but more often in answer to people pushing claims that gun ownership decreases crime and makes everyone safer and pulling up articles by people like John Lott, using all the tricks you mention and more, to support their claims.
I’m not a huge fan of Lott, quite honestly. Some of the things he says ring alarm bells with me, but I haven’t dug deeply enough into his analysis to refute it.
For example in New Zealand it’s not hard to get a firearms licence, but you do need to provide a reason, and “self defense” is not a reason. Indeed offer it and you can pretty much say goodbye to getting said licence. I get the impression that a huge amount of US gun owners have a gun for “self defense”.
Guns are for killing things, and most guns are for killing people. “Self defense” just means killing someone to prevent them from killing you.
Different people buy different guns for different reasons. I own several, and this was my reason for buying a semiautomatic rifle:
The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper
Or, “Who Needs an AR-15 Anyway?”
In short they buy a firearm with the intended purpose of shooting a person. It doesn’t seem surprising that the US has a much higher rate than New Zealand of people shooting other people.
New Zealand has about the same murder rate as New Hampshire or North Dakota does. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that guns are what drives murder rate. In the US, it’s wealth inequality and black population ratio.