Friday, January 08, 2010

At the busstop...

...I came to a new understanding of my position on gun ownership. The gentleman across the way seemingly has a direct line to the heart of crime in the area, and consistently reports about the newest incidents. Today's news was regarding 3 nonfatal gunshot injuries at a local school, and it immediately got my dander up.

It's not too hard to figure out why: I have a 7-year-old attending a local school. The thing that is hard to determine is why the hobby of a portion of Americans is given precedence over the safety of the rest of Americans. According to a national survey by the National Institute of Justice, ~25% of adult Americans own guns; presumably only a portion of those owners actually engage in the sport of hunting.

Notably, hunting is NOT a necessity. We have plenty of shops to handle our food needs. In comparison, the other major source of deaths in America outside of medical conditions, is from trauma due to car accidents. I think that we need to consider the risk of getting into a car accident acceptable, considering the benefits we obtain, most notably in transporting us to work and school. However, the benefits of allowing a portion of Americans to own guns are unclear at best, while the risks are obvious and significant. A report from the CDC's National Center on Health Statistics described 721 accidental deaths by firearms, 17,348 suicides, and 12,129 homicides in 2006 alone.

Let me put it another way. There will inevitably be crazed people in the world. An insane person with a knife can damage and possibly kill 2-3 people, while that same person with a gun easily gets into the double digits with their homicides. The intensity of crime when guns are involved is so much more amped than those without. Which brings me to the other classical reason for gun ownership: for self-defense. Well, in a world without gun availability, there would not be the same level of concern for self defense. And frankly, there are plenty of other methods to put someone down without killing them, thereby allowing you to find safety and call law enforcement.

Guns accessiblity needs to be controlled. How about the creation of areas where guns could be borrowed for the day for on-site hunting? The goal is not to suppress those who enjoy that sport, only promote the safety of the rest of us.