Guns Do More Harm Than Good

An 18 year-old mother shot and killed a home invader, a man whom she thought had been stalking her, in an act of self defense. There had been two men, but the other turned himself in.

I absolutely support this woman's decision to do what she needed to do to protect herself and her baby. Hey, if I were home with an infant and had two men, one holding a knife, break in to my house, I would probably shoot, too. Even I didn't have a baby with me, I would probably shoot. I would prefer to wound him in the leg rather than kill him, but you can't really blame this girl for not doing that.

Of course, gun rights advocates are are using this story as an example of how great and important guns are for self protection. And while I agree that in this case, owning a gun was beneficial, it would be erroneous to think that this is a typical situation. Gun rights advocates gain support by promoting the idea that we are all under constant threat. The reality is that although home invasions and the like do often occur, the necessity of owning a gun is, for most people, very minimal. Unless you're in an extremely rural area, such as some parts of northern Canada, where polar bears and wolves live very close to humans, the protection you gain from owning a gun is pretty insignificant compared to the fact that gun ownership is is known to increase suicide and homicide rates. It seems that almost every week, you hear a new story about some kid killing his friend or family member with his dad's rifle. So many deaths could be prevented if people did not insist on having guns lying around their homes.

For the record, I support the right to bear arms. People should have the right to hunt and, need be, to protect themselves. But the idea that we're all living in the Wild West and need a gun at all times to protect ourselves is false. The likelihood that a given person will need to use a firearm is pretty slim. I fear that too many people with get the wrong idea from this 18 year-old's story.

College student, future history teacher, and feminist. 

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