Are you a responsible gun owner who appreciates your Second Amendment rights? Have you recently been accused of supporting mass murder by a Twitter troll who thinks semi-automatic weapons can shoot 4,671 rounds in half a second? Are you tired of being called Hitler at family reunions because you're a member of the NRA?
While arguably very little can dissuade the willfully ignorant, here are five very basic, indisputable facts about guns and public safety that might help you out.
About 0.003 percent of all U.S. guns are used in homicides each year.
According to the most recent data available from the CDC, there were 11,008 firearm-related homicide deaths in 2014. That’s a rate of about 3.5 people for every 100,000, or roughly 0.003 percent of the total U.S. population.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that one gun was used per homicide. Given that there are an estimated 310 million guns in circulation, this would mean that roughly 0.004 percent of all firearms in the United States were used in a homicide in 2014.
Broken down another way, that’s one gun out of every 28,161. If you adjust for the fact that a single gun is often used in more than one homicide, that number drops even lower.
You’re much more likely to fall to your death than get killed by gunfire.
Contrary to hyperbolized left-wing talking points, death by gun homicide isn’t a very common cause of death among Americans. In fact, firearm homicides didn’t even make the list of top 15 causes of death in the United States in 2014. CDC data shows you were about three times more likely to die from a fall than you were of being shot to death in 2014.
While gun ownership has doubled, gun homicides have dropped by half.
Additionally, the likelihood of you getting shot to death hasn’t increased with the rise in gun ownership – in fact, quite the opposite. While gun ownership in the United States rose by about 56 percent between 1993 and 2013, the firearm-related homicide rate dropped by half over the same time frame.
“Big scary guns” are used to kill people far less than ordinary handguns.
According to the most recent FBI data, 9,616 people were murdered with firearms in 2015. Of these, 6,477 – about two-thirds – were shot to death with a handgun.
Only 252 people (about 0.00008 percent of the entire U.S. population) were murdered with rifles, marking the lowest number in five years. In fact, 1,292 more people were stabbed to death than shot with rifles in 2015.
If you’re one of the tragically inept who erroneously blames an inanimate object rather than the human perpetrator for a crime, then based on that faulty logic, you’d be better off banning handguns than scary-looking AR-15s. Except that you can’t, given a slew of recent court decisions upholding that handgun ownership is a constitutional right under the Second Amendment for law-abiding citizens, and considering that the criminals doing all the killing wouldn't pay attention to your ban, anyway.
Fully automatic weapons have been illegal to the general public since 1986.
Does your anti-gun naysayer in your life want to ban military-grade assault weapons that can mow down a crowd of people with a single pull of the trigger? Good news – we already have!
It was called the Hughes Amendment, and it was added to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. The amendment largely outlawed the possession, sale and transfer of machine guns, save for those that were grandfathered in (and now must be registered). These extremely expensive weapons can only be legally obtained from a licensed dealer following an extensive background check and an arduous application process (which does not come with automatic approval).
Handy note: this amendment is also the same one that banned “sawed-off” shotguns.
Contrary to a common left-wing allegation, most knowledgable gun owners are more than happy to engage in a discussion about gun ownership and its impact on public safety. What they’re not O.K. with is having their constitutional rights threatened by a liberal mob that's mentality devoid of basic facts.
So now you have some.