Jeanette Strong: If we only had more guns

“I carry a gun, sometimes quite a few. I will always defend Americans’ right to bear arms! As a woman & mother, I will unload my clip on a killer attacking me, my family, or others. Then I will reload.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., responding to the April 12 New York subway shooting.

Anti-gun control people are constantly trying to increase the number of guns in America while they loosen gun laws across the country. Their rationale is that if we had more guns, we would be safer.

In another tweet, Greene blamed New York’s strict gun laws for the injuries subway riders sustained: “With New York’s strict gun control laws, how many innocent people were carrying a gun when the bad guy with a gun broke the existing laws and started shooting people?”

Her outrage misses a few points. The shooter had released a smoke bomb before he started shooting, so visibility was very low. If Greene had been in the subway car, she wouldn’t have been able to shoot without endangering innocent people crowded all around her. To be able to unload her clip into the shooter, she would have had to be just a few feet away, something pretty much impossible with the shooter spraying bullets all over.

The story would be the same for any other gun-carriers there. Something the “gun in every hand” folks never talk about is how hard it is to hit your target unless you are very well-trained. Police, who practice a lot, miss their targets more than they succeed. When a police officer fires at a suspect at less than seven yards, the hit rate is 37 percent. (NYPD Hit Rates 1998-2006)

If the officer is being fired on, the hit rate drops to 18 percent. And these are trained professionals. Another fact Greene conveniently forgets is that in states with looser gun laws, a higher percentage of people are killed by guns. Despite her criticism of New York’s laws, more people are killed by guns in her state of Georgia (12.56/100,000) than are killed in New York (5.11/100,000). With stricter laws, the death rate decreases.

“The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates in 2011 were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana. Each of these states has extremely lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership. The state with the lowest gun death rate in the nation was Rhode Island, followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Each of these states has strong gun violence prevention laws and has a lower rate of gun ownership.” (Daily Kos, June 20, 2014)

Internationally, countries with strict gun laws also have much lower gun death rates. In 2011, America’s overall gun death rate was 10.38 per 100,000 people. The death rate in Australia was 0.86/100,000 while in the United Kingdom it was 0.23/100,000.

This has nothing to do with Second Amendment rights. None of our rights are unlimited, and the Second Amendment is no exception. Despite that, more and more states are making their gun laws even looser.

The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates don’t require a license, permit, or training to buy or carry a gun; many other states are just as loose. Almost two dozen states have also dropped the requirement for a background check, meaning anyone can buy a gun with no restrictions, even if they are a terrorist, convicted felon, domestic abuser, or anyone else who should be prevented. I guess these states expect their criminals to be responsible about self-reporting. (New York Post, May 24, 2021)

As expected, law enforcement agencies are generally opposed to this loosening of requirements. They know that the more guns there are on the streets, the more dangerous for everyone. But Republicans are working to loosen gun laws in even more states, apparently thinking that if we all carry guns, no matter how untrained and inexperienced we are, we’ll all be safer.

Republicans are fond of offering simple answers to complex problems. This relieves them of the necessity to think and come up with solutions that will actually work. They can just throw out a bumper sticker slogan, pretend they’ve fixed everything, and when that doesn’t work, they just blame Democrats.

However, real life is messy, and just putting more guns on the street, especially in the hands of untrained people, will not solve the problem of gun violence. It will only make it worse.

Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at


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