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The (Too Often) Untold Story: Armed Self-Defense and the Lives Saved Every Year by Gun Owners


gun store counter
Store owner Bren Brown, stands with a display of handguns at Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By Rob Morse

Lots of us own guns. Many of us carry those guns legally in public. That’s critically important because concealed carriers save a lot of lives. You knew most of that already, but there are a few you don’t hear about as often and they bear repeating.

Every day there are over 17 million of us legally carrying concealed in public. At least. Pay no attention to the “official” numbers or the number of permit holders. That doesn’t begin to tell the full story. And with the proliferation of constitutional carry states, the number of people carrying firearms every day continues to increase.

Millions of Americans carry seven days a week, with no days off, and we save thousands of lives a day.

You already know that using a firearm is serious business. The law says an innocent person can only defend themselves with lethal force if death or great bodily injury are imminent  and unavoidable.

In plain language that means someone might go to the hospital or the morgue unless you present your firearm to stop the bad guy…right now. If you didn’t know that legal justification, you probably assumed something very close to it.

The gun is a last resort, and we only threaten to take a life if an innocent person is about to lose theirs.

What you might not know is that one out of eleven adults alive in the US today have used a firearm in self-defense. You might not know that honest gun owners legally use their guns to save lives over 4500 times a day.

The great news is that they didn’t have to shoot 4500 people. Far from it. Most bad guys don’t want to be shot — strangely enough — and they tend to run away when armed defenders present a firearm.

In fact armed Americans discharge a gun in self-defense a little more than 800 times a day. Even then, bad guys are shot and killed only about once a day. That says that guns are almost always used to save lives rather than to take them.

That good news shouldn’t come as a surprise. That’s what we’d expect from our friends and neighbors who own guns.

What does it mean to save 4500 lives a day? Honest gun owners save more lives than are lost each day to heart disease, to cancer, and to all accidents…combined. Each year, gun owners save twice as many lives as are taken by chronic lower respiratory diseases (read: emphysema from smoking), by strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, flu and pneumonia, and by suicide.

That is an amazing number of lives saved by ordinary people like you. And it’s a story that those who want more restrictions on civilian firearm ownership never seem to tell.

The reason honest gun owners do so much good is that they are just like you. They’re just about everywhere and they frequently happen to be in the right place at the right time. They are also willing and able to stop a threat and save lives.

Concealed carry is common. The number of concealed carriers is comparable to the number of office and administrative support workers. There are more concealed carriers in public every day than there are healthcare, education, and library workers combined. On average, one out of every twelve adults is legally carrying in public every day.

Their guns may be hidden, but with that many armed citizens on the streets we would know — as gun prohibitionists claim — if lawful gun owners were a problem. In fact, they are a solution. Time after time they stop dangerous threats until the police arrive. That isn’t everything, but to 1.7 million of us a year, it was desperately important to be armed.

 

This article originally appeared at Slow Facts and is reprinted here with permission. 



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