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Book Review – The Bias Against Guns

September 21st, 2009

I recently finished a book by John Lott Jr. titled The Bias Against Guns. John separates the book into two parts. Part 1 dicusses how everything you’ve heard about guns is wrong. It talks about how the media focuses entirely on how guns are abused while completely ignoring how guns are used to prevent or reduce the effects of crime. It closes with how the government paints the same wrong picture. Part 2 is the evidence. Its 180 pages of surveys, statistics, and facts. Its 180 pages of why the government studies are wrong and the media are doing us an injustice. Its plots, figures, tables, and data, almost overwhelming. The bottom line is that gun laws cause more deaths than save, typically between 10-100x.

For instance, the idea that guns in the home kill kids. That is true. A gun in the home does provide a small, as it turns out ridiculously small, chance of the gun injuring or killing a child. It is also true that that same gun also provides a layer of defense that no other device on earth can provide. Below is an interesting table from page 138.

The Bias Against Guns - Table 7.1

0 to 4 Years Old5 to 9 Years Old10 to 14 Years Old15-19 Years OldAge 20 and Older
Populations in Millions18.9419.9519.5519.75194.51
Types of Accidental Gun Deaths
Long Guns13182070
Unknown/Other Firearms9142777455
Other Types of Accidental Deaths
Pedal Cycling7749283543
Motor Vehicles834802969519834568
Table of gun related accidental deaths broken down by age, compared against other accidental deaths.

Frankly, I’d rather focus on the other areas of danger; not guns. The book is very good, although the facts and data can be overwhelming. I’d strongly recommend it for anyone who thinks guns only do harm.