Guns Don’t Kill People. Gun Laws Do!

There are more than 200 million guns in ciruclation in the US. More than 40 percent of households claim to have one or more guns in the home. And those numbers have grown dramatically ever since a man of African-American heritage was inaugurated as president.

According to statistics compiled by the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and calculated by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in a single year almost 100,000 Americans are shot or killed with a gun. Of those, 31,593 people die from gun violence, including the 12,179 who are murdered. Another 66,769 Americans survive gun injuries, including 44,466 who are shot in an attack. In one year, 18,223 Americans kill themselves with guns, and 3,031 more survive a suicide attempt with a gun.

Among 23 populous, high-income countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occur in the United States.

Obviously, we need more gun control. Not less. But hunters and gun collectors need not worry about common sense regulations for hunting rifles and shotguns. Gun violence statistics overwhelmingly apply to handguns.

For example, in 2005, 75% of the 10,100 firearm-involved homicides in the United States were committed using handguns. That compares to just 4% with rifles and 5% with shotguns. The remaining 16% were committed using an unspecified type of firearm. So it’s clear that merely limiting the sale and carry of handguns could greatly diminish gun violence in the US.

As for Teapublican and National Rifle Association (please note the word “rifle” in the name) claims that guns are needed to prevent crimes, statistics clearly expose those claims as fraudulent. According to the FBI, each year private citizens are responsible for approximately 200 legally justified self-defense homicides. An even more inconvenient statistic for handgun proponents is from a 2009 study which found that people in possession of a gun are 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault!

Guns are used to intimidate and threaten 4 to 6 times more often than they are used to thwart crime. They are 4 times more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting than for self-defense and 22 times more likely to be used in a suicide.

Further, it’s estimated that gun violence in the US costs $100 billion annually.  So limiting the sale and possession of handguns could even help lower our national debt!