Gun Safety is Not the Issue, Disarmament Is
I stated on a recent Facebook post that I was going to deal with the phony report, “Young Guns: A Diane Sawyer Special,” that ABC News was doing on their Sunday show. Someone responded, “I hope you’re not going to spin this the way I think you’re going to.” Me? Spin something?
Why accuse me of spin before I even get there? And why on earth would I question ABC News and Diane Sawyer? I’m guessing that person leans left and feels that ABC News is “THE” definitive news source, or at least one of the many in the mainstream media.
So, am I going to spin it? YES! I’m going to spin it back towards the truth of the matter. The “Young Guns” special makes many “factual” statements. Let’s check them out:
1.7 million — The number of kids under age 18 who lived in homes with a loaded and unlocked firearm in 2002. (CDC) Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Considering there are over 220 million registered guns in the country, accounting for unregistered guns I would estimate there are closer to a total of 300 million guns in homes across America. 1.7 million is approximately ½ of a percent. Insignificant, by comparison.
31 — The percentage of U.S. households with at least one child and a gun in the home in 2012. (General Social Survey). OK, less than one third of American homes have both a child and at least one gun. Although we hear about gun violence more often now, it is actually on the decrease.
The next few stats were somewhat confusing. The “Young Guns” report lumps both kids and youth together, whereas the CDC definitions are different:
1,337 — The number of American kids under age 18 who died from gunshot wounds in 2010. This is trending down from 1,490 in 2005 and 1,544 in 2000. (CDC)
7,391 — The number of American kids and teens under age 20 who were hospitalized from firearm injuries in 2009. That means that on average a child or teen is shot almost every hour. (Yale School of Medicine)
98 — The number of American kids under age 18 who died from accidental shootings in 2010. This is trending down from 150 deaths in 2000 and 417 deaths in 1990. (CDC)
85 — Roughly the percentage of accidental shootings of children where the shooter was also a child in 2003-2006. (Catherine Barber, MPA, Harvard School of Public Health)
80 — The percentage of accidental shooting victims who were boys in 2010. (CDC)
Without spinning anything, let’s just break these out. Let me first say, anything we can reasonably do to protect our children should be done. Any loss of life due to negligence from someone with respect to kids is almost unforgivable.
Among the many definitions of “accidental gunshot wounds” and other gun violence sub categories listed by the CDC are:
- Celebratory firing that was not intended to frighten, control, or harm anyone
- A person shoots himself when using a gun to frighten, control, or harm another person
- A person mistakenly thinks a gun is unloaded and shoots himself or another person while fooling around with it
- A person unintentionally shoots someone while defending himself against an aggressor
- A person unintentionally shoots another person while using a gun to commit a crime
- Firearm injuries caused by unintentionally striking a person with the firearm, e.g., by dropping it on someone’s head, rather than with a projectile fired from the firearm (potential homicide or non-NVDRS accident)
- Unintentional injuries from non-powder guns such as BB, pellet, and other compressed air or gas-powered guns (potential homicide or suicide)
- A person engaged in a suicidal act, then changed his mind, but still died as a result of the act
Sawyer’s ABC News report does not clearly distinguish between crimes committed by young people vs. accidental gun injuries. Let me emphasize, all of these issues are on the decline except in gun-free, big city zones. That’s a story for another day!
I found more stats than I can print, so let’s just pick on Chicago. A few years back Chicago contributed 508 “kids” to the above statistics in little more than a year. Almost all of the ”kids” were male and a majority of those shootings occurred between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Take a minute and think it through. The majority of the shootings were done while committing a crime and because they were under 19, they are categorized as “kids.” An 18 year-old “kid” robbing a 7-11 and getting shot on his way out is considered in the above numbers. These are not accidental!
My irritation with the “Young Guns” story is that they over dramatize and lie about the whole truth in order to get us on their side. How about you just give us the facts, the “real” facts, and let us decide what to do with them? Do you realize when you lie to us we don’t act on the information and then, like the boy who cried wolf, when there’s actually a real problem we don’t believe you and when something bad happens, the blood is on YOUR hands not ours.
The accidental gun death rate has been falling since 1930 and US accidental gun deaths per year were down to 613 by 2007, out of the over 300 million people (CDC). By comparison, there were 29,846 accidental deaths by poisoning in 2007 (CDC). Note that it is extremely easy to prevent accidental gun deaths if you simply take the proper precautions to keep your young children from accidentally gaining access to your guns.
If Sawyer was trying to get us to understand about real gun safety in our homes why use the above? Why not just tell us about the 2000 real kids whose parents or relatives did not secure their guns properly like most responsible gun owners do, who did not teach their kids about proper gun safety, and whose kids were hurt or killed? Because “gun safety” isn’t on the agenda…
America, wake up or you’re gonna lose the country!