Reaction to Kurt Eichenwald, “Let’s Repeal the Second Amendment”

First of all, read Eichenwald’s column if you can stomach it:

His thesis: “Almost 1,000 innocent Americans have been shot in the last 30 years in these bloodbaths.” So we need to repeal the Second Amendment.Let’s do a little “liberal math” for a moment. Liberal math about guns ONLY WORKS if you assume that guns are only ever used to kill innocent people. It goes completely out of whack if you factor in the fact that guns are also used by ordinary citizens to prevent crimes—and specifically, to prevent the killing of innocent people.There are no “official” stats on defensive gun use, but most estimates put the annual incidents of defensive gun use at anywhere between 800,000 and 2.5 million per year. The most recent, reliable numbers come from Dr. Gary Kleck of Florida State University, whose estimate came in between 2.1 and 2.5 million.

The other important number is how many people would have been killed if they hadn’t had access to a gun for protection. The best number I’ve seen is 400,000 of the 2+ million would-be victims. But let’s be conservative. Let’s assume that “only” a quarter of the people who believed they would have been killed if they hadn’t been able to defend themselves would actually have been murder victims. That’s 100,000 people per year who are alive because the Second Amendment guarantees them the right to protect themselves.

But Eichenwald is talking about a 30-year stretch. Since violent crime has actually gone down over the past several decades (as more law-abiding citizens have armed themselves, and as concealed-carry laws have become much more prevalent), it’s probably safe to say that we have both fewer murders and fewer non-victims today because of the Second Amendment. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s say that today’s rates are valid across all 30 years. That means there are 3 million people who weren’t killed because they were able to defend themselves with a gun.

So back to liberal math. Mr. Eichenwald hates guns — that fact is clear. He hates the NRA, and he obviously hates ordinary Americans who believe they should have the means to defend themselves against criminals and thugs. And here’s the kicker. Eichenwald wants to deprive ordinary Americans of that means. In order to make his point, he has to ignore all defensive uses of guns to make his math work. He’s willing to allow 3 million people to die over the next 30 years in order to save 1,000. Of course, we all know that crime rates would go UP if Eichenwald and his ilk were successful in repealing the Second Amendment. So the body count would go up as well. But that fact doesn’t get factored in.

One of the most common refrains among gun-banners is, “if it saves a single life, it’s worth it.” It’s very telling that they’re all to willing to kill (or allow to be killed) 3,000 people to save a single life. But that’s how liberal math works.

Posted in Firearms, Politics Tagged with: ,
2 comments on “Reaction to Kurt Eichenwald, “Let’s Repeal the Second Amendment”
  1. Bob Cormack says:

    Eichenwald, on his Twitter feed, makes a big deal about the fact that some of his relatives were killed by the Nazis — and apparently therefore, no one can make a Nazi analogy that isn’t approved by him.

    What he doesn’t realize is that, by working to disarm law-abiding citizens, he is working to make a future Holocaust more likely. Someone should direct him to the website “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership” (, where he might absorb some actual logical reasoning.
    Certainly the Israelis don’t believe that they would be safer if disarmed.

    • David says:

      Or he could simply read “Unintended Consequences” by John Ross. It dramatizes the results of citizen disarmament quite effectively.