If you asked most Americans whether owning a gun makes one safer, the majority will argue that, yes, gun ownership does indeed make them safer. This has been confirmed by new poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, in which 58 percent of respondents agree with the statement that“[g]un ownership does more to increase safety by allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.” To compare: just 38 percent agree with the statement that “[g]un ownership does more to reduce safety by giving too many people access to firearms and increasing the chances for accidental misuse.”
But if you examine the research, it seems the 38 percent are correct: gun ownership decreases safety — on both an individual and a societal level.
Several different studies have found that the presence of a gun in a home increases the risk of death. Per a report from Vox:
A 2014 review of the research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, for instance, found that access to firearms was associated with a doubled risk for homicide and a tripled risk for suicide. A 2017 piece by Melinda Wenner Moyer in Scientific American also ran through the evidence, concluding that gun ownership was associated with a higher risk of homicide, suicide, and accidental shootings.
A lot of Americans believe that guns would potentially protect them from home invaders, and are quick to pounce on anecdotal news items for confirmation bias. But, in actuality, the instances in which a gun owner is able to use a gun to stop a home intruder or other attacker are quite rare.
These narratives have been pushed so hard for so long by the NRA but in the wake of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting — they are being challenged. Young people are exposing folks who might otherwise spend their lives slack-jawed watching Fox News to the truth about gun ownership in this country.