The truth about guns is they save far more lives than they take.

According to the Fall 1995 issue of The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves an average of 2.5 million times per year, and only in less than 8 percent of these occurrences will citizens actually need to fire their guns, because most criminals will flee at the sight of a firearm.

Of the 2.5 million annual instances of self-defense, 200,000 are cases of women defending themselves from sexual abuse. In contrast, accidental deaths, suicides, and homicides involving guns number, on average, less than 40,000 every year. This means that American citizens usually employ guns to defend themselves over 60 percent more times yearly than they do to kill, intentionally or otherwise.

According to the August 28, 1996, issue of The Wall Street Journal, states with looser gun control laws experience less crime than states with tougher laws. For example, in states that had begun to permit concealed weapons in the early 90s, the murder rates fell by an average of 8.5 percent, the rape rates by 5 percent, the aggravated assault rates by 7 percent, and the robbery rates by 3 percent. Extrapolating from these data, if states that forbade concealed weapons instead allowed them, 1,570 murders, 4,177 rapes, 60,000 aggravated assaults, and 11,000 robberies annually would not have taken place.

The story of Australia demonstrates what could happen in the United States if the American government were to ban guns.

After a nut conducted a particularly brutal massacre in the mid-90s, Australia enacted laws disallowing personal firearms. By the end of 1997, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, crime had increased. The homicide rate rose by 3.2 percent, the assault rate by 8.6 percent, the armed robbery rate by 44 percent, the unarmed robbery rate by 21 percent, the unlawful entry rate by 3.9 percent, and the car theft rate by 6.1 percent. Even supposing that Australias new gun laws did not directly cause the increase in crime, the laws certainly did nothing to help matters.

Because guns are not the forces for evil the media and the government claim they are, no reason exists to forbid or to constrict the right to bear arms for law-abiding American citizens. Restrictions of freedom are only necessary and proper when their design is to prevent individuals from harming other people, which outlawing guns would not accomplish. Indeed, all the criminalization of guns would do is leave the average American defenseless against murderers and thieves who would retain their own guns, in natural contrivance of the law.

Rather than inhibiting freedom, the United States should err on the side of liberty, as per the Constitution, and allow its citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights as they have over the first 200 years of American history. (Contrary to the notion that the Second Amendment does not grant individuals the right to bear arms, the Supreme Court ruled in its 1990 decision U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez that the Second Amendment applies to persons who are a part of a national community.) As Thomas Jefferson, one of the most intelligent Founding Fathers, said, I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

Remember, we’re all in this together,

Derek Paulson