While the Montana Shooting Sports Association desperately tries to pass a series of laws that would make gun possession legal by any person, in any setting, in any state of mind, they (and their supporters) often contend that guns make us safer. They raise the illusory, hero-fantasy of one determined gun owner preventing a tragedy on a college campus or a brave woman at home fending off an attacker as “evidence” that more people with more guns would make ours a safer society.
And it’s bunk.
David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, just conducted a study that demonstrates the opposite. Using the same methodology of the climate change study which revealed an overwhelming majority of scientists writing in peer-reviewed journals believe in human-caused climate change, Hemenway reviewed over 1,000 peer-reviewed articles about the relationship between gun ownership and public safety. His findings?
- 64% of researchers believe that gun ownership makes a home more dangerous.
- 71% agree that strong gun laws reduce homicide.
- 73% disagree that guns are used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime.
Gun advocates construct narratives that they substitute for evidence, and they’re narratives that work. People would like to believe that they’d fight back in a crisis situation, but the truth is that more guns make our society less safe. When the NRA has to lobby Congress to pass bills preventing federal research about gun violence, it should tell you everything you need to know: these gun advocates know the evidence isn’t on their side.
The next time Gary Marbut presumes to lecture a legislative committee about gun safety, I’d love to see someone confront him with the truth: despite his anecdotes, despite his pseudo-science, and despite his three-person organization, he’s wrong about guns and public safety. And good for some of the members of the Legislature and the Governor who’ve stood up against him and his posturing.