The anti-gun movement is compelling. How could you not be when your entire argument is based on saving human life? Their objective is noble; however, their reasoning has flaws. Guns don’t simply exist to allow crazed murderers to take innocent life – they are the great equalizers for a civil and law-abiding society.
Studies have shown that there is a large range in how many times weapons are used for self-defense in America every year. Estimates range from 500,000 to 3 million defensive uses per year, affirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of defensive uses is higher than one would likely suspect, the firearm is usually dispatched for defensive use by someone completely ordinary, and the majority of these occurrences receive little media attention.
In fact, the rate of occurrence is so high and so under-reported that The Heritage Foundation has launched a project to share some of the stories of Americans who use their weapons in a defensive manner each month. While readers may follow the link to read the rest of the November stories they shared, I wanted to share one particularly compelling story verbatim:
“Nov. 5, Genesee County, New York: A 76-year-old man used his shotgun to fend off an armed home intruder, potentially saving both his life and the life of his wife. The man responded to a knock on his door during the night, only to have the intruder force his way inside at gunpoint and tell the couple to give him all their money or else he would kill them. The intruder then ordered the couple to go into the basement, where the man thought the intruder was going to kill them. Instead, the man was able to grab his loaded shotgun and shoot the intruder in the hip, then held him at gunpoint for 15 minutes until police could arrive.”
Any loss of human life is horrific, hands down, full stop. I completely agree with the anti-gun lobby there. However, I would count myself naive if I believed that adding barriers to obtaining weapons would actually reduce the amount of gun violence we see in this country, and not simply reduce the number of law-abiding gun owners who rely on their weapons for defensive use every year.
Guns are the great equalizers of our society, the things that deter crime and allow everyone to stand on equal ground.
They are there for the elderly couple who could by no means fight off an intruder who breaks into their home.
They are there for the college student living by herself in a cheap apartment in the city.
They are there for the young mom who wants to protect her family.
And, they are there for every community and ethnicity in America that has ever felt marginalized or discriminated against. They are there to remind them that they are equals under the law, and that includes their right to defend themselves.
As Cliff Maloney, president of Young Americans for Liberty, once said, “An armed society is a polite society.” If society is to be equal and to treat one another lawfully, that equalization must begin with the right to self-defense.