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As Long as We Remember...

April 16, 2013

Guns, A Faulty Focus

Steve Gottlieb

With all the focus on restricting rights of Americans to own and possess firearms, for the sake of public safety, you would think that in the possession of law-abiding citizens they are the major cause of death and injury in our country and don’t serve a legitimate purpose.


During the ongoing debate, there is a focus on semi-automatic rifles which are consistently and incorrectly labeled assault weapons in a deliberate effort to mislead the public. So, what are the real numbers and what do they mean? To answer these questions and put the issue into perspective, we can turn to numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Crime in the United States report for 2011, the last full year of data currently on its website.


Without a doubt the murder of school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a horrible and inexcusable tragedy. All murder is a horrific tragedy! In true political form, Democrats at the national and state level did not hesitate to “let a good crisis go to waste.” They immediately went on an anti-firearms rampage demanding prompt and immediate action to ban “assault” weapons. Their claim was these weapons are murdering our children and need to be permanently banned.  However, statistics show something completely different. According to the FBI, here is what the data shows:


There were a total of 12,664 murders in the United States in 2011.

6,220 by handgun

323 by rifle

356 by shotgun

1,684 by other gun on type not specified

1,694 by knives or other cutting instrument

496 by blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.)

726 by personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.)


The data shows rifles are not responsible for the large number of deaths the media and anti-gun proponents want us to believe. In fact, more people are killed by knives, blunt objects and personal body parts than by rifles.


The last fact is particularly interesting if you listened last Saturday morning to WFMD 930 AM. On Frederick’s Forum, the host took a call from someone who brought up the stabbing or slashing of 14 people at a Texas college. The caller sarcastically asked if knives were going to be banned now. The host dismissively stated she was tired of hearing that argument, insinuating talking about knives was not the same as talking about guns.


One of her guests, an extremely misguided state senator, Ron Young, asked how many people were killed, knowing none were in this case, but trying to dismiss the caller as being out of line with his question since only guns are a problem.


So, since Senator Young appears ignorant to the fact that knives kill, the number killed in the United States in 2011 was 1,694. Knives are deadly weapons when used inappropriately, just as are hammers, guns, the human body and cars. So, why the “assault” on so called assault rifles and even more importantly why was there an attempt to ridicule a caller who was attempting to show the ridiculous nature of the anti-gun argument.


In case anyone was wondering during 2011 there were 28,797 violent crimes in Maryland, mostly in metropolitan areas, including 398 murders.  The breakdown of weapons used in these murders is:

262 by handgun

2 by rifle

5 by shotgun

3 by an unknown type of gun

75 by knives or cutting instruments

34 by other weapons

17 by hands, fists, feet, etc.


Based on the facts, assault rifles are not a problem in our state. It is interesting to note the number of murders by knife; just over 35 times that of rifles. That said, no one is seriously insinuating we should outlaw knives.  It is obvious the problem is the person utilizing the knife inappropriately. The same is true for guns.


What the data in the FBI statistics doesn’t show is how many of the guns used in these crimes were illegally obtained. It also doesn’t show how many times a year firearms are used to prevent someone from becoming a victim of a crime; approximately 2.5 million times annually according to a 1995 study by criminologist Gary Kleck and co-author Marc Gertz. Also, in a 1996 study authors John Lott and David Mustard saw that when state right-to-carry laws went into effect in a county, murders fell by 8.5%, and rapes and aggravated assaults fell by five and 7%.All the statistics and links to the articles containing them can be found on the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action website.


If Senator Young, Gov. Martin O’Malley and other anti-gun “low-information” representatives really cared about our safety, they would support shall carry legislation. They would focus on the real problem of enforcing the laws already in existence; over 22,000 gun related laws in the United States, not to mention all the laws against murder, rape, robbery and many other violent crimes which are supposedly all part of protecting the public. The end result is the gun laws only serve to protect criminals as innocent law-abiding citizens are left defenseless. They should also be concerned with the poor state of mental health treatment for those in need.


For comparison, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, in 2010, 32,885 people died in motor vehicle accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board lists 583 aviation related fatalities for 2011, the Federal Railroad Administration claims there were 653 fatal railroad related incidents and the Youth Sports Safety Alliance shows high school sports caused 40 deaths in 2011 while causing two million injuries and 30,000 hospitalizations annually. Yet no one is talking about these issues or really trying to do anything about them.


So, why the focus on guns, especially since criminals will not be regulated? Remember, in 1995 Sen. Diane Feinstein (D., CA) said she wanted to ban all guns. She is often the spokesperson for the Democrat gun grab in America (click here).


So, be vigilant. Your safety and constitutional rights are not their concern, but power and control are.


Yellow Cab
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