Gun violence has been in the news lately, which has some Americans advocating British-style gun laws. The UK bans handguns, and in 2018 its per capita homicide rate was only 1.2 per 100,000 people. But while it’s true that Brits commit relatively few murders, there’s another group that commits even fewer. Who are they?
Over 1.3 million people in Texas are licensed to carry a firearm, and the state publishes a report on the crimes they commit. In 2018, one was convicted of murder and another three were convicted of manslaughter. If they formed their own country, its murder rate would be 0.29 per one hundred thousand residents.
In other words, Britain’s homicide rate would drop by more than three quarters if it were populated by nothing but Texans with concealed handgun permits. Texas isn’t unique: across the country, it’s rare for people who carry guns legally to commit crimes. They do stop them, however.
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Sheriff’s Deputy Dylan Dorris discovered that when he was rescued by an armed motorist. Dorris was overpowered during a traffic stop, and the officer says he’s “alive today” because Marine Corps veteran Scott Perkins intervened. You can find many similar cases of individuals defending themselves and others.
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While the stats show most people who carry are male, women actually have the most to gain from a concealed handgun. Unlike other weapons, the efficacy of a firearm depends on its user’s skill–not her size and strength. That’s why an armed Minnesota woman was able to fend off a gang of men. It’s the same reason a 91 year-old man in Michigan could defend himself in a drugstore parking lot.
And there’s an additional benefit: the presence of guns creates a deterrent. In a survey of convicts funded by the Department of Justice, 81 percent agreed, “A smart criminal always tries to find out if his potential victim is armed.” Seventy four percent concurred that, “One reason burglars avoid houses when people are home is they fear being shot.”
It’s true that the United States has a problem with violent crime, and that problem has many components. Law abiding gun owners aren’t one of them though. They’re part of the answer.