Domestic Violence and the Truth about American Gun Culture

Americans, by and large, love guns. But we have a weird relationship with guns: some of us firmly believe that guns make the public safer, and others believe exactly the opposite. Some believe guns promote crime, others believe guns are the only thing stopping crime. Interestingly, both groups are wrong, and we have enough data on the subject now to say so definitively. But the ever-increasing ramp up in gun sales since 2005 has had an effect on millions of Americans — it’s just not what you expect.

The ‘Good Guy with a Gun’ Narrative is Wrong
You see, we have powerful, decades-long studies that prove that that guns are used defensively (threatening or actually firing at the criminal) in a mere 0.85% of all violent crimes, and even in those cases when a gun was used, it only prevented 13% of those crimes — meaning that in total, the presence of guns prevents about 0.11% of all crimes. The ideal of the “good guy with a gun” appeals to a lot of men who want to see themselves as the ‘good guy,’ but statistically, the actual effect of carrying a gun around is near-zero in terms of how it affects the crime rate.

The ‘Guns Kill People’ Narrative is Wrong, Too
On the other hand, statistics on the number of gun-related deaths and injuries have been accurately kept for decades, and the massive spike in gun ownership since 2005 has had virtually zero effect on the number of annual gun-related injuries and deaths in any demographic category. No notable increase in children getting injured or killed, or African-Americans, or conservatives — none.  Not even in accidental gun-related injuries or deaths. We hear more about shootings now than before, but you’ll see why in a moment.

What Guns DO Cause (and Why Family Attorneys Care)
There are three things that have risen as gun ownership has risen.

  • The number of mass shootings,
  • The number of successful suicide attempts, and (most importantly to us)
  • The percentage of domestic violence incidents that result in murder charges.

In short, what having more guns around does is turn ordinary, perfectly human moments of emotional breakdown into lethal events. Not at a rate big enough to make a significant change in the total number of gun-related injuries — but totally in a way that is more newsworthy. After all, mass shootings are headliners even if they’re half a country away, and jawdroppers like “Wife Critiques Dinner, Husband Shoots Her Dead” will always pay the bills.

To bring this back around to the law, Gucciardio Family Law would like to offer a piece of humble advice for any gun enthusiast getting involved in a family court case: before the first hearing commences, take all of your handguns and lock them up somewhere at least 5 minutes away from their nearest ammo boxes. There are few times in your life more emotionally straining than a divorce or a custody battle — and the last thing anyone deserves is to end up in jail because the stress got to them and they ended their divorce with a gun instead of a lawyer.

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