of gun owners vs. those of non-gun owners, or gun vs. non-gun suicide rates, rates of gun owners being shot by their own guns, or anything even remotely related to "Does having a gun in your home make you safer?" I'm betting not.

One of the most telling statistics is one that compares violent burglary ("hot", or home invasion, where the house is robbed with the residents at home) in England and the U.S. In England, where all private firearm ownership is illegal, the percentage of burglaries that are residents-present home invasions is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50%, where in the US, the percentage is just over 10%. Obviously we can't reasonably conclude that only one factor (possible presence of firearms) is the sole reason for the difference, but it should certainly make people think. It seems that common sense alone dictates that the mere possibility of the presence of firearms in any given house in any given neighborhood would at least contribute to a lower crime rate. If two identical adjoining neighborhoods are across a city border from each other, and City A outlaws firearms completely while City B allows anyone to own any firearm they desire, which neighborhood do you think will get robbed more often?

My view is that the availability and legality of guns contributes to making every house safer - even the ones with no guns in them - simply because criminals don't know which houses have armed residents and which don't.


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