Does Gun Control Save Lives?
The United States House of Representatives passed new legislation to restrict the sale of firearms on Wednesday. The legislation is unlikely to pass in the Senate due to broad Republican opposition. Meanwhile, the Senate continues to work on bipartisan legislation. However, it’s unlikely any legislation will receive enough Republican votes to pass in the Senate. Opponents have two main arguments. One is a legal argument based on a radical interpretation of the 2nd Amendment to the American Constitution, although this argument leans on broader views about natural rights specifically the right to self defense. But it’s the second argument that I want to discuss. They argue restrictions and regulations on firearms sales and ownership do not save lives.
Republican legislators consistently argue any form of gun control is ineffective. Representative Jim Jordan made this exact argument about the current legislation when he said, “The speaker started by saying this bill is about protecting our kids… But this bill doesn’t do it.” Representative Pat Fallon went even further. He made the controversial claim that “more firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens make us all safer.”
However, statistics on gun deaths from the CDC do not bear this out. Fifteen of the seventeen states with the highest number of gun deaths per 100,000 people voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Moreover, one of those two “blue” states is Georgia. On the other hand, eighteen of the nineteen states with the lowest number voted for Biden in 2020. Iowa is the 13th lowest. Even Illinois falls below nearby states like Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio despite high levels of violence in Chicago. The podcast The Daily recently explored how California has reduced fatalities from firearms while most other states saw increases. So, yes. It looks like gun control does save lives.