LETTER: Another look at gun deaths
Another look at gun deaths
With intensity, gun-control advocates have associated the high number of firearm-related deaths in the U.S. with the high number of firearms.
An Organization of American States 2012 survey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate) indicates that over the last year there have been almost a staggering 32,000 firearm-related deaths in this country.
However, once one looks more deeply into the survey, one notices something curious. Of the 32,000 firearm-related deaths, 19,000 have come from suicide. In fact, the survey indicates that our country has the second-highest reported suicide rate in the world (only behind Montenegro).
What should we conclude from this?
First, suicide, not homicide, should receive the bulk of social concern with regard to firearm deaths.
Second, although we are shocked by mass shooting of innocent people, homicide rates by gun have been falling over the same period in which our gun laws have been considered by some to be too loose: specifically, they fell 58 percent from 1993 to 2009 (source: http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/compareyears/194/rate_of_gun_homicide).
Finally, although restricting gun availability would probably cause suicides to decrease in the current social context, I ask: do you really believe that it is the government’s role to protect us from ourselves?
Rather than an indictment of the relative availability of guns, the U.S.’s high suicide figure is more an indication of the spiritual impoverishment which we are experiencing in our own country, ironically the richest on earth.
So, we come back again to the pragmatic argument of whether fewer guns will mean less lives lost. It may mean fewer suicides due to firearms, but, in considering the data, the impact of firearm restrictions on the homicide rate is highly debatable, to say the least.
Law-making must be driven by facts rather than emotion.