A recent Op Ed in the Seattle Times by Amy Wales, makes a number of questionable points about guns and how best to reduce gun violence.
Lets look at some of her points:
My father, Tom Wales, was murdered in 2001. The same year he was shot and killed in our Seattle home, approximately 29,000 firearm deaths were reported in the United States. About half were criminalhomicides and half suicides, with a small percentage also due to gun accidents. Gun violence is not just about crime.
Its actually closer to a 57% suicide to 40% homicide split, 16,907 suicides and 11,927 homicides, and that is all homicides, which includes all people who were killed by a gun, including justified homicides and self defense cases, not just criminal homicides.
Yes, criminals will continue to acquire firearms (legally and otherwise) and commit gun crimes with them.
According to the 1997 Survey of State Prison Inmates, among those possessing a gun, the source of the gun was from:
a flea market or gun show for fewer than 2%
a retail store or pawnshop for about 12%
family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source for 80%
The issue we have yet to address is that of law-abiding citizens purchasing guns that later cause the intentional or unintentional death of the gun owner or someone else.
So that is the real question... how do we keep guns legally purchased by law abiding citizens from later causing the intentional or unintentional death of the gun owner or someone else.
Well, lets see... if its the intentional death of the gun owner or someone else, which would include suicide, murder or justifiable homicide / self defense, according to Ms. Wales:
While perhaps little can be done to prevent a person who is determined to commit suicide or murder, death may be avoided in cases where the impulse is temporary and bodily violence minimized.
So it sounds like there is not much that can be done about suicide or murder so I guess she is in favor of reducing justifiable homicide / self defense.
Now if its the unintentional death of the gun owner or someone else... according to Ms. Wales, of the 29,000 gun deaths in 2003:
with a small percentage also due to gun accidents.
So what she really wants to focus on are those things that "little can be done to prevent", suicide and murder, the "small percentage... due to gun accidents", and of course justifiable homicides and self defense.
Now her solution is to treat gun violence as a public health issue:
When we give flu shots to those most in need, we are exercising a public-health strategy and targeting intervention where it counts. For guns, we can also save lives but only if we look at firearm-related death as the public-health epidemic that it is.
So gun violence is an "epidemic". Now an epidemic is defined as a disease that appears as new cases in a given human population, during a given period, at a rate that substantially exceeds what is expected. The problem is that over the last 10 or 15 years, gun violence has DECREASED. Gun deaths are down about 25% nationwide since the early to mid 90s.
Now let me suggest that we SHOULD treat gun violence like an epidemic just like we do with other epidemics like certain diseases. Lets insist that we teach proper gun safety in schools and make sure all public school children have access to trigger locks and gun safes. How about it?
I just have some questions... if gun violence is caused by the number of guns and how easily available they are, why is it that most gun deaths, and almost all cases with multiple deaths, seem to happen in places where only the murderer is armed. Why do they happen in gun free zones and not at shooting ranges or gun shows or NRA conventions or police stations? Why is it the gun control crowd thinks that someone who is in a state of mind to commit a capital offense such as murder, would somehow reconsider if they were also violating a gun control law? Do people not rob banks because they do not want to break a speeding law leaving the scene of the crime? Why is it that the recent shootings at Capitol Hill by Kyle Huff only stopped shortly after he was confronted by an officer with... a gun. How many more would have died if it had been 5 minutes until someone armed showed up or 10 minutes instead of 2 minutes? How many could have been saved if someone in the house had a concealed carry permit and knew how to properly use a gun in self defense?