As a naive European, I thought that the self-defense argument for guns in the US was mostly based on the high number of guns already in the country. In other words, I thought that the argument takes into account the fact that many people have guns already, so in this context it's safer to have a gun.
However I now understand that some (most?) gun advocates argue that guns make people safer in general. As far as I understand, the self-defense argument is "more guns less crime", because law-abiding citizens can use their gun to prevent the crime from happening in the first place. For example this article says that "guns save more lives than they take; prevent more injuries than they inflict".
This argument implies that a society in which many citizens have guns is safer than one in which few citizens have guns, therefore should have less crime overall. Statistics seem to contradict this argument: for example the homicide rate in the EU is about one third of the rate in the US. If the argument were valid, one would expect a much higher crime rate in the EU than in the US, given the very low rate of gun ownership in the EU.
- Is my understanding of the "more guns less crime" argument correct?
- Is the argument considered valid by most mainstream gun advocates?
- If yes, how do gun advocates explain the case of the EU, which looks like a counter-example to this theory?
Remark: the comparison against the EU seems legitimate given the roughly similar size, population, economic, democratic and education levels. In case this comparison is considered biased, I'd like to know which EU/US differences could explain why the "more guns less crime" argument is somehow not applicable to the EU.