Archive for January, 2013
Most American are familiar with the basic gun crime statistics, at least the most important one: How many Americans die from gunshots each year. In case you don’t know, the number is about 30,000 people. Of these about 8500 are homicide and the rest are suicides. These are shocking gun facts.
Perhaps even more significant is that almost three times that many people are wounded, grievously, by gun shots but don’t die. This is an appalling gun fact. Added to this shock is that Americans cannot get an exact number of gun injuries because the agencies charged will collecting this data are prohibited from doing so regarding gun crime statistics.
Our national health agencies, specifically the National Institute of Health and the Center for Diseae Control have been subjected to regulations that restrict them from collecting facts if those facts will cast gun ownership in a negative light!
Naturally, the prohibition on gun facts inhibits conversations on gun control. How can American have an open sensible gun control debate if gun crime statistics are prohibited from being collected? Gun control is a burning issue in America and yet gun crime statistics are intentionally kept from us.
How did it come to pass that in the United States of America basic data like gun crime statistics are prohibited from being collected? Blame the NRA. The NRA and a few unethical legislators who worked quietly outside of public scrutiny to shield gun manufacturers from having to confront the facts of the harm their products do in our society.
Here are the facts from journalist Anne Landman: “Why? Because the National Rifle Association (NRA) has long worked behind the scenes to block laws allowing the collection and dissemination of data about the impact of gun ownership on Americans’ safety. The NRA quietly pushed a provision that was inserted into the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) restricting the data doctors can collect from their patients about their ownership and use of firearms. From 1986 and 1996, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control conducted peer reviewed research into the impact of the presence of guns in people’s homes. While there is a widespread belief among gun owners that the presence of guns in their homes makes them safer, the CDC found the opposite — that having a gun in the home creates a 2.7 times greater risk of homicide and a 4.8 greater risk of suicide for the occupants. The NRA took action to prevent CDC from publicizing these results, and blocked continued funding of government research into the impact of firearms on citizen safety. An NRA congressional lobbyist got an amendment slipped into an appropriations bill cutting $2.6 million from CDC’s budget (the amount CDC had been spending on firearm research annually) along with a clause that says say “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” What’s more, the federal agency responsible for regulating guns in the U.S. has been without a permanent director for six years…by design. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was split off from the U.S. Treasury Department nine years ago and since then Republican elected leaders, beholden to the gun lobby, have blocked confirmation of a director.”
Americans have the right to all gun crime statistics so that we can make the best gun law!
Writing a gun control essay appears to be the easiest thing in the world. This is the impression one gets by looking at the countless number of gun control articles that appear in the print media. But, in my opinion, a gun control essay should serve a purpose. Gun control is such an important topic that has been gaining nationwide attention. A well written gun control essay will enrich the gun control debate by highlighting the facts that are relevant to the issue of gun control.
The gun control essay should start with the discussion of gun control facts. These facts include gun crime statistics and information relating to gun ownership. Some of the facts and figures that should find a place in the gun control essay are listed below.
1) The most important information that should be included in the essay is about the gun ownership. How many guns are there in the United States and how does this number relate to the population of the country? Studies show that the US has about half of the guns in the world, though the population of the US is just 5 percent of the population of the world. Another item of statistics reveals that for every 100 people in our country, there are 89 guns. The ratio is close to almost one gun per person.
2)The next set of data to be covered by the gun control essay is gun death statistics. The number of people killed by guns every year in the US is estimated to be about 30,000. When this data is read along with the data on gun ownership, a person reading the gun control essay can understand the link between gun ownership and murders.
3) Comparative figures will always depict any situation more effectively. So, the gun control essay can present the number of gun deaths as a ratio of the population for each country. When this ratio is computed for different countries, it is found that the US performs worse than a much less developed country like South Africa. The significance of this is bound to be noticed by people reading the gun control essay.
4) In addition to discussing gun control facts, the gun control essay should also examine the attitude of the gun control opponents by pointing out that the National Rifles Association (NRA), despite its claim to be a political organization, is only a lobbyist group.
We will expect that people who become aware of gun crime statistics will be concerned about the loss of human lives and will think of doing something by way of making gun control more effective. But there are certain groups who seem to be totally unconcerned by gun death. This attitude looks perplexing. How can anyone be impervious to such gun crime statistics that show that children become the biggest victims of gun ownership? Gun death statistics have established that a lot more children have been dying in those regions where there are a large number of households possessing guns. This fact alone is sufficient to demolish the argument of the anti gun control groups that guns offer protection to those who own them and their family members.
But people who are not interested in a meaningful gun control debate are not moved by these appalling facts. They show no interest in understanding the gun control pros and cons and persist with their agenda of unrestricted gun ownership. The groups that are unmoved by gun crime statistics includes the National Rifles Association (NRA). The NRA calls itself an association of sports persons but in practice, functions like a lobby. The NRA is said to have forced several legislators to support its stand in the gun control issue by threatening them that they will be defeated in the primaries if they do not fall in line with the stand of the NRA.
The fact that some legislators have chosen to ignore gun crime statistics and have been doing everything in their power to work against gun control is revealed by their actions. For example, the pro NRA legislators have been creating new rules with a view to preventing the CDC from studying gun violence. The fact that they have been adopting a similar ploy to stymie the efforts of another independent organization,the National Institute of Health, reveals a pattern in their approach and raises questions about their motives. Gun crime statistics will have no impact on such people blinded by a single point agenda of uncontrolled gun ownership irrespective of its consequences.
Gun crime statistics are a reliable indicator of the perils of unrestricted gun ownership. People who oppose any kind of law that will restrict owning and using guns cannot close their eyes to the scenario revealed by gun death statistics. Let us take a look at a few gun control facts to understand the gun control debate in a proper perspective.
1) We will start with the gun ownership data which has a direct bearing on gun crime statistics. Do you know how many guns are there in the United States? The absolute number of guns may not indicate anything. But consider the fact that there are 89 guns for 100 Americans. This means that there is almost one gun every American citizen including new born babies! This fact will help us understand why gun crime statistics show such a pathetic picture.
2) The second item of gun crime statistics that I am going to share will make the situation even more horrifying. Gun control opponents have been arguing that owning guns will make their homes safer. But gun crime statistics tell a different story. In those regions that have a high rate of gun ownership, the number of children becoming victims of gun violence is also high.
3) By way of corroborating the above facts, another item of gun crime statistics says that if there is a gun in a house, there is a high risk of women and children living in the house getting killed by guns.
4) The other side of children becoming victims of gun crime is also presented by gun crime statistics. A study has come out with a shocking finding that about 39 percent of children of gun owning parents know where their parents keep the guns. This points to the danger of guns falling into the hands of children, leading to the inappropriate use of guns by the children.
5) The consequences of the possibilities discussed above are revealed by gun crime statistics that when gun death is expressed as a ratio of the population of a country, the United States ranks below South Africa.
It is in keeping with the healthy practice of looking at both the sides of an issue that gun control pros and cons are being considered. In any gun control debate, people taking up positions on either side will present their arguments supporting them with facts and figures on the one hand and logical arguments on the other. Gun control pros and cons include gun crime statistics which cannot be ignored while studying the issue of gun control.
Let us take a few gun control pros and cons to understand the topic in proper perspective. What are the gun control facts supporting stricter gun control laws? Gun death statistics have brought out the fact that in areas where more people own guns, gun crimes are also more. In fact, a study shows that not only murders but even suicides increase with the number of guns in a place. It is an irony that while the pro gun ownership people claim that having a gun is a good way protecting oneself and one’s family, the reality is that it increases the chances of gun death in the family by way of murder or suicide.
The other side of the above mentioned fact is also revealed by gun crime statistics. The number of murders is smaller in countries where the number of guns is smaller. Thus, gun control pros and cons show that gun crime varies directly with the number of guns. Another fact to be included in the gun control pros and cons is that 39 percent of the children know where guns are kept in their houses! This shocking revelation raises the question of safety arising from gun ownership. How are we going to stop the children from using guns indiscriminately?
Now, what are the gun control pros and cons raised by the anti gun control lobby? This lobby which is led by the National Rifles Association (NRA) does not bother to present arguments in support of its stand. The NRA has made it clear that it will not compromise on its stand. This means that gun control pros and cons will have no impact on the thinking of the anti gun control groups. The action of the pro NRA legislators in placing obstacles on the path of CDC in its efforts to study gun violence is in keeping with this attitude.
There are only two ways of dealing with gun death statistics. Either we should understand the message delivered by them and take appropriate action or we should just dump them. Though you may find the idea of dumping gun death statistics to be repulsive, some people may like this idea! Let us examine the response of some people to gun crime statistics.
1) We have the National Rifles Association, popularly known as the NRA, which has been opposing gun control stiffly and has even said that it will not compromise on its stance. So, what impact can gun control facts have on the NRA and its supporters?
2) We can understand the opposition of the NRA to gun control but if it wants its views to be heard, it should join the gun control debate and explain its position with respect to gun death statistics. But, instead of following this sensible course, the NRA has been threatening some legislators that they will face certain defeat in the primaries if they do not endorse the stand of the NRA on the issue of gun control.
3) Apparently yielding to the threat given out by the NRA, some legislators make it difficult for people and organizations even to compile gun death statistics. I can cite two instances. The pro NRA legislators have created some rules that would make it difficult for the CDC to study gun violence. These legislators have been adopting similar tactics for preventing the National Institute of Health from studying gun violence.
Notwithstanding such unreasonable methods followed by the anti gun control groups, gun control pros and cons have been brought to light by gun control articles that frequently appear in the print media. Thus gun death statistics are available in the public domain and the people are becoming increasingly aware of these figures. People will be able to judge the issue of gun control based on gun death statistics and not on rhetorical statements like claiming gun ownership as a right. When gun death statistics reveal that in countries that have implemented strict gun control laws, not only murders have come down but suicides have decreased as well, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind about what the right course should be.
One gun control article I read yesterday had some new pieces of statistical data that I have not come across before. I have read many gun control articles listing innumerable gun control facts. In fact the gun control debate is kept alive by many a gun control article that hits the readers almost on a daily basis. The new gun crime statistics revealed by this gun control article are given below.
1)One of the most surprising piece of information provided by this gun control article is about the number of guns owned by the American people. This data is given as the number of guns for 100 people. i was shocked to find that this ratio is 89. That means for every 100 people living in our country, we have 89 guns!
2) With such a large number of guns relative to the population, we can only expect that the crime rate will be high. Gun death statistics presented in this article show that guns are used in about 60 percent of the murders (or homicides as they are usually referred to). The more guns are with the people, the more seem to be the number of gun deaths.
3) The conclusion that gun crime will increase in proportion to the gun ownership was confirmed by this gun control article by showing the positive effects of gun control. Two significant facts were reported in this gun control article. The first was the report of a study that found that countries which have implemented strict gun control laws experienced a decline in the number of murders. The second fact was more specific, describing the experience of Australia. Australia was one country that took the wise decision to bring in a strict gun control regime. This has resulted in a sharp decrease in gun violence by about 60 percent in that country.
4) Another stunning information provided by this gun control article concerned the US economy. It brought out the fact that the effect of gun violence was felt by the US economy also as seen by the fact that the United States has been losing close to four billion dollars every year on account of gun violence.
Gun control articles are doing a good job. They have succeeded in putting the issue of gun control in perspective. The need for this has arisen because the anti gun control lobby has been working overtime to thwart all efforts to make gun control laws stronger. People who are opposed to gun control do not seem to take notice of the gun control facts that show the severity of the problem of gun crime. These people are not perturbed by gun crime statistics depicting the extent of gun violence caused by uncontrolled gun ownership, but keep registering their opposition to gun control laws in general.
If we go through the gun death statistics that are recorded in gun control articles, we can see that a large number of people are becoming victims of gun death. When figures for the number of gun deaths as a ratio of the population are compiled for different countries and compared, the United States occupies a position at a much lower level than does South Africa. This is one of the facts highlighted by gun control articles.
Notwithstanding the fact that gun control articles have listed the gun control pros and cons, thereby making it easy for the people to analyze these details and evaluate them for themselves, some legislators are busy making rules that will effectively block independent organizations like the National Institute of Health from studying gun violence. These legislators are obviously toeing the line of the National Rifles Association (NRA), which has been opposing gun control measures strongly.
If we compare the picture presented by gun control articles on the one hand and the activities of the anti gun control lobby on the other, we cannot but question the status of the NRA. Though the NRA calls itself an association of sports persons, it has been functioning more like a paid lobby. The NRA does not even qualify to be a political organization because it does not offer credible arguments in support of its stand the way gun control articles do. The NRA can only be called a lobbyist body.
The gun control debate is not new. It has been there for the past four decades and more. Yet the gun control debate is being carried on everyday in the newspapers and the electronic media as if it is something new! Gun control pros and cons are repeatedly presented making the audience lose interest in the gun control debate itself.
I suggest that we all join the gun control debate. Though the debate has been going on, there is an imperative need to strengthen the case for gun control. I would suggest that people who are in favor of strong gun control legislation should participate in the debate and strengthen the cause of gun control. Some of the gun crime statistics that should be presented in the gun control debate are as below.
The ratio of guns to population of a country is the highest for the US with a figure of 89 guns for 1000 people. This is undoubtedly a high figure. The effect of this abnormal gun ownership is reflected in the gun death statistics showing that over 60 percent of the homicides occurring in the US involve the use of guns. The message is clear. When you allow people to own guns indiscriminately, the chances of guns being used in crimes will be high.
People who are opposed to any kind of control on the use of guns take shelter under the second amendment. what they ignore is the fact that a major part of this amendment constituting about 99 percent was the creation of people who had no college education. While this fact will cause no reflection on their competence, it shows that amending the law is not something sacrilegious.
The National Rifles Association (NRA) which spearheads the opposition to meaning gun control measures is not interested in a healthy gun control debate. Since it follows a policy of not compromising on its obstinate opposition to gun control, it resorts to untenable arguments to support its position. It says that in a democracy, there should be no gun control guns. Democracy does not mean the absence of controls. In fact, democracy has to fight tyranny of any kind. Gun control measures are one way of fighting lawlessness. Looked from this perspective, the points raised by the NRA have no place in a gun control debate.
Though the issue of gun control has been in the debating arena for the past few decades, the real issues governing this are sometimes misunderstood. Sometimes the issues are even intentionally sought to be confused. In my opinion, the question of making gun control more effective has to be studied only by taking into account gun control facts.
What are gun control facts? They include gun crime statistics which portray the relationship between gun ownership and gun death. For example, take this data from the gun death statistics figures presented in gun control articles. According to one such gun control article, thirty thousand people in America are killed by guns every year. This is an example of a real issue governing gun control laws. This fact makes a mockery of the argument advanced by the pro gun lobby that if people have guns they will be able to defend themselves better.
Another information damaging to the cause of unrestrained gun ownership is that the number of women and children becoming victims of gun violence is higher in places where the number of people who own guns is higher. This fact also contradicts the claim made in some quarters that owning guns will give more protection to the families of the gun owners. The result seems to be the opposite of the claim. Read this along with the fact that the rates of suicides are also high in areas where the ratios of gun owning people are high and you have a perfect picture. The more the number of guns, the more will be the incidence of death, either by way of murders or by way of suicides.
The response to these figures from the anti gun control people is disappointing. While some people use the 2nd amendment to claim the right to own guns ignoring the fact that about 99 percent of this amendment was written down by people with no advantage of a legal education, others like the National Rifles Association (NRA) choose to use coercive methods. The NRA is known to be threatening the legislators that it will work for defeating them in the primaries if they fail to oppose any gun control legislation