By: Ashleigh Meyer

As multitudes of politicians, pundits, and talking heads demand gun control, they cite endless stats, often misrepresented, about the damage and destruction caused by guns. Noticeably absent from their arguments, however, is the number of lives saved by guns and gun ownership every year.

It is very difficult to calculate how many lives are saved by guns. One reason being that proving something didn’t happen is quite a challenge. Additionally, studies that defend gun ownership are often silenced and censored. Still, it happens every day; gun-owning citizens protect their families and the lives of others by legally and responsibly possessing a gun and using it when necessary. It won’t make headlines, so you’ll have to Google it. But the truth is out there.

A 2015 study conducted by Harvard professors of criminology found that nations with strict laws against gun ownership and fewer guns among the citizenry have substantially higher murder rates than nations where gun ownership is somewhat common. In fact, the nine European countries with the lowest rate of gun ownership have a combined murder rate 3x higher than that of the nine countries with the highest rate of gun ownership.

Furthermore, in 2012, after the tragic Sandy Hook massacre, Obama called upon the CDC to review existing studies into gun crime and prevention. The CDC also examined cases of defensive gun use, or guns used by victims of crime. Their findings? The CDC stated:

“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies … Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”

It stands to reason, doesn’t it? The work of violent criminals becomes a lot more dangerous when there is a chance their victim could be armed. Most of the time, crime victims who brandish a firearm never even have to fire that gun. The presence of the weapon is, by itself, a deterrent.

What’s even more important than any statistic or study that could ever be conducted is this simple fact: self-defense is a right entitled to every person on the planet, and in America, that right is ensured by our Constitution. Courts have ruled over and over that the Second Amendment applies directly to the civilian ownership of guns. The government doesn’t seem to have a problem with its own ownership of guns.

No rational person (though there seem to be few left) is calling for the disarming of our military. I suppose that is because they see it as a necessary means of protection against threats, both foreign and domestic. The right of the individual to protect themselves from threats, whether it be the work of a criminal, or a tyrannical government, is a cornerstone of the American philosophy, and it shall not be infringed.

Ashleigh Meyer is a professional writer and conservative political analyst from rural Virginia.