More guns, fewer victims?

Get off my lawn.

A 70 year old Carnation, WA homeowner used his handgun to stop a violent home invader.

Police say that the 70 year old man was in his home at about 6 AM when he heard someone lurking outside his home. The homeower reportedly went to the door to investigate, at which point the lurker rushed inside and hit the elderly homeowner in the head. Injured, the homeowner grabbed his self defense pistol and fired, striking the intruder and ending the attack, according to police. The intruder suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a hospital, while the homeowner was treated and released for his head injury, according to news reports.

That’s Eric Puryear, an Iowa attorney who writes about self-defense issues. In the same story, he lists five other examples of elderly men and women between the ages of 70 and 93 defending themselves with firearms — protecting themselves from victimhood, when otherwise there would have been no choice but victimhood.

It’s the original point-and-click, and even old fogies can do it. Take note, criminals. And behave accordingly.

And you know what that is? That’s supply and demand at work: the more something costs, the fewer people will want it. Putting a gun in the hands of the woulda-been victim increases the potential costs — the perceived costs — for the attacker.

Ergo, one hopes, fewer attackers.

Ah, but: doesn’t the easy availability of guns make crime less expensive, too? Easier, and thus more common?

Yeah, maybe, although even England — where strict gun laws supposedly make guns much harder to get — has a growing gun crime problem.

At the same time, back here in the U.S., gun crimes account only for a minority of violent and property crimes. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2008:

  • An offender was armed with a gun, knife, or other object used as a weapon in an estimated 20% of all incidents of violent crime.
  • Offenders used firearms to commit 7% of violent crime incidents in 2008.
  • Robberies (40%) were the most likely crime to involve an armed offender.
  • Firearms (24%) were the most common weapons used in robberies.
  • Most rapes and assaults did not involve the use of a weapon.
  • Of serious nonfatal violent victimizations, 28% were committed with a firearm, 4% were committed with a firearm and resulted in injury, and less than 1% resulted in gunshot wounds.

This isn’t enough to reach any conclusions, but it does cast doubt: either on the “guns are easy to get” part, or the “more guns equal more crime” part. Maybe those crimes wouldn’t have been committed at all, had the criminal not had a gun. Maybe. But clearly, the crimes are happening even in the absence of firearms.

Criminal-held firearms, that is.

Which means: armed private citizens are even more effective, because most criminals aren’t armed. We should be promoting responsible gun ownership, especially among those populations — the elderly, inner-city residents, etc. — more at-risk for victimization.

Hat tip to All-American Blogger. Read more brilliant commentary at The TrogloPundit.

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