So I guess we can forget about hearing any fresh or unique angles on The Daily Show. New host Trevor Noah recently argued that if pro-lifers truly cared about life, they could become superheroes for the cause by advocating for gun control. It’s an argument as worn out as it is misguided, exposing more about his progressive biases than his comedic prowess.
During the show, Noah offered this sentiment:
If pro-lifers would just redirect their powers toward gun violence, the amount of lives they would save would reach superhero levels. They just need to have a superhero’s total dedication to life. Because right now, they’re more like comic book collectors. Human life only holds value until you take it out of the package.
This tired liberal talking point demonstrates a false dichotomy between two main conservative ideals: saving the unborn and favoring the Second Amendment. “Imagine if we could bring some of that pro-life passion into being more, well, pro-life,” Noah said with a smirk.
The thing is, we don’t have to imagine — because pro-lifers are passionate about life—all life. They’re opposed to women killing their unborn infants because they believe in protecting innocent life. Certainly they don’t support the criminal actions of mass shooters. They’re in favor of legal gun possession because they believe in protecting innocent life. These two scenarios aren’t at odds. In fact, they are quite consistent.
Guns Save Lives
Vox weighed in on Noah’s comments, contending that while “Noah’s pro-life argument is unfair to pro-gun conservatives […] the facts on gun violence are, broadly speaking, on Noah’s side: More restrictions on guns would save lives.” This might come as a surprise to Noah—and sorry to disappoint, Vox—but guns save more lives than they take.
Vox goes on to say, “The fault of Noah’s critique of pro-life conservatives who oppose gun control lies in the fact that they don’t believe gun control can save lives. In fact, many gun rights advocates genuinely believe that gun control can get people killed–since without guns, they won’t be able to, for instance, defend themselves from home invaders.”
Essentially, Vox says Noah’s observation is flawed… but only because he doesn’t get that conservatives (erroneously) think gun control endangers lives.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics show us that guns are the safest and most effective means of self-defense. Their use results in fewer injuries to the defender and is safer than not resisting at all. Gun Owners of America calculated that every year firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of innocent citizens than to take lives.
Of the millions of citizens who have guns, most don’t even fire the weapon at their attacker. They merely brandish the gun or fire a warning shot. Less than 8 percent of the time does a gun owner kill or wound an attacker when confronted. Armed citizens kill more criminals in the act of protecting themselves and their loved ones than do the police (1,527 to 606). According to Newsweek, only two percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person, compared to the police error rate, which is five times as high.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, California, a state with some of the strongest gun-control laws, had the highest number of gun murders in 2011. Compare that to Texas, which had nearly half the number of gun murders as California. Washington DC, which has strict gun-control laws, also has a high gun murder rate and finished first in gun-related robberies per 100,000 people.
Politico recently ran a long piece written by two gun-control advocates arguing that defensive gun ownership was a myth. But Gary Kleck, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University, offered a strong retort, most importantly pointing out that data consistently indicates that Americans underreport crime victimization experiences, gun ownership and their own criminal activity. We probably don’t even know the full extent guns help us defend life.
Guns Save Unborn Babies’ Lives, Too
Noah said that if pro-lifers cared about saving even one life they’d favor gun control—but obviously he doesn’t understand how lives are saved, both inside and outside the womb. When two men broke into her home, a Tennessee woman who was pregnant at the time grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun and pointed it at the men. They immediately ran, and she didn’t even have to fire a shot. That’s what being pro-life and pro legal gun possession looks like.
In Mobile, Alabama, a woman who was six months pregnant held an armed home invader at shotgun-point until the police arrived. Another life was saved in Roswell, New Mexico, when an 87-year-old man used his gun to stop a violent attacker from attempting to sexually assault a pregnant woman. In Indiana last year, intruders attempted to invade a pregnant woman’s home, but her life and her unborn child’s life was saved when her boyfriend shot and killed one of the intruders, before that intruder could join the other in fleeing.
Another example of a gun saving lives is the mother who defended herself and her two children when a man broke into their home in Loganville, Georgia. She and her nine-year-old twins hid in a crawlspace, which the intruder eventually located. When he opened the door, he found himself staring at a .38 revolver. The woman fired all six rounds and fled with the kids. Amazingly, the man fled the house and survived. It turned out he was a serial criminal and had been arrested six times.
This Oklahoma mother had just lost her husband to cancer when she shot and killed an intruder to protect her three-month-old baby. What would have happened to those mothers and children had they not had guns to defend themselves? Does Noah even care? (Oh, and here are some more examples of how guns save lives, if Noah needs more evidence.)
Being pro-life and pro legal gun possession are not mutually exclusive nor are they at odds with one another. In fact, they are morally, legally, and ideologically intertwined, working in tandem to protect innocent lives, in different ways, both offensively and defensively.
Without the right to defend oneself with force, law-abiding Americans would be as defenseless as a newborn—incapable of defending themselves, looking only to the state to prevent harm. That’s the world Trevor Noah wants us to live in. It’s not the world most of America wants.