Gun control advocates up in arms again.

Mar 10, 2009 by

s_safetyrules The tragic murder of a pregnant woman by an 11 year old boy has given gun control advocates fuel to add to their misguided attempts to take firearms away from law-abiding Americans. The 11 year old used a 20-gauge shotgun that was given to him by his father to fatally shoot the father’s pregnant girlfriend.

The article by the Associated Press highlights the fact that hunting is a way of life in the rural area where 11 year old Jordan Brown regularly practiced target shooting with his 20-gauge, youth model shotgun. The article goes on to say that gun control advocates are worried that manufacturers are increasingly focusing their marketing toward children with smaller, lighter models that are easier for them to handle.

Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group in Washington, D.C., says:

The industry portrays youth gun possession as risk-free, and when something bad happens, they always blame the kid and not the presence of the gun. We think the risks clearly outweigh the benefits.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Every firearm I have ever purchased came with many warnings and cautions about the safe handling and storage of firearms. No one in the firearms industry considers firearm ownership and use to be risk-free. Firearms are to be treated with the same respect and care that you would afford a chain saw or a skill saw or any other potentially dangerous tool. If used with care and common sense, firearms are no more dangerous than any other potentially dangerous object. I have seen ladders with 12 warning labels on them but people still fall off them every day. The same holds true with firearms. Paul Helmke, president of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said:

If you are keeping loaded guns around the house and you have kids, you’re asking for a tragedy.

Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Most gun owners who have children in the house are very aware of the potential for tragedy and act accordingly. But no matter how many laws you pass or hoops you require a gun owner to jump through, there is always going to be some irresponsible parent who doe not adhere to proper safety precautions. The same is true with drunk drivers. You can pass laws until the cows come home but some people are still going to drive drunk. Parents who negligently cause their children to be injured or killed by their guns will be punished by the law, the same as a drunk driver. No responsible gun-owning parent is “asking” for a tragedy. Jerry Feaser, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, put the incident in the proper perspective.

The Brown case violated the basic tenets of firearm safety and hunting safety. This had nothing to do with hunting.

I would like to take this opportunity to fire a few salvos at the gun control advocates. One of the comments made in the article was that in many states rifles and shotguns are not registered and are not required to be sold with trigger locks. First, I don’t see how registering a rifle or shotgun would contribute to firearms safety. As for not selling rifles or shotguns with trigger locks, every firearm I have purchased in Virginia was sold with a locking mechanism.

I would also like to highlight a few statistics that show how safe firearms really are. Various statistics on firearm ownership in the United States put the number of firearms owned as high as 235,000,000. 42% of U.S. households own firearms. Yet in 2007, FBI statistics recorded 10,086 firearm homicides in 49 states. 235 million firearms yet only 11,348 firearms related homicides. You can do the math but it is easy to see that the vast majority of firearms in America are never used in a crime. On the other hand the Virginia Citizens Defense League estimates that there are about 2,500,000 defensive uses of a firearm in the United States every year. That is 2,500,000 instances were a crime was prevented or someone’s life was saved. In 92% of those cases no shots were fired.

As for total deaths due to firearms, in the U.S. for 2001 there were 29,573 deaths of which 16,869 were suicide, 11,348 homicides (as previously stated), 802 accidental and 323 by legal intervention. Again the statistics show that accidental deaths by firearms were only 802 in a whole year with over 200 million firearms in America. So firearm ownership by responsible parents is hardly “asking for a tragedy.”

Looking at accident statistics for areas other that firearms portrays a much clearer picture of the “dangers” of firearms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2005, there were 32,691 poisoning deaths in the United States. Of those deaths 23,618 (72%) were unintentional (compared to the 802 accidental deaths by firearms) and 3,240 (10%) were of undetermined intent. That leaves almost 6,000 deaths that were basically homicide or suicide by poisoning.

When you start talking about automobile accidents in the United States the statistics are staggering. In 2005 there were nearly 6,420,000 auto accidents in the United States. Those accidents resulted in 2.9 million people injured and 42,636 people killed. Comparing the total deaths due to firearms of 29,573 to the total deaths due to auto accidents of 42,536, you tell me which is more dangerous, firearms ownership or automobile ownership? Do those statistics warrant the statement that owning a automobile is tantamount to “asking for a tragedy?” That is the statement made by Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Ask yourself where you think it would be safer for your 16 year old son or daughter to be, out hunting with you or driving alone on the Interstate. My money is on hunting with you. What do you think?

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