C'mon, guns don't really make America safer

To be clear: I’m not disputing that guns sometimes save lives. They must. I’m certainly not disputing that the Constitution secures the right of individual gun ownership. It does. I’m questioning the claim that widespread gun ownership makes America a safer place. The research supporting that claim is pretty weak — and is contradicted above all by the plain fact that most other advanced countries have many fewer guns and also many fewer crimes and criminals.

Should you own a gun? In some few cases, the answer to that question of wisdom is probably yes.

But most of the time, gun owners are frightening themselves irrationally. They have conjured in their own imaginations a much more terrifying environment than genuinely exists — and they are living a fantasy about the security their guns will bestow. And to the extent that they are right — to the extent that the American environment is indeed more dangerous than the Australian or Canadian or German or French environment — the dangers gun owners face are traceable to the prevalence of the very guns from which they so tragically mistakenly expect to gain safety.