Views expressed in opinion columns are the author's own.
The issue of gun control resurfaced after the tragedy in Las Vegas — and with it, a plethora of Facebook posts, tweets and op-eds from both sides of the political spectrum.
They end up reiterating the same discussions and arguments from previous incidents, but much of the evidence used is myth. Therefore, in an effort to engender some new and more productive conversations on the subject, this column is dedicated to providing clarification.
Myth 1: Gun ownership doesn't link to gun deaths.
Fact: In the U.S. and other developed countries, the proportion of adults who own firearms is positively correlated with homicide and suicide rates in those countries.
Myth 2: Gun control should be treated the same way we treated smoking and tobacco: ousted now that we can see how detrimental it is. The National Rifle Association is just like Big Tobacco from decades ago.
Fact: Unlike Big Tobacco, gun ownership is a right granted by the Second Amendment. And without a new constitutional amendment, gun ownership is still protected under the Constitution.
Myth 3: Gun restrictions won't affect the suicide rate because people will choose other options.
Fact: While there are many tragic and horrible ways for people to end their lives, none are as effective as guns. Access to firearms is also a risk factor for suicide. By making firearms less accessible, people in distress are more likely to survive — or not even attempt — suicide in the first place. There have been more gun suicides than homicides in the last 15 years, and the trend shows no sign of changing.
Myth 4: The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Fact: Multiple studies have proven that in active shooter situations, people are more likely to hurt themselves or innocent bystanders than deter an active shooter.
Myth 5: Gun control doesn't work in other countries.
Myth 6: Law enforcement benefits when more people can carry weapons.
Fact: Police officers are more likely to be killed in the line of duty in states with less restrictive gun laws.
Whatever your opinion on gun legislation, we need the facts to foster more intelligent conversation around the topic. That begins with seeking out credible sources of information and doing independent research to draw conclusions.
With objective knowledge, we can work on creating solutions to America's gun problem — solutions that address both pragmatic and legal concerns, and ultimately make the United States safer.
Moshe Klein is a junior economics and government and politics major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.