Firearms Deaths

Arguments for gun control are not making any headway for sane policy in the United States. We don’t necessarily love our guns (sure there are exceptions where owning a gun or collection of guns is an obsession not unlike obsession over another person of the same or opposite sex) but we tolerate the presence of guns in society all out of proportion to any intrinsic or extrinsic values guns may have. By and large we leave gun control up to states, counties and municipalities. There is little passion for enacting federal statutes to control firearms. The result is a great disparity among the states regarding firearm deaths.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, states with the lowest rate of firearm deaths are: Hawaii, Massachusetts,, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa.

States with the highest rate of firearm deaths are: Alaska, Alabama, Montana, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, Wyoming, West Virginia, New Mexico.

What are the differences in state gun control laws between the highest and lowest rates of firearm deaths (per 100,000 non-institutionalized population)? According to a story in Deseret News (using a Brady Campaign Score) California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Rhode Island are all in the top ten. Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Maryland also make the top ten for their gun laws, while Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa don’t make the top ten on control. Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Maryland all fall at about the national rate for firearm deaths, which is at 12 per 100,000.

Automobile deaths in 2017 were estimated to be 40,100. Firearm deaths in 2017 were 39,693. In other words, we Americans are killing about as many of our fellow citizens with firearms as we are with our beloved automobiles.

The above could be used to argue that regulating firearms, as is done for automobiles, would not necessarily decrease the deaths from firearms. The difference between firearm deaths and automobile deaths is that a very small number of automobile deaths can be attributed to suicide and murder, while murder (manslaughter) and suicide make up a significant percentage of firearm deaths. Most firearm deaths are not accidental. Way too many are intentional. Way too many are legal or justified as “self defense.”

A whole host of laws have been enacted to control the use of automobiles. You can’t choose which side of the road to drive on and soon in Minnesota you are going to get into real trouble if you don’t keep your hand off your cell phone while driving. Why do we continue to protect each other from automobiles and not from guns?

I am not in favor of social apathy on guns. I am persuaded that it is time to enact control measures for firearms that are aligned with current practice and common sense. Anyone owning a gun without strict registrations and controls is to condone a social aberration (read; insanity) that has been tolerated far too long. The Second Amendment does not have to be abrogated to inject a good measure of social sanity into our national psyche.

I don’t believe we will get to a sane approach to firearms by half measures. While it will be helpful to enact laws for background checks and even a ban on assault rifles, it is time to take a serious look at much more. Gun Control is Urgently Needed – Let’s Get Real. READ MORE HERE!