I’m not here to convince you that we need gun control, because over the next few months there are going to be huge choruses of people calling for that. Instead I’m here to convince you — meaning you personally — that you don’t need a gun. You won’t even really want a gun if you spend some time on the facts.
Though you might have various reasons for wanting a firearm, those rationalizations do not measure up against the cold facts or the questions I’m going to pose below if you spend some time to really think about them.
As this post points out, if you create another gun scare then you sell more guns. This makes Wayne Lapierre the biggest industry gun pimp in the US, because he’s now created another run on AR’s. It’s basic human psych 101 - you can create demand by falsely amplifying fears while at the same time creating a sense of scarcity or depletion of the item you are selling.
There are a few questions underneath these sales that everyone with a firearm or who might be considering a firearm purchase really needs to ask themselves that I will get to in bit. First however I’ve got to be master of the obvious.
The US has about 83-87 firearm deaths on average every single day if you look back a decade to present. There are between 8-11,000 homicides with firearms every year, but there are about double that number of people ending their own lives through firearm suicide.
Besides the 8-11,000 homicides every year (on average about 31 per day in 2009) Two Thirds of all firearm deaths are suicides (18,735 in 2009, or an average of 51 per day.) People killing themselves with their own firearms or borrowed firearms comprise 6 out of every 10 suicides in this country, or about triple the number for suicide by suffocation (the category that slicing arteries open falls under.)
Whether you are a firearm owner, or are a prospective buyer these homicide and suicide death stats are ones you need to think long and hard about. Chances are pretty good that you know someone who is either depressed, mentally unstable, a substance abuser, or who is just going through a very rough time — even if it’s not you that I am describing.
If those people end their lives with your rifle or handgun how are you going to feel? If they borrow or steal your assault rifle (and most mass killing are committed with legally obtained weapons or borrowed legal guns,) and end up putting several bullets each into a large group of people or students like the Newton massacre, how’s that going to affect you?
What are the real chances of you having to use your gun in self defense?
What are the chances of really needing an AR because of societal collapse?
Both of those chances are much less than you might think, and the chances of homicide, suicide, and accidental deaths from firearms are much greater than the average person realizes. Right now they are tracking almost even with automobile deaths, and we all know someone who has died in a car wreck.
If you are older than 20 chances are pretty good that you can name several people who you knew or were acquainted with growing up who are now dead from firearms. Chances are slim that you can name a real person that you know who’s driven off a zombie attack, blue helmets, or even a home burglary with a firearm.
Please think before you buy, there are better things you could use that money for, and if you own a firearm please do the sane, rational thing and consider removing it from circulation. Don’t do it for political reasons, do it because you care, do it because you care about yourself, your family, your friends, and your fellow citizens. I’m really writing this for my friends and family who are still in Alaska - where they lead the pack in firearm deaths per capita.
If Black Friday shopping trends are any indication, the gift of cold, hard steel will be more popular than ever this holiday season. According to USA Today, on that day dealers called the FBI with a total of 154,873 background check requests for shoppers seeking to buy firearms. That’s 20 percent more than last year’s record of 129,166 calls in one day. Sixty-two percent of the Black Friday requests were for long guns like shotguns or rifles, such as the Bushmaster .223 reportedly used by the suspect in today’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut (a state where you don’t need a permit to carry a rifle).
The FBI doesn’t keep track of guns sold—only the background requests it fields—but that number is almost certainly higher than the number of calls received, given that consumers can buy more than one firearm per request. Overall, background requests have jumped 32 percent since 2008 (PDF). As Bloomberg Businessweek pointed out, gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson reported a record number of sales for their last quarter, up nearly 50 percent from the year before. The rise in gun sales doesn’t necessarily mean that there are more first-time gun owners, though: A CNN investigation in July showed that fewer people own more and more weapons.
Data from a US mortality follow-back survey were analyzed to determine whether having a firearm in the home increases the risk of a violent death in the home and whether risk varies by storage practice, type of gun, or number of guns in the home. Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death. The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6). Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.