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NAT’L – OPINION – TAKING AIM: Guns, good and evil

Think for a minute: do we rate the effectiveness of our law enforcement officers based on how many criminals they kill each year? No, we rate them on the crime they prevent and the lives they save by nabbing bad guys (or girls). There are untold numbers of organizations that study or fund studies on gun violence. There are many that study or fund studies on gun protection, measuring our nation’s Defensive Gun Uses (DGU). Many of these bias their numbers either for or against gun use and ownership depending upon how their hair is parted. Few are straight shooters just laying out facts as they fall. But in gleaning from all of them, three points emerge that cry out for common sense. They are: 1. Firearms save lives as well as take lives. Millions of Americans own and carry firearms daily. Most, such as myself, cite personal protection as the reason for carrying. Most of the time, these people will never draw their firearm in emergency situations. I pray I never have to. Our nation’s annual number of DGUs is inherently controversial. The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine and National Research Council puts the DGU number at a fluid guess of between a half million to three million. That is a broad brush with which to paint. Another big study cites 162,000 cases where, “someone almost certainly would have been killed,” if they had not used a gun for their protection. 2. The value of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens should be measured in terms of lives saved or crimes prevented, not in criminals killed. As noted by the National Research Council, “Effective defensive gun use need not ever lead the perpetrator to be killed or wounded.”  [full article]

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