Perhaps the greatest obstacle to acquiring an understanding of the facts surrounding the gun control debate is the firm conviction of many on both sides that most of the critical facts are self-evident. Is it not indisputable that the availability of guns increases the homicide rate and plays a large role in America's high violence rates? How could the possession and use of deadly weapons NOT raise the murder rate? Alternatively, is it not obvious that widespread private gun ownership deters crime? The debaters begin with premises that are so thoroughly taken for granted that they never consider evaluating them.