Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Take A Breath Gun Wusses

The recent tragic events at Virginia Tech have re-energized the radical anti-gun factions in this country. Those who want to eliminate the availability of firearms to the general public will act upon the mistaken notion that more restrictive gun control measures would have prevented these murders.

They are wrong. And many of these anti-gun fanatics are lying to the public, particularly the press and their allies in the medical professions, by withholding information provided by a new independent generation of researchers. I have compiled some of these statistics from a book, “Armed: New Perspectives On Gun Control ,” coauthored by Gary Kleck and Don B. Kates, 2001 by Prometheus Books.

First, let’s examine a thirty year period of gun ownership in the United States and compare that to accidental deaths caused by firearms.

In 1968 there were 25,431,479 handguns and a total of 97,087,751 firearms in this ocuntry. This translates into 128.8 handguns and 491.7 firearms per 1,000 population.

By 1997 there were 94,890,222 handguns and a total of 254,512,056 firearms. This translates into 372.8 handguns and 942.6 firearms per 1,000 population.

In 1967 there were 2,896 accidental deaths inflicted by firearms. In 1997 there were 900.

In this thirty year period, handgun ownership increased by 273% and total firearms ownership increased by 162%. The number of handguns per 1,000 population increased by 191% and yet accidental deaths caused by firearms decreased by 69%. The availability of firearms, particularly handguns, had nothing to do with accidental deaths.
(Armed, pg 56)

National Safety Council Gun Accident Statistics.

In 1979 there were 2,004 firearm related accidents, by 1991 this had dwindled to 1,441. Gun accident statistics compiled by the NSC are not available prior to 1979 and after 1991. Probably because these numbers had decreased by almost 30%. And in order to access their library you have to become a member at $250 a year.

International Homicide and Suicide Rates by Firearms
Gun control advocates stress that stricter gun control will mean lower homicide and suicide rates. Using UN demographic data, we find that anti-gun researchers combine homicide and suicide rates for the US, but only report homicide rates in other countries. They do this to inflate the US numbers. The truth is, when combining international homicide and suicide rates as provided by the UN Demographic Yearbook, the US is below the median.

The Yearbook is not online, but is available from the UN at a cost of $100.

Here are the rankings:
1) Estonia (62.1)
2) Russia (41.9)
3) Latvia (35.2)
4) Lithuania (33.5)
5) Finland (30.6)
6) Ukraine (28.6)
7) Denmark (27)
8) Austria (23.8)
9) Switzerland (21.9)
10) France (21.3)
11) Belgium (20.7)
12) USA (18.8)
13) Sweden (18.5)
14) Germany (17.6)
15) Luxembourg (17.2)
16) New Zealand (15.8)
17) Canada (14.9)
18) Israel (8.5)
(ARMED, pg 61)

With the exception of Israel, the US had the lowest suicide rate of any of these countries. Israel, despite the fact that nearly everyone in the country is armed, has the lowest suicide rate (7.3) and almost the lowest homicide rate (1.2 - France and Switzerland were lower with 1.1).

Must be they don’t include terrorists in those stats.

The following information has been suppressed by the media:

Post-World War II American homicide rates peaked in 1979 and actually decreased over the fifteen years from 1980 to 1994. In this period the number of handguns in civilian hands increased from 51.7 million to 84.7 million, or by about 64 percent, while gun ownership overall increased by about 40.5 percent, from 167.7 million to 235.6 million weapons. In this time period there was no increase at all (much less a corresponding increase) in homicide rates. In fact, the rate declined from 10.2 per 100,000 population to 9.0 per 100,000 in 1994. (Armed, pg 67)

If we are to examine the data behind the availability and use of firearms in crime, let's at least take an honest look at the data. Stop foaming at the mouth and make rational public policy decisions based on facts rather than fervor.

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