This is for J H. He and Joe were discussing statistics related to gun restriction in comments here.
This line of argument, taken by itself, is to say nothing of human rights, the right to live being most fundamental and the right to self defense going hand in hand with the right to live.
If we are to leave out any discussion of rights, and focus purely on how people get injured or how they die in accidents and crimes as a means of determining and justifying laws, then we’d start by banning the wheel. Swimming pools, access to rivers and lakes, etc., and stairs would be ahead of guns in private hands as a focus of legislative restriction. Somewhere in between would be legal restrictions on unprotected sex and leaving the home while ill. But that would be government thinking of the people in the same way that a farmer thinks of his cattle.
It is when we look at guns in the hands of governments that we find mass death, numbering in the tens of millions, and there you find the primary purpose of our second amendment– defense or deterrence against tyranny, or more to the point it should be seen as defense of human rights by those who hold those rights (we the people). Who then should look at whom as property? Keeping our servants in government (our cattle) properly de-horned is, historically, the more important concern if we are to have any sort of owner/property relationships with one another.
Once we’ve accepted the Nanny State as the ideal form of government, all bets are off anyway, and arguing figures and statistics alone is to fight the battle on your enemy’s chosen ground. Even being wrong in their figures, your enemy has won by deciding the terms of battle. People are in fact injured and killed through the use of or involvement with guns in private hands. That is a fact. Hence the Nanny State will find an excuse to restrict them if that’s what they want and if they feel safe in doing it.
The true winning argument is that the state has no legitimate jurisdiction over any behavior or possession that in itself does not violate the rights of other people. If I have a gun in my pocket I haven’t violated any other person’s rights by that fact alone. If I haul off and smack someone at random in the head with a baseball bat, it is not the fault of the state for allowing free, un-restricted access to baseball bats. It is I who would have committed a crime by violating the rights of another person, for which I would rightly be held accountable. In attempting to restrict generally the access to baseball bats as a result of my crime, the state would be perpetrating tyranny by way of making victims out of innocent persons. We call that sort of behavior “prior restraint”– restraining someone in some way prior to them having threatened or done anything wrong to anyone.
It is well and good to point out the stupidity of arms restrictions, and how their effects are virtually always counter to the stated goal of making people safer, but those issues are a distant secondary to the issues of human rights. Otherwise we’d be confiscating automobiles, banning certain sports, et al. Without human rights as the fundamental principle guiding our policies, the totalitarian state is an inevitability.