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Live by the Gun, Die by the Gun
Author: BobR    Date: 2013-09-09 11:50:58

It's been months since the shooting in Sandy Hook. Since then we've had numerous other stories, the latest being the NSA, spying, and Syria. The "guns will keep you safe" nonsense is not as prevalent anymore because the push for common-sense gun control regulations has taken a back seat to other "priorities". But as each day passes, more people die from gunshots.

A recent news story brings back an even older story of a gun-rights zealot who wore her gun on her hip to her daughter's soccer game back in 2008. That woman was killed a few days ago in an apparent murder/suicide:
A mother of three who became a voice of the gun-rights movement when she openly carried a loaded pistol to her daughter's soccer game was fatally shot along with her husband, a parole officer and former prison guard, in an apparent murder-suicide at their home.
[...]
Meleanie Hain always carried her holstered 9mm Glock pistol, even to the grocery store, and was holding a rifle while she talked to someone outside her house last week, Fortna said.

"I'm shocked at the whole thing," Fortna said. "I'm surprised she didn't defend herself."

Is it that shocking? What should be shocking is the false assumption that keeping a gun strapped to you at all times will keep you safe. What should be shocking is the repeated notion that guns in the house reduce the chance of being killed, when the opposite appears to be true, based on repeated studies:
Twelve or more U.S. case control studies have compared individuals who died by suicide with those who did not and found those dying by suicide were more likely to live in homes with guns.
[...]
Ecologic studies that compare states with high gun ownership levels to those with low gun ownership levels find that in the U.S., where there are more guns, there are more suicides. The higher suicide rates result from higher firearm suicides; the non-firearm suicide rate is about equal across states.
[...]
About 85% of attempts with a firearm are fatal: that’s a much higher case fatality rate than for nearly every other method. Many of the most widely used suicide attempt methods have case fatality rates below 5%. (See Case Fatality Ratio by Method of Self-Harm.)

Attempters who take pills or inhale car exhaust or use razors have some time to reconsider mid-attempt and summon help or be rescued. The method itself often fails, even in the absence of a rescue. Even many of those who use hanging can stop mid-attempt as about half of hanging suicides are partial-suspension (meaning the person can release the pressure if they change their mind) (Bennewith 2005).With a firearm, once the trigger is pulled, there’s no turning back.


At this point, the reality is that the pro-gun crowd will always win the legal-rights challenge. The 2nd amendment has been argued in the SCOTUS enough times, and the fear of the NRA among elected officials is high enough that little (if anything) can be done to limit access to firearms.

It's time to take a different tack. It's time to counteract the NRA propaganda.

The data shows that guns do not make you safer.
The data shows that the best way to prevent death by accident or suicide via gunshot is to not have a gun in the house.
The data (and the lead-in story) shows that even with a gun strapped to your belt, your chances of getting it out in time to defend yourself are very low.
Having a gun makes you less likely to avoid situations and confrontations because you feel more confident with it.
A gun can turn an argument or anger into murder

Death by gunshot is an American health problem. We can't distribute free condoms to prevent these deaths. However, we can educate people about what safety REALLY means, so they don't make the wrong choice of bringing a firearm into their home. The NRA and Congress can't legislate that away.

60 comments (Latest Comment: 09/09/2013 23:14:01 by Will in Chicago)
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