Don't Tell the Left: More Guns Means Fewer Homicides

Another mass shooting this week.  Prayers and emotion from President Trump.  Attempts to understand means and motives by those trying to make sense of such tragedy and loss.  And as predictable as sunrise and sunset, politicization of tragedy by the left.

CNN led the way, with Jeff Zeleny noting that "a lot of these country music supporters are likely Trump supporters."  Really?  Did CNN survey the concert audience?  Is love of country music a requirement for Club GOP?

Disgraced and fired CBS vice president Hayley Geftman-Gold chimed in with "I'm actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters."  After CBS surprisingly and swiftly fired her, she apologized, saying about her comments, "Nor do they reflect my actual beliefs."  Yet her commentary did reflect her gut instinct, her initial response to the shooting – in other words, her "actual beliefs."

And in a losing attempt to remain relevant, two-time failed presidential candidate Hillary "What Happened" Clinton tried to tie the Las Vegas shooting to the NRA.  "Our grief isn't enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again."

As if the NRA had arranged or desired such a shooting massacre.  The NRA promotes firearm education and safety, not murder – but apparently not in Mrs. Clinton's mind.  If the NRA had been abolished last year, how would that have prevented this week's shooting?  Or the daily carnage in Chicago?  Did the NRA provide the shooter's weapons cache?  Did it help him organize his massacre?  The NRA will be the first to condemn this shooting.  Yet in Mrs. Clinton's mind, the NRA is the problem.

Democrat members of Congress take it farther.  Rep. Jim Himes said of Congress, "There is blood on our hands ... until we face down the gun lobby."  By that logic, Congress has plenty of blood on its hands.  Members of Congress take far more money from Big Pharma than the gun lobby.  So do they have blood on their hands from drug overdoses and opioid addiction? What about the quarter of a million deaths due to medical errors?  Any condemnation of the hospital and medical insurance lobbies that give generously to members of Congress?

Back to guns.  Who owns guns?  Not surprisingly, gun owners are more likely Republican than Democrat.  Of those who personally own a gun, 41 percent are Republican, 16 percent Democrat, and 26 percent independent, according to a Pew Research Center Study.  Hardly a landslide.

For comparison, among electric car owners, 86 percent are Democrats, while only 14 percent are Republican – much more of disparity than with guns.  Suppose Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had chosen a Tesla rather than a rifle as his murder weapon, driving the Tesla at high speed into a hip-hop concert crowd in similar fashion to some recent terrorist attacks in Europe.  Would that justify comments about Democrats as were made about Republicans by CNN or CBS?  Doubtful.

This correlation between gun ownership or electric car preference and political affiliation is not likely to surprise anyone.  What about a different correlation – specifically, guns per person and the gun homicide rate?

That sounds like a no-brainer.  More guns, more murders.  That's what we hear constantly from the media, Democrats, late-night comedians, and other leftists.  Gun control advocates are always making this argument.  Seems logical.  But is it true?

A chart from the American Enterprise Institute tells a different story.  Beginning in 1994 and moving through 2014, as guns per person increased, the gun homicide rate decreased.  The graphs are inversely proportional, a virtual mirror-image of each other.  Gun ownership increases by 50 percent, and homicides decrease by 50 percent.  How can that be?  I thought guns were the problem.

Another way to look at this is the correlation between the number of privately owned firearms and the homicide rate.  Again, inversely proportional.  More guns, fewer murders.  Huh?  That's not what I hear on the evening news or cable news gab-fests.

How can this be?  More guns, especially in the hands of racist, sexist, homophobic, Christian, country music-loving, Trump-supporting Republicans, means open season on anyone and everyone who doesn't share this white privilege.  At least that's what CNN and MSNBC say.

You mean guns don't just shoot on their own?  That it takes a human being holding the gun to use it?  And these are for sport or self-defense, as the vast majority of legal gun owners do, or for murder and mayhem, as criminals and deranged individuals do.

Another inconvenient fact is that most gun deaths are suicides – not mass shootings like what we saw this week in Las Vegas.

It may come as a surprise to liberals that most legal gun-owners are law-abiding, not inclined toward murder or mass shootings.  Sport and self-defense are the primary reasons people own guns.  Exceptions always exist.  Stephen Paddock was a legal gun owner, as was Bernie Sanders-supporter James Hodgkinson, who went on a shooting spree a few months ago at a Republican congressional baseball practice session.

Illegal gun owners, meaning criminals, are a different matter.  These ones shoot not at paper targets or clay pigeons, but instead at humans, pulling the trigger for revenge or for a new pair of Nikes.  For confirmation of the above AEI graphs, look at Chicago, Detroit, and Baltimore – big cities with ultra-strict gun control laws, meaning fewer legal guns, along with sky-high homicide rates, just as the graphs demonstrated.  Fewer guns, more murders.  More guns, fewer murders.

How many mass shootings occur in police stations?  Or at gun clubs?

Why are we not hearing about Chicago from Jimmy Kimmel and other virtue-signaling entertainers?  Is the NRA somehow responsible for as many gun homicides in a typical month in Chicago as the Vegas massacre?  Will anyone ask Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama about this and whether it's the NRA or liberal Democrat governments and policies causing death and destruction in their home cities?

Not only in the U.S. is this the case, but also in other countries.  Research from the Fraser Institute showed that "[r]estrictive firearm legislation has failed to reduce violent crime in Australia, Canada, or Great Britain."  Instead, due to an ever growing number of U.S. states allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns for self-defense, "[o]nly the United States has witnessed such a dramatic drop in criminal violence over the past decade"  confirming the AEI data of more guns, less homicide, and vice versa.

The reality is that the correlation is complex – demographics, income, culture – and includes a host of other factors, including how these statistics are collected.  These all influence the relationship between gun ownership density and homicide rates, as with climate factors and hurricanes.  Yet that doesn't stop leftists from issuing proclamations from their moral high horses that have little basis in reality or actual data.

But to say that more guns means more murders is patently false, as the AEI graphs demonstrate.  Yet the American left pushes this narrative incessantly, and on the heels of tragic loss of life – a tragedy that no new gun laws would have prevented.  Nor would abolishing the NRA have prevented Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Columbine, or any other tragic mass shooting.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

If you experience technical problems, please write to