Guns Save Lives. Period.

One important fact which is often (intentionally) overlooked in the discussion about privately owned firearms is that guns save millions of lives every year, but, in most of the cases, the gun is never even fired.

Individuals enter an establishment with criminal intent, see an armed citizen, and leave without incident. This happens far more often than is typically realized, and it represents a significant benefit of private gun ownership and of open carry in particular.

In addition to the cases in which direct possession of a weapon by a single individual prevents a crime before it occurs, there is the more general effect that an armed society has to discourage crime and violence. Many petty criminals avoid certain neighborhoods entirely simply because they know that most people in the area are armed.

There are also cases in which a crime is in progress, but, as soon as a would-be victim produces a gun, the criminals flee. While these incidents occasionally produce a viral video, the vast majority do not, and some instances even go unreported.

Those who seek an excuse to disarm peaceful people will often point to the comparatively small number of justifiable homicides as evidence that the defensive use of firearms is a rarity, but this tactic intentionally ignores the bigger picture. Guns save lives every single day and this benefit rarely requires firing them.

Even the gun owner himself may not know how many times his life and the lives of others in his vicinity have been saved simply because he was armed.

Some people believe that taking guns away from peaceful people will save lives, but their math is flawed. Armed individuals are the primary line of defense between criminals and the innocent and—if these individuals are disarmed—the criminals will be emboldened. Disarming peaceful people won’t save lives; instead it will allow more lives to be taken and more people to be victimized as those who already ignore the law are given a huge tactical advantage over the innocents they wish to harm.

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Parrish Miller has worked as a web designer, policy analyst, blogger, journalist, digital media manager, and social media marketing consultant. Having been largely cured of his political inclinations, he now finds philosophy more interesting than politics and is focused particularly on alternative ideas such as counter-economics, agorism, voluntaryism, and unschooling.