Guns can be source of safety, recreation

By Gus Bode

Kansas State Collegian (Kansas State U.)

(U-WIRE) MANHATTAN, Kan. – I am not going to base my argument against gun control on the Second Amendment but rather on the effect legal civilian ownership of firearms has on our society.

Virtually everyone knows someone who hunts. I myself shoot recreationally at a pistol range. Shooting, for me, is a form of stress relief. It requires discipline, focus and, at the same time, relaxation.


However, recreational shooting is about as significant an argument to the pro-gun controllers as a woman’s right to control her body is to the pro-lifers.

The primary arguments from the control side are that civilian-owned firearms promote crime and kill kids.

One pro-gun argument is that privately owned firearms are an effective means of self-defense and a deterrent to crime and that they are not a significant cause of child death.

Though it is true that guns play a part in the accidental deaths of children and that in past years firearms have played a role in schoolyard massacres, the National Safety Council reported that in 2000 more children under age 15 died by accidental drowning (800, with 350 between 5 and 14) than by accidental discharge of a firearm (80).

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for the seven-year period of July 1, 1992 to June 30, 1999, 358 people died a violent death at school, 255 between 5 and 19 years old.

Again, more children die in one year by drowning than in seven years of all school violence, not just shootings. Accidental firearm-related deaths of children and schoolyard murders, though they get national attention, are extremely rare and not a significant cause of death.

Furthermore, guns do not make children into murderers. A 1994 Justice Department study titled “Urban Delinquency and Substance Abuse” found that children who were given a firearm by a parent were less likely to be involved in street crime, gun crime and drug use than children who did not have a gun or acquired one illegally.


Plainly, we cannot blame the gun for the violent acts of our nation’s youth, but what of guns and violent crime? Contrary to popular liberal thought, firearms actually reduce violent crime.

Before Florida passed its concealed carry laws in 1987, the murder rate was 40 percent greater than the national average. After the law was passed, the murder rate in Florida dropped to near the national average.

Criminals are opportunists and less willing to approach a victim that could be armed. By granting its citizens the right to carry a firearm, the state of Florida actually reduced its murder rate and made its citizens safer.

Furthermore, guns are not just a deterrent but also an effective means of self-defense.

According to the 1995 study “Armed Resistance to Crime:The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,” each year guns are used between two and 2.5 million times to fend off an aggressor, often without the gun having been fired.

By contrast, the National Crime Victimization Survey found guns were used in 847,652 violent crime incidents in 1992, the highest crime rate prior to the 1995 survey.

Plainly, guns do more good than bad, and where the law allows concealed carrying, guns reduce crime.

In our daily lives, firearms are not a significant cause of death among children.

More kids die by drowning than by accidental misuse of a firearm, and compared to the number of times each year a gun is used to defend oneself the number of lives saved by possession and use of a firearm more than justifies the handful of lives lost in accidents.

By owning firearms we decrease our likelihood of being a victim and grant ourselves the means to defend our families.