Editors note: Earlier this week I got accused of making stats up on gun control. I had simply retweeted a stat from a reputable journalist. Here are some interesting stats with attribution.

Let me say I do not consider this a liberal or conservative issue. I am pro-gun control for the same reason I am anti-abortion and anti-death penalty: I am proudly pro-life. Here is why, please check out these stats.

Some facts on guns (with source in quotes):

  • In 2009 there were 31,347 gun deaths. Of that total 333 were from legal intervention CDCNationalCenter for Health Statistics mortality report online, 2012. So 1% of gun deaths came from someone shot while committing a crime (any crime).
  • Having a gun in the home makes someone 3 times more likely to be killed by a housemate, and 5 times more likely to die from a suicide attempt (Kellerman AL, Rivara FP, Somes G, et al. “Suicide in the Home in Relation to Gun Ownership.” NEJM. 1992; 327(7):467-472).
  • Every day there are 32 gun murders and 90 gun-related deaths NY Times, Obama Gun Proposal to Look Beyond Mass Shootings 1/16/13.
  • A gun in a home is 11 times more likely to be used in a suicide than for protection of the homeowner Arthur Kellerman, Journal of Trauma, August 1998.
  • In 2010, there were 31,076 gun deaths. Nat’l Ctr. for Injury Prevention & Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Web-Based Injury Statistics Query & Reporting System (WISQARS) Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010, for National, Regional, and States (Dec. 2012), http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/dataRestriction_inj.html (hereinafter WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010. Note: Users must agree to data use restrictions on the CDC site prior to accessing data)
  • Meanwhile, 73, 505 people were treated for gun wounds. Nat’l Ctr. for Injury Prevention and Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Web-Based Injury Statistics Query & Reporting System (WISQARS) Leading Causes of Death Reports, 1999-2010, for National, Regional, and States (RESTRICTED), at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/leading_causes_death.html (last visited Nov. 30, 2012). 
  • During the first 7 years of the Iraqi War, there were 4,400 U.S. Soldiers killed. The same numbers of U.S. civilians were killed in any 7 week period during that time. U.S. Department of Defense, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) U.S. Casualty Status, Fatalities as of: March 12, 2012, 10 a.m. EST, at http://www.defense.gov/news/casualty.pdf (last visited Feb. 10, 2012); WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010, supra note 1. []
  • Regions and states with higher rates of gun ownership have significantly higher rates of homicide than states with lower rates of gun ownership. Matthew Miller, Deborah Azrael & David Hemenway, Rates of Household Firearm Ownership and Homicide Across US Regions and States, 1988-1997, 92 Am. J. Pub. Health 1988 (2002). Put another way in another study. Where guns are prevalent, there are significantly more homicides, particularly gun homicides. David Hemenway, Private Guns, Public Health 65 (2004).
  • A study of California handgun purchasers found that in the first year after the purchase of a handgun, suicide was the leading cause of death among the purchasers. Garen J. Wintemute et al., Mortality Among Recent Purchasers of Handguns, 341 New Eng. J. Med. 1583, 1585 (Nov. 18, 1999).
  • Once all the direct and indirect medical, legal and societal costs are factored together, the annual cost of gun violence in America amounts to $100 billion. All born by U.S. taxpayers. Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig, Gun Violence: The Real Costs 115 (2000).
  • In 2009, there were 13, 636 people killed in gun murders. Only 215 were ruled justified homicides by a civilian. Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Crime in the United States, 2009, Expanded Homicide Data Table 15, at http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_15.html (last visited Oct. 10, 2010). (A “justifiable homicide” in this context is defined by the FBI as the killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen).
  • Between 1/1/1996 and 8/31/2001 in Texas (home of one of the most permissive concealed carry statues in the nation), license-holders committed 5,134 crimes with their guns (including murder, rape, kidnapping, and theft). During that same time license-holders were 81% more likely to be charged with a crime than that of the general population, 21 and older. ViolencePolicyCenter, License to Kill IV: More Guns, More Crime 1-2 (June 2002), athttp://www.vpc.org/graphics/ltk4.pdf.
  • The state of Florida in just the first half of 2006 gave CCW licenses to 1,400 individuals who had pleaded guilty or no contest to felonies, 216 people with outstanding warrants, 128 people with outstanding domestic violence injunctions, and 6 registered sex offenders. Megan O’Matz, In Florida, It’s Easy to Get a License to Carry a Gun, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Jan. 28, 2007, at 1A
  • Almost 80% of the weapons confiscated from criminals in Mexico and Canada come from the U.S. This is what we call sharing the American dream abroad. Wintemute, Garen J., Gun Shows Across a Multistate American Gun Market: Observational Evidence of the Effects of Regulatory Policies, 13 Inj. Prevention 150, 150 (2007), at “http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/13/3/150. See also Alicia A. Caldwell, ATF: Most Illegal Guns in Mexico Come from U.S., Associated Press, Aug. 11, 2008 (ATF states that nearly all illegal guns seized in Mexico – 90 to 95 percent – originally come from the U.S.).
  • From 1998 to 2001, almost 20% of Police deaths came from the use of assault weapons. ViolencePolicyCenter, “Officer Down” — Assault Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement, Section One: Assault Weapons, the Gun Industry, and Law Enforcement (May 2003), at http://www.vpc.org/studies/officeone.htm

If you got this far, thank you. Lots of scary stats. But let me say I am against the wasting of any life, and I hope these stats show a real determent to public safety. These numbers also outweigh, the one instance of death by hammer that one of my readers related to me. And while these numbers may not be as high as auto deaths (there are reasons for that- namely the fact that most of us drive our cars multiple times a day; while only the most committed enthusiast shoots his gun weekly), it should be noted as I did in an earlier column (which appeared the same day as a similar comment by Jon Stewart- Jon stole from me, mine was earlier- JK), we regulate cars, but not guns. Sorry for the run-on sentence, I have served on a jury the past three days and my brain is mash.

 

 

Also these stats were collected while my brain was mush (using nothing more than the google machine in an hour). Imagine what I could do with Lexis-Nexis, a clear mind, a cup of coffee, and a full day.

God Bless,

Matt

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