A note about the Facebook “Ban guns because of these gun deaths” meme

I’m  a lawyer who used to be an engineer, so when I see the Facebook meme that demands that we restrict guns because “24,000 people are murdered every  year!”, my law nerd and stats nerd self almost can’t help but issue a few clarifying remarks.

That statistic relates to homicide, not murder.  Homicide is when you have a dead body from non-natural causes; murder is a deliberate killing without adequate justification. If an 80-year-old wheelchair bound woman shoots an attacker and kills him, that’s homicide but not murder. If a woman who is all of a hundred pounds, soaking wet, shoots her 6’5 bruiser of a husband as he’s coming at her with a baseball bat, that’s homicide and not murder. If someone breaks down your door in the middle of the night and charges at your kids with a knife, it’s not murder when you shoot him dead.

This matters because the “so many gun deaths!!” meme does NOT take into account defensive use of guns: it assumes that everyone who winds up with a bullet between the eyes is an innocent victim. The question is not how many people die from being shot; the question is how many people die who were not the initial aggressors.

Please remember that as you put up that statistic, it includes people who saved their own lives with guns. Many of us understand that your “regulations” will take away the only meaningful avenue of self-defense for the most vulnerable in our society. Little old ladies with fractured hips, abused women, people who live in crime-ridden cities – these people are toast without a gun. Yet when they kill their attackers, opponents of the Second Amendment claim those deaths as a justification to ban firearms.

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