I wasn’t clear. As you say, guns don’t drive the murder rate. Although they make it much easier to kill which is why they have a huge impact on certain niche types of homicide. Abusive relationship murders have a strong link to gun ownership.
It seems you’re pretty well versed in the new Kivisto et al study which hit the media cycle a week or two ago. I wrote about it after it came out:
Newsweek‘s Bogus Gun Rhetoric Misses an Amazing Find
Newsweek dropped a really ripe one today, full of misleading statistics and bogus rhetoric. Let’s go through some…
Their study showed no multivariate relationship between gun ownership and non-domestic homicides, but did show a multivariate relationship between gun ownership and domestic homicides. But it wasn’t very strong if you understand the numbers. From the study:
The increased incidence of domestic homicide of male and female victims as a function of firearm ownership was specific to homicides by firearm, whereas firearm ownership was unrelated to nonfirearm domestic homicides. Among female victims, each 1% increase in firearm ownership was associated with a 1.4% increased incidence of firearm homicide victimization by an intimate partner and a 2.1% increased incidence of firearm homicide victimization by another family member. Among male victims, each 1% increase in firearm ownership was associated with a 1.2% increased incidence of firearm homicide victimization by an intimate partner and a 1.7% increased incidence of firearm homicide victimization by another family member.
These are small changes, because the rates are so small. Think it through. To drop our ownership rate from 30% to 15% you’ve got to collect 20% of the guns in the entire solar system, and what you’d get in return is a (0.3) multiplier on the domestic homicide rate, which is only around 2000 per year out of 330 million people.
Collect 175 million guns (somehow), save 600 people. Collect 292,000 guns to save one person. How?
And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that some of the domestic homicides in their data pool were self defense homicides, nor does it take into account counterfactuals, that some of the domestic firearm homicides might just flip into another method. You might have some instances where a woman shot her abusive husband, where without a gun she becomes the victim of a blunt force trauma homicide. Congratulations on reducing the firearm homicide rate! (?)
In the US my observation is that there is a strong meme that runs through a lot of society that people are entitled to kill someone if you feel threatened.
This isn’t how the law is written in any state, even the stand your ground states. I hope that meme isn’t pervasive, and if it is, then it needs to be rubbed out with better education. Some flavor of the duty to retreat exists in almost every legal framework for the use of deadly force.