By: Teresa Mull
David Frum, columnist at The Atlantic, has any easy solution to solve gun crime in America: simply convince gun owners to “give up” their firearms.
How does Frum propose doing this?
“…[B]y convincing ordinary, ‘responsible’ handgun owners that their weapons make them, their families, and those around them less safe.”
In the beginning of Frum’s piece, the author recalls the panic-buying people did at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak and notes Americans bought “more than 23 million firearms in 2020, up 65 percent from 2019,” and in January 2021, “Americans bought 4.3 million guns, a monthly record.”
Frum then notes, “Last year was also a high-water mark for gun violence,” adding a red herring about fewer people being shot by mass shooters when we were forced to isolate.
Basically, Frum then casts doubt that anyone with a gun can really be trusted to be a responsible gun owner (labeling us “supposedly ‘responsible’ and ‘law-abiding’”) and says there is no real difference between violent criminals who use their guns for sadistic acts and the millions of Americans who use firearms for self-defense, hunting, collection, and myriad other non-violent purposes.
Drawing a bright line between the supposedly vast majority of ‘responsible,’ ‘law abiding’ gun owners and those shadowy others who cause all the trouble is a prudent approach for politicians, but it obscures the true nature of the problem. We need to stop deceiving ourselves about the importance of this distinction.
Frum takes issue with the fact that most people are not buying weapons for hunting or for a private militia (would Frum be happier if Americans were stockpiling weapons to overthrow the government?!), but for self-defense.
“In virtually every way that can be measured,” he claims, “owning a firearm makes the owner, the owner’s family, and the people around them less safe. The hard-core gun owner will never accept this truth. But the 36 percent in the middle—they may be open to it, if they can be helped to perceive it.”
According to Frum, “Estimates of defensive gun use vary wildly” because “They rely heavily on self-reporting by gun owners themselves, with a huge risk of self-flattering bias.”
Could it be, as researchers and the FBI itself, which in a recent report, THANKED gun-toting civilians, that defensive gun use is not often reported because it doesn’t need to be? And police reports often involved hours of paperwork and the perception that the justice system is not to be trusted and that calling the cops will risk them being implicated in a crime they didn’t commit.
Frum has his work cut out for him. As he mentioned, millions of Americans, especially people who have never owned a gun before, realized during the past year how invaluable a firearm is in defending oneself, one’s loved ones, and property.
Frum also may have missed an inconvenient study that recently showed record gun sales did not cause a spike in crime.
“Through July of last year, there was no clear association between the increase in firearm purchases and the increase in most interpersonal gun violence at the state level, according to a new study published in Injury Epidemiology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal,” reports the Guardian.
According to the study (which you can read here), there were “4.3 million excess firearm purchases nationally” from March through July 2020, with “excess” meaning above normal.
Rather than allege “more guns, more crime,” the study’s author told the Guardian, “We need to be looking at other factors, like job loss, economic change, the closure of schools and community organizations and nonprofits, and civil unrest.”
Frum may have also missed a little something called the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment, which states law-abiding Americans have the right to keep and bear arms, regardless of what a liberal columnist thinks.
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.