Join Date: July 20, 2005
The author seems to misinterpret, overestimate, or simply have his facts wrong in a number of areas.
The author first addresses accidental death and suicide by firearm among children and adolescents. The way the author writes the article, we would be had to believe that firearm accidents and suicides are of epidemic proportion. This, however, does not bear out when one examines the numbers.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics (part of the CDC), as of 2007 accidental death by firearm among children age 0-19 years (138 per 100,000) is well behind motor vehicle accidents (6,683), drowning (1,056), fires/burns (544), poisoning(972), and suffocation/strangulation (1,263).
When it comes to suicide, the author points out that firearms are the most popular and effective means used in the U.S. While that statement is not overtly false, it is misleading. While the majority of successful suicides in the United States are by firearm, the majority of attempted suicides are not successful. This is primarily because of the different methods chosen by males as opposed to females. Males are more likely to choose a firearm to commit suicide and, as such, are more often successful. Females, while less likely to actually die from suicide, are much more likely to attempt suicide.
Moreover, one would think that because firearms are among the most effective means of suicide that the United States would be near the top of the list of countries with the highest suicide rates due to the easy availability of guns in the U.S. Such, however, is not the case as the U.S. ranks 34th in the world for suicide rate which is well behind other industrialized nations with far less availability of firearms including Russia, China, Japan, and France. This would seem to suggest that people who wish to take their own lives choose whatever means is available to them. As such, we cannot conclude that restrictions on the availability of firearms would necessarily reduce the U.S. suicide rate.
The author further points out that many of the guns used in crimes are stolen with the implication that had the owners of said guns stored them more securely, these thefts would not have occurred. The author makes some pretty big assumptions here the primary being that the majority of the guns stolen were not securely stored. Different types of storage devices offer differing levels of security. An inexpensive gun safe might prevent a child or "smash and grab" thief form accessing its contents, but a determined thief with a moderate amount of time and simple hand tools could gain access quite easily. Likewise, other safe storage devices such as trigger locks and portable safes only prevent immediate access to the firearm. A thief could simply make off with the whole kit and caboodle so that he can access the firearm at his leisure later.
Likewise, the author also assumes that all or nearly all of the reported thefts were indeed thefts. There are a number of reasons why a person might falsely report a gun stolen including insurance fraud and to cover up the sale of a gun to a known prohibited person both of which are already illegal. Furthermore, the author cites that a large percentage of crime guns were believed to be "probably stolen" by the criminals. This would seem to suggest that the criminal acquired the firearm from another criminal such as a fence, drug dealer, or drug user and simply assumed that it was stolen. The problem is that there are several other means by which a criminal can obtain a firearm including straw purchase, illegal purchase or gift from a friend or family member, or in trade for drugs or other illicit goods.
The author also cites "tens of thousands" of shootings by people who previously had no criminal record. Since the author neither provides an exact figure nor cites a source, we can only assume that the number of people who suddenly snap and shoot someone is between 10,000 and 99,999. If we're extremely generous and assume that every year 100,000 people suddenly snap and commit a violent crime with a gun, that still only gives us 0.1% of the 100,000,000 gun owners that the author cites. When we contrast this to the 1,246,248 violent crimes in 2010 for a population of 308,745,538, we find that violent criminals represent 0.4% of the total population.
Finally, the author mentions so-called "safe storage" laws and brags about his own $25 gun safe. Where the author goes awry here is that he assumes that what is an adequate level of access or security for one person would be adequate for another. For example, his toaster-sized $25 safe would probably be adequate to keep a curious child away from his gun, but not a determined burglar. Conversely, a gun owner whose only weapon is a rifle or shotgun cannot store his/her firearm with the same degree of security while maintaining such easy access.
Overall, I think the main mistake that the author makes is to assume that those wishing to enact ever more restrictive gun laws can be placated through self-policing of the gun-owning community. The anti's continue to push for more and more draconian gun laws despite the continuing decline of violent crime and the lack of effect that gun control laws have upon it. Even the author admits that the gun-owning community is by and large very responsible. Despite this, the gun grabbers continue to latch on to isolated incidents to further their arguments. I see no reason to believe that such people can be appeased nor that they want anything short of a total ban on private firearm ownership.
Smith, and Wesson, and Me. -H. Callahan
Well waddaya know, one buwwet weft! -E. Fudd
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures. -J. Caesar
Last edited by Webleymkv; February 19, 2013 at 12:31 PM.