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The dark side of our ideology? Does that make Wayne LaPierre Emperor Palpatine? Or is this some idiotic fantasy of Mr. Carlson’s?

About half the people who end their own lives each year use a firearm. Those people comprise about 60% of all firearm-related deaths.

Deliberate shootings, including murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicides and police actions account for about 38% of the total. Together, these two account for 98% of total firearm-related fatalities.

Based on data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Board and a widely-referenced report the 43% of U.S. households have one or more guns, that would put the estimate of the number of households with guns at nearly 55.3 million.

The Small Arms Survey estimated that there are 393 million privately owned guns in America.

At the end of 2018, there were 18.66 million American citizens licensed to carry a concealed handgun. There are 32 states that do not require a permit to openly carry a handgun and 16 of those states do not require their residents to have a permit to carry a handgun at all. Among these sixteen states are states with the highest estimated percentage of households with firearms with some percentages exceeding 60%.

While some people hold permits for multiple states, that number is likely more than compensated for by the states where no permit is required. It is worth noting that the strongest growth demographics among licensees are women and people of color. This would indicate that there has been substantial growth in the number of gun owners.

So how many gun owners are there? That’s an interesting question and survey estimates are most likely very wrong.

Surveys are based on the number of people responding. They seldom reveal how many inquiries they had to make to get their sample size and it requires a bit of searching to determine what percentage of the sample responded to a given question.

Because of years of what frankly amounts to persecution, gun owners are often reluctant to answer questions pertaining gun ownership, even if the questions are indirect. This is on top of the number of people who refuse to participate in what are often fairly long surveys.

However, most estimates of the number of gun owners put the figure at about 30% of the adult population, or about 76 million. That’s probably low because it would make the percentage of gun owners with permits at more than 24%, which is likely too high. Remember, gun owners include hunters, people with rimfire rifles who simply shoot at paper targets or tin cans, and others who have neither the need nor the desire to carry a handgun.

But for the sake of argument, let’s use the 76 million figure. Tallying up multiple years of CDC fatal injury reports we come up with a total of 342,439 firearm-related deaths. Assuming that each one of those was caused by a separate individual legal gun owner, which is far from true, that works out to 99.953% of gun owners who didn’t kill anybody. Not even themselves.

If we limit ourselves to harm done to others, such as murder, the percentage of harmless gun owners rises to 99.983%.

I am not sure where Mr. Carlson’s numbers come from but I am pretty sure it’s dark and smelly. Which are terms that could also be applied to his thesis and support.

Now what are the “proposed solutions” Mr. Carlson claims we oppose? If they are the same ones certain groups have been trying to ram down the national throat for years, we have very good reasons to oppose them: reasons which have nothing to do with gun rights, Second Amendment rights, and similar arguments.

Simply put, we oppose them because they are worthless. We oppose them because they are stupid. We oppose them because they are unenforceable; violate civil rights protected by the Fifth Amendment, among others; and have never shown to have any impact on either violence or suicide.

California enacted universal background checks in 1991 and has been on a regulatory crusade ever since. From 1991 to 2018, California’s homicide rate fell 65%.

Texas did not enact universal background checks. In fact, Texas moved in the opposite direction, passing the state’s first-ever handgun carry permit; allowing carry of a concealed handgun in a motor vehicle without a permit; modifying state law to allow the sale of a new type of firearm; and even passing a law penalizing cities and counties for unlawfully prohibiting the carry of handguns by permitees in government buildings. From 1991 to 2018, Texas’ homicide rate dropped 70%. Both states have homicide rates below the national average.

In 2010, Arizona repealed the law requiring a permit to carry a concealed handgun, not only for state residents but for anyone. California continued on its regulatory binge. From 201 to 2018, the homicide rate dropped more in Arizona than it did in California.

The Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire because there wasn’t any evidence that it had had any real impact on crime. In fact the average annual rate of rifle usage in homicides has been more than 20% lower since the ban expired than it was during the ban.

We oppose them because they apply only to the gun owners that don’t threaten anyone.

We do champion things such as more vigorous enforcement of the laws that are on the books. We do champion crackdowns on black marketeers, who make up the largest single source of guns used in crime. We do champion education programs to reduce the number of accidental gun deaths and promote safe storage.

One other thing we champion: the truth. We think it’s about time that somebody told it to the American people.

We think it’s about time that somebody told the American people that 548 people have been murdered and 1,071 more have been wounded by mass shooters who passed background checks.

We think it’s about time that somebody told the American people that none of the proposed measures would have prevented Sandy Hook. We think it’s about time that the American people learned that Parkland was perhaps the most preventable mass shooting ever and that gun laws had nothing to do with it.

We think it’s about time that people quit talking about some big number of mass shootings without adding that the states with the highest number of them, at least in the past six years, are California and Illinois. That even correcting for population sizes, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, and California have higher rates than Texas, Florida, and Arizona.

So, yes, America has a gun problem. It’s people like Mr. Carlson that keep making it worse.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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