A recent article published on Kentucky claims that a majority of deaths by firearm can be blamed on the law-abiding citizens. Author Stephen Senft first tries to explore what went wrong when a 2-year-old child shot his mother.
The Nicholas Kristof column referring to the 2-year-old shooting his mother ends with, “Something is amiss….”
Something is much worse than amiss with the people we elect to Congress and state legislatures, and with many in the general population.
The Centers for Disease Control’s 2013 data show that an average of 323 people were shot every day in this country, 92 fatally. Every month, more are killed by gunshot here than the total U.S. military personnel killed in the 13-plus years of war in Afghanistan.
He then continues to provide unsourced statistics to show just how horrible gun violence is. However, he does not mention intentional suicides or how those play into all of this.
If you ACTUALLY look at the CDC FastStats for Death by Firearm, you will see a total of 33,636 deaths be firearm were reported in 2013. This is that scary number that this author is manipulating to make his point, but he missed a huge step.
If you THEN go to the CDC FastStats for Self-Inflicted Injury/Suicide, you will see that 21,175 out of the 33,636 he listed is actually from someone intentionally killing themselves with a firearm. But he doesn’t mention that until the very end of the article, after readers have already assumed that the number listed above is excluding INTENTIONAL firearm use.
Note– someone intentionally shooting themselves is not ‘misuse’ of a gun. It is ‘misuse’ of proper medical care.
He then goes as far as stating that guns are legally available to ‘just about anybody from preschool children to illegal drug dealers’. This is insane!
First, for a gun to be ‘legally available’ to anyone, they have to be over the age of 21 AND have to forego a criminal background check. Habitual criminals, illegal drug dealers, and gang members would NOT be able to obtain a gun LEGALLY. Children under the age of 21 would NOT be able to obtain a gun legally.
Under present laws and levels of enforcement, guns are legally available to just about anybody from preschool children to illegal drug dealers, gang members, habitual criminals, domestic abusers, severely mentally distressed people who may be a danger to themselves or others, and prison escapees.
The NRA/gun manufacturers/gun dealers complex has played upon irrational fears, deceitful data use, patriotic mythology and adolescent male emotionalism to create a fantasy view of the value of easy access to guns.
He then claims that the NRA/gun manufacturers/gun dealers never talk about how to prevent gun misuse. Excuse me while I laugh out loud. The NRA and other gun ranges have safety rules posted through-out the range. The NRA in particular makes you take a gun safety and range safety exam before they even let you into the firing lane. The NRA along with other organizations also OFFER GUN SAFETY CLASSES TO EVERYONE. So how exactly are they ‘never’ talking about how you can prevent accidents?
View NRA Gun Safety Tips here.
View National Shooting Sports Foundation tips on gun safety here.
View example of business dedicated to Firearms Training here.
And last one of many, Armed Defense Training tips on gun safety here.
They always talk about gun rights and self-defense but never about how to prevent frequent misuse of guns by ordinary citizens. Here are basic points that need to be recognized for creating a rational public policy:
1. Guns are designed to be used for destructive acts.
2. Everyone who has access to a gun and is old enough to understand the power of a gun is planning to kill someone if the “right” circumstances arise.
3. Most people who have access to guns have never been screened or trained to safely use the destructive power of guns, and especially have not been trained how to decide when to shoot another person.
4. The result of the first three points is that almost all gunshot injuries and deaths are caused by law-abiding citizens misusing guns.
Then he lists 4 points that he thinks should be recognized when creating public policy.
#1. Gun are designed to be used for destructive acts: Guns are designed to be used for a multitude of reasons including self-defense, sports, and hunting. It is the shooter who makes them destructive.
#2. Everyone who has access to a gun is planning to kill: No. This is false. I don’t sit in my room and stare at my gun until a bad experience comes my way and plot all of the ways I am going to kill someone with it. This ideology is absolutely, mind-numbingly, stupid. It is there for my protection. If I NEED to use it, I can also make the choice to injure someone. I am not automatically assuming that I will need to use deadly force on an intruder. Go back and read some of my articles showing how attackers/intruders either fled the scene or were held at gunpoint until proper authority arrived.
#3. Most people who have access to guns have not been properly trained: First, I would like to know where he got his information on this one. Once again, no source. Second, think of the certain course requirements that must be fulfilled before you can apply for your CCW.
#4. Almost all gunshot injuries and deaths are caused by law-abiding citizens misusing guns: FALSE. He says it himself in the end of the article. 60% of gun deaths in the US each year are from suicides. You then have police shootings in that mix, you have some accidental shootings, and you have homicides. How does this equal ‘almost all’ gun injuries and deaths are caused by law-abiding citizens misusing guns?
The most frequent fatality caused by gun use is suicide. Nationally about 60 percent of gunshot deaths are suicides; in Kentucky it’s about 70 percent, according to the CDC and National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Also, most murders happen between two persons with a close association. Unlimited access to guns makes it easy for a conflict to become deadly.
When Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul respond to letters urging logical gun access restrictions they just talk about rights and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. They never say one word, nor have ever taken any action, to prevent the kinds of misuse of guns by law-abiding citizens that account for almost all gunshot damage. Likewise, Rep. Andy Barr’s response to contacts is to make vague representations about doing something to reduce gun injuries and deaths, but he has accomplished nothing.
What is more than amiss is that the unlimited-access-to-guns complex has so intimidated our elected officials that they are not following the U.S. Constitution’s goal to “promote the general welfare.”