By: Peter Suciu
In 2015, Eugene Volokh, a Gary T. Schwartz professor of law that UCLA Law School, wrote an editorial for The Washington Post in which he pondered the question whether, "Citizens (not police officers) with guns ever stop mass shootings?"
Volokh cited several examples in which law-abiding citizens with legally owned firearms did successfully manage to stop criminals, and while Volokh didn't try to answer the question directly – few in the media ever report when firearms are used to stop crime.
Too often, the media is more interested when a firearm – legal or otherwise – is used to commit a crime. That was largely true in 2015 and is certainly true today. There have been countless attempts by the media to suggest that the record number of firearms sold last year accounted for the record increase in violence in our nation's urban centers. There have been few stories regarding how those record numbers of firearms have helped people defend themselves.
Yet, according to the FBI's recently released Uniform Crime Report for 2020, armed private citizens killed more criminals during the committing of a felony last year than were killed by police. This shouldn't be surprising, as the FBI's data reported that violent crime rates rose 5.2 percent when compared with the 2019 rate; even as the property crime rate declined 8.1 percent.
According to the FBI, in 2020, there were an estimated 1,277,696 violent crimes. When compared with the estimates from 2019, the estimated number of robbery offenses fell 9.3 percent, and the estimated volume of rape (revised definition) offenses decreased 12.0 percent, the FBI's data highlighted. The estimated number of aggravated assault offenses rose 12.1 percent, and the volume of murder and non-negligent manslaughter offenses increased 29.4 percent.
"We looked at Tables 14 and 15 in the FBI's new report that apply to justifiable homicides by law enforcement and private citizens, respectively," said Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman Alan Gottlieb. "Last year, according to the data, armed citizens killed 343 criminals during the commission of a felony while police fatally shot 298 felons.
"If the FBI data published in their crime report for 2020 is accurate," he continued, "it is ample evidence that the individual right to keep and bear arms for personal defense is as important today as it was when the Second Amendment was adopted as a cornerstone of the Bill of Rights."
Currently, 44 percent of American households own a firearm, with more than 393 million guns legally owned by U.S. citizens. According to data from the U.S. Department of Justice, which was cited by American Gun Facts, 57 percent of felons are actually more afraid of an armed citizen than a police officer. The website also noted that between 500,000 and 3 million firearms are used in self defense every year.
Concealed carry laws actually accounted for an 8.5 percent reduction of murders, 5 percent reduction of rapes, 7 percent reduction of assaults and even 3 percent reduction of robberies. Moreover, the data found that there is only one murder per 55,000 rifles owned.
American Gun Facts also noted that the average shooting lasts fewer than 12 minutes, but the average police response time is 18 minutes.
"The use of deadly force is not something anybody wants," said Gottlieb. "But neither is being injured or killed by some thug during a violent criminal attack. Self-defense may be the oldest natural right, and every time we hear some politician, public official or gun control extremist call for citizen disarmament, we have to wonder which side they’re on. It certainly can't be on the side of public safety."
Gottlieb also noted that many politicians, celebrities and those of means have private security – something few "average Americans" could ever hope to have.
"Gun prohibitionists who enjoy their own private security while promoting restrictive laws that take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens are world-class hypocrites. The same people who want to disarm honest citizens are typically those who support policies that are soft on criminals. They haven't simply lost perspective; they've abandoned common sense."
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.