Deaths by Firearm Rank Low in U.S.

by Jon E. Dougherty

To hear Handgun Control, Inc. tell it, guns — specifically handguns — are the worst killers of both children and adults since the birth of the modern American nation-state. But the reality of the issue is this: Guns, in all applications and under all conditions and circumstances, routinely kill far fewer Americans annually than a number of other unrelated causes. In fact, as Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck has regularly proven, guns actually save about 2.5 million lives a year.

Yes, I know — what can we expect? After all, this is Handgun Control, Inc. and they have no compunction against telling the truth as they want it to be, instead of using documented facts — all of them — to present their case to their constituents and the American people in general. The establishment media has a large hand in perpetuating these lies and distortions of truth.

Well, after becoming nauseated from reading so much illogical and incorrect hype regarding the "big scare" over guns, I decided to do what Handgun Control and a bunch of other liberal anti-gunners ought to do themselves — I did research.

Imagine that. What I discovered was what I expected to find — and more. And it was easy; all it took was a little time. So, hopefully the next time an anti-gunner gets in your face about that Glock you're packing underneath your coat, you'll be able to halt him with facts and, with a little luck, even change his mind.

According to the National Safety Council, in 1996 alone, 120,000 deaths resulted not from guns but from accidental medical errors. In 1998, around 41,200 people were killed in automobile accidents; falls claimed 16,600; poisonings killed 8,400; about 4,100 people drowned; and some 3,700 were killed in fires or from burns.
[See "Deaths due to unintentional injury, 1998" from the National Safety Council]

These figures ought to be enough to get the litigation vultures on Lawyer Row in a tizzy thinking about what color of Jaguar to order next — or how many.

To continue: Rather than guns being the leading cause of death in the home — accidental or otherwise — falls have that dubious honor. In 1998, home accidents in general accounted for about 28,200 fatalities, and about 6.1 million debilitating injuries. Of that figure, falls numbered 10,700. Most people who fell — more than 86 percent — were aged 65 or older. Falls are followed by deadly solid and liquid poisonings, fires and burns, and suffocation by ingested object as the leading killers in the home.

Of "Deaths and Injuries in the Community," the NSC said, "the five leading fatal causes are falls, drowning, water, air and railroad transportation."

From 1994-96, there were 129,536 deaths from automobile accidents and approximately 350,000 accidental medical deaths. This compares with 47,115 shooting deaths in the same period of time. Obviously we need to outlaw cars, hospitals and doctors as well as guns, eh?

As for kids — the favorite "pull-on-their-heartstrings" line used by liberal anti-gunners — firearms are a child's (or a parent's) least serious worry.

In 1998, motor vehicle accident deaths claimed the lives of 2,600 children aged 0 to 14; 200 suffocated to death; 570 were killed by fire or burns; 850 drowned; 70 were poisoned, 160 died from falls; and 40 died from carbon monoxide inhalation. During the same period, guns "principally in recreational activities or on home premises" accidentally killed 110 kids aged 1 to 14 years. Other methods, including "medical and surgical complications and misadventures, machinery, air transport, water transport (except drowning), mechanical suffocation, and excessive cold," killed an additional 500 children.

So, as you can see, guns are not our biggest health problem in this country. As I measure it, liberal anti-gunners, who either lie outright or use only smidgens of fact to "justify" their anti-gun hysteria, are far more dangerous.

For the record, yes — I agree that one child killed is too many when it comes to death by firearms.

But I'll tell you something as a parent: I have nearly lost children to common household accidents, and my kids would have been just as dead as if they'd shot themselves with a pistol by accident. Their loss would have been extremely painful, no matter the cause. I can take every single gun out of my house and out of my neighborhood, but as the statistics above show I am more likely to lose a child to another kind of accident in the first place.

So what is the point?

For parents who lose children to other "normal" everyday causes, their deaths are just as painful, as tragic and as unpreventable as any other cause. And we should grieve for them. If you're a committed liberal anti-gunner, if you think banning every gun is a do-able task and will guarantee that your kids will survive their childhood — even in your own home — you're deluded beyond help.

Because the reality is, we cannot ban everything dangerous to our children or our society. If we do that, we'll all end up living in empty rooms, in empty houses, and probably killing each other out of desperate boredom.

Then we'll have to ban ourselves from existence — which will include lawyers, judges and juries, so who will take, hear and decide our cases?

Jon E. Dougherty is a staff writer for WorldNetDaily.
2000, Inc.


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5 feb 2000