Guns Kill More People Than Knives…

Is this tragic stabbing that occurred in Japan proof that the United States needs more gun control? photo courtesy of: Behrouz Mehri / AFP – Getty Images

Gun-control is an extremely polarizing topic. My approach to the debate has always been with facts and logic. A recent article titled ‘Knife attack makes case for gun restrictions' caught my attention. It analyzes a recent mass killing event at a school in Japan where 17 were wounded and 2 died.

The author compares this event to the mass killings at schools in Parkland and Sandy Hook, where 17 and 28 were killed respectively.

The author's assertion is these numbers are proof that gun control laws like those in Japan save lives. How so? Because the laws force the attacker to use a ‘less deadly' tool.

Which is more dangerous? Does it matter?

This may bother some of you, but we must face obvious truths. Compared to a knife, a firearm is a much more effective tool if your goal is to either kill a lot of people quickly or defend your life against said attack … period.

Please save the ‘edged weapons are a much superior weapon in close proximity' argument for a different day.

Sure knives are a deadly weapon and can inflict devastating wounds, but to argue that guns aren't capable of killing people at a much higher rate is just denying an obvious truth.

So does this mean guns are more dangerous than knives? Possibly, both are inanimate objects that need someone to use them. They both have perfectly legal and beneficial uses as well. So which is more dangerous?

I guess the real question is, does it really matter? Is a knife more dangerous than a screwdriver? Possibly. Stab someone in the neck with a screwdriver and ask them which is more dangerous.

I think ranking tools based on how dangerous they are is subjective and completely pointless. It doesn't matter if you own guns or want to regulate them even more, all good people want to save lives.

Ignorance on gun law

But the gun control messaging uses terms like “more deadly,” “military grade,” “high power,” “high capacity,” etc. These terms play on the emotional side, and any advertiser or salesman will tell you emotion is much more powerful than logic when trying to get someone to buy what you're selling.

So then why are so many people ignorant of why gun owners oppose ‘common sense' gun control laws?  Because in general, gun-rights advocates are pitiful at conveying appropriate messaging and education about why every proposed gun control law is bound to fail.

I'll give you a second to vent and hate me for being honest before continuing. Understand that most Americans, even gun owners are extremely ignorant when it comes to gun control laws, their origins and how they affect the law-abiding gun owner.

In the rare instance when a pro-gun person appears on the news, even they often times use incorrect terminology, or can't explain why these laws are counterproductive.

Even the NRA, the pro-gun organization with the loudest voice can't put together a campaign that is filled with anything more than catchy, bumper-sticker, one-liners. And this is why education is crucial to gun-rights messaging.

We have to not only educate but also address the emotional side of the topic. Being that we, like gun-control advocates, want to save lives. We also worry about our children being shot in a school or being attacked while at our place of worship. The difference is merely in the solution and the methods that would make our children and us safer.

The messaging from gun-control groups is multifaceted, continuous, strategic, and emotional. It is meant to appeal to the desire we all have to save lives. It is just misguided at best and misleading at its worst. This was a campaign from every town for gun safety that was picked up and championed by the NBA during the 2016 Finals. When was the last time you saw an effective-pro gun message anywhere outside of your social media timeline?

Back to the incident in Japan. The attacker randomly attacked people with a knife killing two and injuring 17. I don't know for certain, but we can concede that it is at least plausible that Japan's extremely strict gun control laws played a part in this person's choice to use a knife as opposed to a firearm in the attack.

In the article, author Stephen Grossman connects with well-intentioned people wanting to save lives and asserts that if only the United States would pass gun control laws, our tragedies would be less bloody.

When phrased like that, unwitting people jump on board and that is why polls show more people in favor of more gun control. It's because it feels good like something is being done. It is here we are missing an opportunity to educate those in the middle on the issue.

Because it's my right

Most gun advocates use the ‘I told you so' method when responding after shootings in foreign countries or US cities that have strict gun control laws. When asked, ‘why does anyone need an AR-15' more often than not the answer is something along the lines of ‘it's my right, what's it to you” often laced with colorful language.

Does anyone truly believe that this conveys a message that we believe all life is important and everyone deserves the right to defend themselves, even if they choose to use a firearm to do so? I'll come right out and say it: It doesn't.

We should be precise in our response and always explain why the proposed legislation won't protect lives but will make innocent people more vulnerable to attack.

What should we do then? How about starting off by conceding things like in a killer's hands, yes guns can kill more people than knives.

But then explain that nearly every one of these random attacks takes place in a gun-free zone. It is therefore painfully obvious that banning guns in a location only affects law-abiding people and gives criminals assurance that no one there will have the ability to shoot back.

Fact: Banning guns = More death

The fact is that banning guns would end up with more people dying to violent attacks. Estimates on the number of times firearms are used to save lives range from 500,000 on the low end to 3 million on the high end. Compare this to 11,004 people who were murdered using firearms in 2016.

I do not want to come across as being fine with 11,004 lives being lost to criminals using firearms. While we can't know how each defensive gun use would have played out, but if we use the low estimation of 5000,000 defensive gun uses in a year, it is fair to presume that we would see many more people severely injured or killed had they not had a firearm to defend themselves or someone else. We want legislation that will save lives, not create more victims.

It is estimated that responsibly armed Americans save between 500K to 3 million lives a year. Even on the low end, this number dwarfs the number of tragic deaths where the attacker used a firearm.

We can explain that in the vast majority of incidents like this, the attacker only stops killing innocent people when he/she is shot, kills themselves or is confronted by police. So if the person doesn't stop on their own, someone with a gun is needed.

By making it next to impossible for law abiding, responsible people to carry guns, you actually prolong the window an attacker can kill, by limiting the options to just police.

Carrying a firearm is not for everyone, but for those who accept the risk and responsibility we should be grateful. Why? Because armed citizens are successful at stopping an attacker 94% of the time. And we know this because we did the research.

More arguments

We can explain that there are relatively few guns as it is in Japan, as opposed to the United States where 27 million guns were sold last year alone. Prohibiting you or me from getting a firearm won't stop a criminal from getting one of the of potentially billions of guns that are in the country already.

And to neuter my magazines to lower capacity only means an attacker can potentially attack with a superior tool. This is not the same argument that people already drink and drive, so we shouldn't make laws to punish those who do. That is a false equivalency.

The better analogy would be that people drive drunk, so we should either ban alcohol or cars. Well, we know that either of those bans or even restrictions would have the same results to that of the 10-year assault rifle ban of 1994. That being, it had zero effect on violent crime.

Knowing that more guns are used to save lives than take them, and banning guns doesn't reduce crime, why would we do it?

If the sign worked, why would the section in red be necessary?

A solution

How about addressing the fact that even in a location with the most strict gun laws a person was able to stab 18 people and only stopped when he killed himself is a bad thing. Only two died, but they are still as dead as anyone who was shot to death.

And when I hear the phrase ‘if we can save one life then it is worth it' I can't help but agree. Except I don't agree with the solution offered.

I agree every murder is tragic, no matter what tool was used to end the life. And I believe we do far more to save lives by addressing the causes of violence and depression in our country. Happy, well-adjusted people don't go out and murder other humans.

Imagine if all the anti-gun and pro-gun arguments went away, and all of that focus was simply placed on helping people become happier. Things like the sense of purpose that comes from working and being able to provide for yourself. The love that comes from marriage and having children. The ability to say what they feel without it being twisted and becoming a pariah.

These are only a few responses to gun-control arguments that we have written about. I'll link to some more at the bottom of the post. And I will go on record and say I will support any gun control law if it passes this three-pronged test. First, it must be proven to save lives.

Second, the benefits must not outweigh the drawbacks ie. it cannot be overly burdensome to the law-abiding gun owner. Finally, it must not be in violation of constitutional law. If it passes all three, I would support it. However, I have yet to see any proposal that can pass the test.

Let's all start by agreeing on the following. Stop trying to convince people that 9 round magazines are safer than 10 round magazines. Stop saying I want to own an AR-15 because the Bill of Rights says I can and you can't do a thing to stop me. Stop saying all liberals want to take away our guns because it is no different than saying, gun owners don't care if children get killed at school.

If you are going to be the person with the loudest voice, you better have done your homework and have something intelligent to say.

Defining the Slippery Slope Gun Rights Argument

Why Magazine Capacity Limitations are a Bad Idea

No One Needs an AR-15

The NRA is Killin Our Kids

About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. Doug on June 22, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Does it matter which tool is more dangerous? Cars kill far more that either. When the government controls your means for self protection, you are no longer free, but a ward of the state, a subject, a slave. A State which coddles criminals, allows unfettered access by illegal aliens, fails to enforce its own laws yet criminalizes the innocent.

  2. dusty on June 22, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Good comment

  3. ROGER on June 23, 2019 at 8:43 pm


    • THOMAS NICHOLSON on October 22, 2019 at 7:32 am

      I thought the article was good, however there was one issue that I believe does not help his case. It states, according to FBI numbers,
      11,004 people were murdered in 2016. It also says guns were used to save between 500,000 – 3,000,000 lives. It goes on to say if less guns were in the hands of good people, there would be at least 488,996 more victims. While I fully believe well trained good people with guns is a good thing, saying it saves at least around 500,000 lives is in error. It makes the assumption that without the intervention of a friendly gun, every one of those circumstances would have resulted is a death. This assertion is just not plausible, though I’m sure there were some lives saved. I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the article, but the claim of the lives saved just struck me as unbelievable.

      • Matthew Maruster on October 22, 2019 at 8:04 am

        Thomas, totally valid point. While I believe that John Lott’s estimation (based off of CDC study) is valid, there truly is no way to know if in each of those instances the person(s) would have lost their life. My intent was not to assert that each use of a firearm definitely saved a life. You are correct that is the way it is written. It has been updated to better reflect the assertion that ‘While we can’t know how each defensive gun use would have played out, if we use the low estimation of 5000,000 defensive gun uses in a year, it is fair to presume that we would see more people severely injured or killed had they not had a firearm to defend themselves or someone else.

        Thanks for bringing that to my attention Thomas

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