I spotted an unnerving social media post the other day by an acquaintance of mine from college. (We won’t mention how long ago that was!) I will spare you the details of her lament. But the gist of her comment was that she was tired of “gun violence” and didn’t want to hear anyone else give her “lame excuses for gun rights.”

It was the last part of her statement that truly caught my attention. The words “lame excuses” were particularly distasteful to me. And I honestly sat back for quite a while trying to come up with what a lame excuse for gun rights would actually be. To keep up with the Joneses? To be ready for the zombie apocalypse? To look cool LARPing (live-action role-playing)?

I suppose those things might be considered kind of lame. But when I think about my reason for owning guns — for the defense of myself and my family — and when I consider the millions of other gun owners in America, I’m at a bit of a loss trying to come up with any “lame excuses.”

The Good That Comes With Gun Rights

Of course, I have often heard from numbers of my non-gun-owning friends that they believe guns are dangerous and unnecessary. They claim that just having a firearm will make it thousands of times more likely that you’ll be injured or killed with that firearm.

But we can’t play hypotheticals and only mention what someone who is violent might do with a gun. It’s only fair to consider the possibilities of what someone who is good might do if he or she also has a firearm. It’s not fair to imagine all the horrible, awful things that could happen if a firearm falls into the hands of an evil mind. We must also consider all the good that can be done and all the lives that can be saved.

Defensive Gun Use Statistics

The thing is: There are actually some very interesting statistics out there about defensive gun use (DGU). And before the doubters or naysayers jump all over the information, it didn’t come from any right-wing, Republican or gun-activist groups. In fact, if you haven’t heard of this before, it came from a $10 million study commissioned by President Obama. And this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report found that “self-defense can be an important crime deterrent.”

In the study, entitled “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,” the CDC concluded that guns used for self-defense can save lives: “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by a crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

Along with this study, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council released the results of their research through the CDC. Researchers compiled data from previous studies. They noted, “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.”

Gun Rights — Protected to Protect

Let that last part sink in. Here in America, responsibly armed citizens use firearms to defend themselves (and others) upwards of 3 million times every year. That’s incredible, and it’s thanks to our protected right to keep and bear arms! And that’s only based on reported information. Imagine how much higher that number might be.

I wonder if millions of potential victims using a gun to protect life every year is a “lame excuse.” Personally, I think it’s a very valid and significant reason. And maybe for some, it’s an eye-opening revelation. Either way, I’ll never tire of sharing it.

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