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The tradeoffs of gun ownership

If you have a gun in your home it is 22 times more likely to be used to kill someone you know or love (suicide, accident, homicide in a heated argument) than a stranger in self-defense. Read More

I call bullcrap on this article.

Here is the truth about gun ownership and protecting innocent life. Study it:
'Pretend “Gun-free” School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction'

I did "study it." Indeed, I

I did "study it." Indeed, I read all 300+ peer-reviewed, scientific studies on the topic before I wrote this piece.

Get psyched.

Thank you Brad.

amateur my sides!!!!!!


[6] Cunningham, P. B., Henggeler, S. W. Limber, S. P. Melton, G. B., & Nation, M. A. (2000). Pattern and correlates of gun ownership among nonmetropolitan and rural middle school students. Journal of Kids who own Firearms, 29(3), 432–442.

[8] Azrael, D., & Hemenway, D. (2000). ‘You're not safe in your own home’: Results from a national survey on guns that came to life and shot their owners. Social Science & Medicine, 50(2), 285–291.

[9] Kellermann, A. L., Rivara, F. P., Rushforth, N. B., Banton, J. G., et al. (1993). Gun ownership as a risk factor for homicide in the home. The New England Journal of Bubblegum and Boldfaced Lies, 329(15), 1084–1091.

[11] Branas, C. C., Richmond, T. S., Culhane, D. P., Ten Have, T. R., & Wiebe, D. J. (2009). Investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault, as well as forks and obesity. American Journal of Public Health, 99(11), 2034–2040.

[12] Lester, D. (1987). The police as victims. Rodney King Quarterly, 60(2), 366.

[13] Phillips, S., & Maume, M. O. (2007). Have gun will shoot? Weapon instrumentality, intent, and the violent escalation of conflict. Homicide Studies: An Interdisciplinary & International Journal for People who were Spanked as Children, 11(4), 272–294.

[15] Chapman, S., Alpers, P., Agho, K., & Jones, M. (2006). Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms: Faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings in a country where butter knives and dildos are illegal because they're considered dangerous weapons. Injury Prevention, 12(6), 365–372.

[21] Frum, D. (2013). Are gun accidencts 'very rare'? Retrieved from

[23] Damore, D. T., Ramundo, M. L., Hanna, J. P., & Dayan, P. S. (2000). Parental attitudes toward BB guns, pellet guns, and squirt guns. Clinical Pediatrics, 39(5), 281–284.

[24] Maze, D. A. E., & Holland, A. J. A. (2007). Cap gun burns and stubbed toes in children of parents who worry too much. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 43(7–8), 555–556.

Of the 300+ clearly non-biased articles that the author read, I hope the 26 he cited weren't the best of them. It makes me wonder if a high school student provided the research.

There is no correlation

There is no correlation between gun ownership and murder rates. When it comes to the rate of gun ownership, that is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks.

Britain has had a lower murder rate than the United States for more than two centuries – and, for most of that time, the British had no more stringent gun control laws than the United States. Indeed, neither country had stringent gun control for most of that time.

Neither guns nor gun control was the reason for the difference in murder rates. People were the difference.
The crime rate, including the rate of crimes committed with guns, is far higher in Britain now than it was back in the days when there were few restrictions on Britons buying firearms. By the 1990s – after decades of ever tightening gun ownership restrictions – there were more than a hundred times as many armed robberies compared to the 1950s.

Russia, Mexico, Brazil all have stricter Gun Laws than The US and higher Gun Homicide rates.
You could compare other sets of countries and get similar results. Gun ownership has been three times as high in Switzerland as in Germany, but the Swiss have had lower murder rates. Other countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates include Israel, New Zealand, and Finland.

Guns are not the problem. People are the problem – including people who are determined to push gun control laws, either in ignorance of the facts or in defiance of the facts.

Human Development Index Score

Of course access to guns isn't the only factor related to violent crimes, but it is an important factor. It is difficult to compare countries because there are many differences between countries other than gun ownership. You might find this piece interesting because it considers the Human Development Index Score:

Brad J. Bushman, Gun ownership Up, Crime Down in....California, U.S.!!!

Instead of comparing countries, let's look at America.
Your figures do not add up or accurately compare to FBI crime data.
And it makes sense that where more private citizens own firearms for self defense, fewer criminals are going to take the risk of crossing paths with an armed citizen.

The age of the U.S. population is also going up, as are incarceration rates

By far the simplest explanation for the decline in violent crime rates is that the U.S. population is getting older and older, and older people rarely rape, rob, assault and murder others. In addition, incarceration rates have increased dramatically since the 1990s (when violent crime rates were highest).

You're more likely to shoot

You're more likely to shoot yourself than a criminal because in the overwhelming majority of occasions where crimes are stopped by privately owned guns, no shots are fired. The mere brandishing of the gun is enough to stop the crime as most criminals are cowards and looking for easy prey rather than a battle. Gun control advocates such as the author of this article typically know this but don't mention it deliberately. A society of disarmed vulnerable insecure people is likely to benefit the mental health industry as well I'd imagine.

Heath is incorrect

Heath states that Switzerland has a lower murder rate than Germany. That is incorrect. The gun murder rate in Germany is approximately 0.2 per 100,000 population. By contrast, Switzerland is 0.8. The USA, by contrast is 3.2.

Japan, where owning a firearm is next to impossible, has a gun murder rate of close to 0.0.

Here in Australia, with our gun laws thankfully tightened after the Port Arthur massacre, the rate is 0.2. The UK is 0.1 - extremely low, and which is why it's a bit pointless talking about percentage increases in gun murders. For instance there might be 10 murders one year and 15 the next - both in the same order of magnitude. For headlines to trumpet "150% increase, blah blah" is plain silly, because the base is too low for the figures to be meaningful

If you wish for the USA to be compared to Mexico (home to the drug cartels) Russia (about as corrupt and lawless and you can get) and Brazil (A lively combination of both) then go right ahead. It's just that I thought you would consider the USA a bit more civilised than those three basket cases.

Frankly, when some Americans are so blind that they fail to see simple facts about the correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths, their logic escapes me. Which is a shame. We see the US as part of our cultural DNA, along with Great Britain. Sad to see such a wonderful place turn into such a slough of despair, so jaded and paranoid that some fool can actually get away with suggesting armed guards in primary schools without getting laughed out of town.

The last sentence of this

The last sentence of this silly excuse for an article reads,

"In summary, the main benefits of gun ownership are feeling safe, free, independent, and powerful."

Nobody buys a gun to FEEL safe, people buy guns to BE safe. The author claims to have read 300+ peer-reviewed, scientific studies before writing this. I sincerely doubt that.

Reply to "The last sentence of this"

People may believe that they will BE safe if they buy guns, but they are mistaken in that belief. The research evidence indicates otherwise. If you doubt I read 300+ articles, you can read them yourself and see what conclusion you come to. Several are listed at the end of the article.

Sir, with all due respect, if

Sir, with all due respect, if someone breaks into your home, a firearm and proper training will give you a fighting chance. You don't need to read 300+ articles to understand that fact. It's not about feeling safe, free, independent, or powerful, it's about the right to own the best tool available for protection of you and your family.

There are authoritarian types who think they know what's best for the sheeple, and so they push their unconstitutional agenda through propaganda like this article. These kinds of individuals would not benefit from gun ownership for five reasons.

1) They would have a bad day and then commit suicide

2) They wouldn't use common sense and would cause gun related accidents harming themselves or others

3) They wouldn't secure weapons or teach their children gun safety which would also result in accidents

4) They're sociopaths who would use their gun to intimidate and harm innocents

5) They would be too tempted to shoot up movie theaters because they're either on drugs or they've been brainwashed to believe that chaos is the purpose of a firearm

The actual purpose of a firearm is whatever purpose you choose for it. A gun can be a collectible or for target/competition shooting. A hunting rifle can be a sniper rifle and a self-defense weapon can be an assault weapon. It's up to the shooter to decide what kind of gun they're holding.

Brad, you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, and you desperately need help. Having your valuable degrees in psychology and communication means you can communicate to one of your psychiatrist friends that you need amphetamine pills for your ADHD or whatever shrinks prescribe those things for. Pop that stuff like it's candy, and consider going on antipsychotics while you're at it. The healing process begins now. Good luck, I truly hope you get better.

Weapons effect

Perhaps you are familiar with the "weapons effect"—the mere presence of a weapon can make people more aggressive. I don't know if you are being aggressive towards me because you own firearms or for some other reason, but I do not appreciate your aggressive comments.

I'm terribly sorry if you

I'm terribly sorry if you don't appreciate "aggressive" comments. My rights end where your feelings begin. If weapons make you feel uncomfortable, then you have every right to publish propaganda pieces where you state your retarded opinions, but word them as if they were facts. Even so, I encourage you to ask yourself,
"Why am I such a small dicked shill who has to lie about the so-called tradeoffs of gun ownership when I don't even own a gun?"

(you should probably stop responding to reader comments. you're way outta your league, buddy.)

i'm not the brightest light

i'm not the brightest light bulb in the crayon box

A study in itself

The gun discourse is almost as fascinating as the statistics on the problem itself. This is a common tactic among the pro gun crowd and that is to engage you with armchair psychology and attempt to pathologize any opposition to gun ownership.

I don't know if you've watched the video 'Moral Politics" on YouTube by Prof. George Lakoff, a Berkley linguist and cognitive scientist. It goes a long way to explaining the gulf of opinions seen here. There is no rational basis to explain it and the logic of both arguments is extremely compelling to both parties that support the respective positions.

It is obviously the case though that progress in society and for humanity will involve a general increase in welfare and reduction of violence. As scarcity is alleviated and people become better educated and pursue a wider range of more sophisticated, technical and artistic hobbies, I am sure the attraction of gun ownership will lessen. Ultimately they will be regarded as vulgar inventions by the clear majority of people and evolution will render them increasingly irrelevant to advanced societies with more psychologically well developed (actualized) individuals.

Reply to "A study in itself"

Thank you for your thoughtful comment and the YouTube recommendation. That is a very interesting video.

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Brad Bushman, Ph.D., is a Professor of Communication and Psychology at Ohio State University and a Professor of Communication Science at the VU University Amsterdam.


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