Gun Violence: The Truth Behind the Myths A myth is a widely held but false belief or idea, a misrepresentation of the truth, or an exaggerated or idealized conception of something. When it comes to myths surrounding gun violence, there are plenty—so it’s time to address those myths with some gun violence facts. Here are four common myths that are widely believed and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: Gun Control Laws Take Away Our Second Amendment Rights Even as firearm technology has advanced, the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights remains valid and in force. It guarantees and preserves the individual’s right to possess a firearm and act in self-defense. This restricts heavy-handed restrictions on gun purchases and use. Truth: Nearly every gun regulation that is currently being discussed (including background checks, permits, and bans on certain automatic weapons) can pass into law without any disruption whatsoever to the second amendment. The biggest barrier to passing gun laws is politics, not the Constitution.
Myth #2: Mental Illness Is the Biggest Reason for Murders by Gun Twice as many gun-related deaths are due to suicide rather than homicide—and a history of mental illness is a strong risk factor for suicide by gun—but only a small portion of homicides are due to mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Truth: The vast majority of murders by gun are caused by impulsivity, anger, alcohol use, and trauma such as job loss or divorce. Even upstanding American citizens are human and can lose their temper, exercise poor judgment, misinterpret a situation, or have too many drinks. Gang members and drug traffickers are other major perpetrators of murders by gun. They fight amongst themselves for territory, fight against the police, and kill innocent citizens caught in the crossfire.
Myth #3: Armed Civilians Will Deter Shooters Supporters of concealed-carry handgun permits and right-to-carry laws often argue that these freedoms will lead to better public safety since someone who is carrying can prevent or take down an active shooter. Truth: Even as more people have been carrying guns, violent crime rates have continued to increase at rates that surpass predictions. Several dozen peer-reviewed studies have proven that gun ownership does not stop violence and, in a combined analysis of 15 different studies, it was “found that people who had access to firearms at home were nearly twice as likely to be murdered as people who did not.”
Myth #4: The U.S. Has the Highest Rate of Gun Violence It’s true, the United States stands out among highly-educated, prosperous countries for our high level of gun-related deaths, which is eight times higher than Canada and an incredible 27 times higher than Denmark. But it could be worse. Truth: On a worldwide scale, gun violence in America is far from the top of the list. In fact, we are ranked number 31. Unfortunately, that still puts us in a league with Thailand and Guinea-Bissau, two countries with far fewer economic and socioeconomic resources than the United States.
Conclusion No matter your personal stance on gun ownership and gun control laws, it’s important to do your research on both sides of the story. This isn’t only to form a more firm opinion of your own but to help you understand where the other side is coming from. Only together can we protect each other while protecting our rights as well. For further reading, check out some of our other blog posts and contact The Law Office of Bradley Corbett if you need advice regarding firearms and the law.
Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.