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Dangerous toys

 

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."
Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

I don't hunt. I'm no vegetarian, and I fully understand how my steak gets to the plate. I have all the respect in the world for people who do, it's just not my thing. I do shoot. Often. I shoot paper targets, clay pigeons, Ritz crackers, golf balls, bowling pins, empty shotgun hulls, and just about anything else that strikes me as an interesting target. If you haven't ever spent an afternoon bouncing shotgun hulls around the range with a .22 pistol, you really should try it.

I own target guns because I enjoy shooting them, and teaching my daughters how to shoot them. I own defensive pistols because there are evil people in this world. I carry a defensive pistol for the same reason people wear seat belts, not because they are expecting to get into an accident, but because if they are in an accident, the seat belt won't do them any good if they don't have it on. I own defensive rifles in case of extreme need. I train and practice with all of these weapons so that I am proficient with their use should they be needed. This is the intent of the 2nd amendment to our constitution, that normal citizens of this country be armed and prepared to defend themselves and their country when needed.

Guns are not an evil talisman that turns honest people into raving lunatics. Guns are inanimate objects. No gun has ever committed a crime. Evil people use guns in evil ways, good people use guns in good ways. In the hands of a murderer, guns can be used to kill innocents. In the hands of a hunter, guns facilitate harvesting game. In the hands of a target shooter, guns are used for sport and competition. In the hands of a solder, guns defend and protect our nation. In the hands of law abiding citizens, guns prevent crime. According to a 1994 study performed by Florida State University, guns are used defensibly by law abiding citizens about 2.5 million per year. None of these actions, good or bad, were performed by the gun. It's the person who commits the action, not the tool.

I have had personal experience with death from a gunshot.  My nephew, and namesake, Chris Logan, died from a self inflicted gun shot, from a firearm I assisted him in purchasing.  I loved Chris as a son, I felt the pain, and saw it in my family.  Truly a horrific loss.   As easy as it might be for me to blame the instrument of his fall, I simply can't get there.  Chris did what he did, intentionally or not, himself.  The gun didn't jump out of it's holster and shoot him. He knew how to safely handle a firearm, I made sure of it.   Blaming the gun for this event just doesn't make sense.

People will argue that accidental discharges kill innocent children. While the death of a child is always tragic, it happens far less often than some would have you believe. The real numbers are somewhat less alarming than those people would have you believe. I have included a chart at the bottom of this page demonstrating these statistics. The real truth is that guns are used defensibly many times more often than any other use they can be put to. Cars kill more people than anything else that exists, except time. Cars are not banned from our roadways because their positive uses greatly outweigh the negative impact of having them around. The same reasoning holds true for firearms.

Accident Type Age
  0-4 5-14 15-24 25-44 45-64 65-74 75+ Total
All Automobile 900 1,500 10,500 13,300 9,200 2,700 4,900 43,000
Falls 70 70 210 950 1,900 1,700 11,300 16,200
Poisoning by solids, liquids 60 40 800 6,800 3,200 300 500 11,700
Pedestrian1 250 300 750 1,300 1,400 450 850 5,300
Drowning 450 350 700 1,250 650 230 270 3,900
Fires, burns 400 260 240 700 800 500 700 3,600
Suffocation by ingested object 100 20 30 250 400 500 2,100 3,400
Firearms 20 60 150 190 110 30 40 600
Poisoning by gases, vapors 10 10 70 120 80 40 70 400
All other causes 700 400 1,100 3,000 3,200 1,600 4,500 14,500
TOTAL 2,700 2,700 13,800 26,600 19,500 7,600 24,400 97,300

Statistics are from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, gun accident rates from the National Safety Council.  Chart supplied by Guncite.
1. Pedestrian fatalities are also included in motor vehicle fatalities. They are broken-out on a separate line to illustrate how often pedestrian fatalities occur.
Also not broken-out from motor vehicle fatalities are bicycle fatalities which claimed about 800 deaths in 2000 (Injury Facts p. 85).