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I recently wrote a post about a petition written to Target that called on the company to stop allowing customers to carry guns while shopping in their stores, to which Target responded positively. Target has joined a growing list of companies in banning customers from carrying guns while shopping. As a gun control advocate, I applaud these stores and ask that a federal law be passed to make it illegal to carry guns in any store or other public place.
But there are many who disagree quite strongly with my views, and write comments saying so in responses to posts I write on gun control. Here’s a bit of what one such commenter said about my Target post (my emphasis added):
Crime happens. Crime happens in places we should feel safe. Crime happens when people are known to carry money. Ignoring the fact that crime happens is not rational. Not taking responsibility for your own safety is immature in my opinion. People who carry firearms are taking responsibility for their own safety.
This commenter apparently also believes that carrying a gun makes you more safe, saying in response to Target’s ban of customer firearms:
…they prefer their customers to be unarmed and therefore a better target (pun intended) for criminals?
I’d like to address both comments as they are often used by the pro-gun community as rebuttals against the need for tougher gun control laws. The fact is that the assertion that guns will keep you safe has already been proven false by research. MotherJones.com reported last year that the American Journal of Public Health said:
A Philadelphia study found that the odds of an assault victim being shot were 4.5 times greater if he carried a gun. His odds of being killed were 4.2 times greater.
MotherJones.com also cited studies in which it was found that:
Owning a gun has been linked to higher risks of homicide, suicide, and accidental death by gun. For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a home.
In one experiment, one third of 8-to-12-year-old boys who found a handgun pulled the trigger.
A woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than 7 times if he has access to a gun.
People who believe that institutions such as schools should hire armed guards to protect people are using the same faulty logic. Statistics actually show that more guns equal more crime, as reported by MotherJones.com:
The states with the highest gun ownership rates have a gun murder rate 114% higher than those with the lowest gun ownership rates (Harvard School of Public Health). Also, gun death rates tend to be higher in states with higher rates of gun ownership.
Gun death rates are generally lower in states with restrictions such as assault-weapons bans or safe-storage requirements (TheAtlantic.com).
A recent study looking at 30 years of homicide data in all 50 states found that for every one percent increase in a state’s gun ownership rate, there is a nearly one percent increase in its firearm homicide rate (American Journal of Public Health).
Finally, the many stories of tragedy, loss, and preventable deaths, especially those of children, must surely be enough to convince any pro-gun advocate that any possible benefit guns may have just aren’t worth the harm they cause. Stories like this come to mind (from Reuters.com, Jul 12, 2014):
The teenage survivor of a shooting attack in suburban Houston in which her parents and four siblings were killed told a memorial event on Saturday her family was “in a much better place” and that she was making a full recovery from her injuries.
Cassidy Stay, 15, spoke to a large gathering outside an elementary school three days after the shootings at her home. Police said Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, entered the house posing as a delivery man and searching for his former wife, the sister of Cassidy’s mother. He then shot members of the family, authorities said.
Cassidy was credited by authorities with saving lives by calling the 911 emergency line and warning police the gunman was on his way to another house where relatives lived.
For more information on guns and their impact on society, please see my “Gun Violence” category (on the far left side of the home page). I’m in the process of collecting and sharing statistics and news stories about gun violence in America. For more information on guns and their impact on society, please see my “Gun Violence” category (on the far left side of the home page of my blog http://illuminatebytanya.wordpress.com/). You may also go to Americans For Responsible Solutions and Everytown.org.
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Editor’s note: Tanya is a guest contributor for The Secular Jurist, and hopefully, she’ll be a regular author on this blog very soon. As you can see by this professionally written editorial, her journalistic skills are outstanding. Visit her personal blog at: http://illuminatebytanya.wordpress.com/