In the wake of another school shooting in Santa Clarita on Nov. 14 and the number of deaths continuing to climb, I wanted to talk about some of the misconceptions and facts regarding guns in society today. When making any gun legislation such as gun control or any new safety measures in our schools, we need to not only look at the facts, but cannot act upon emotions alone.
Fact #1: Most gun deaths are committed by handguns, not rifles or “military style” assault weapons, according to the Pew Research Center.
Handguns were involved in the majority of gun killings and non-negligent manslaughters in the U.S. in 2017 for which data is available, according to the FBI and Pew Research Center. Rifles — the category that includes many guns that are sometimes referred to as “assault weapons” — were involved in 4%.
The fear mongering associated with these “assault rifles” is unnecessary when they commit so few deaths in this country.
Fact #2: Most gun deaths in this country are suicides, not murder.
According to the Pew Research Center, six in 10 gun-related deaths were suicides while 37% were murders in the U.S. in 2017, according to the CDC and Pew Research Center.
Many violent gun rate data is misleading as so many of them account for suicides and not mass shootings or murders. Thus, the actual gun related deaths by mass shooting or murder is actually much lower.
Fact #3: A semi-automatic gun is not automatic at all!
When most media outlets report mass shootings, they tend to characterize the weapon as a semi-automatic gun. This is actually quite misleading as the guns are not “automatic” like a machine gun, but means that for every pull of the trigger, one bullet comes out.
The Webster’s dictionary defines it as “requiring release and another pressure of the trigger for each successive shot.”
Guns such as the AR-15, pistols, and other guns used in notorious school shootings and mass shootings were semi-automatic, not fully automatic, military grade, “assault rifles.”
Fact #4: Fully automatic guns are illegal in the United States.
The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 banned federally all automatic weapons including machine guns. Any of the recent shootings never used any fully automatic weapons.
Fact #5: No gun law could’ve stopped most of these recent shootings.
According to CNN, they cite the Dayton and El Paso shootings as those that couldn’t have been prevented with any existing laws. ABC admits the same for school shootings like Columbine. Some were purchased legally with no criminal history so they would’ve passed the background check while some used stolen guns from parents or used guns obtained illegally.
Fact #6: More gun crimes are committed with guns obtained illegally than legal, law abiding citizens.
According to Politifact, they fact checked a statement made by a Republican Congressman about illegal guns how more crime is committed with them. Through data collection available, Politifact states that “experts say most gun crime is likely committed by those who illegally possess guns… therefore we rate it mostly true.”
Fact #7: Guns save more lives and prevent more crime than they do vice versa.
According to the Foundation for Economic Education, guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year or 6,849 each day. Also, 40% of convicted felons said they avoided committing crimes when they knew the potential victim was armed, according to the Foundation for Economic Education.
These types of figures shows that guns do more good than harm in many instances.
These facts are obtainable with a quick search online and are provided here to help support the idea that maybe guns are actually not the main issue. Maybe there is more of a social, mental, and environmental cause to these horrific shootings.
Guns have been available and roaming for centuries, but we have not seen such atrocities in our schools, communities, and our cities so often. During another week of mourning and prayers to the victims of the latest school shooting, we should think about what can be done to prevent another one.