Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sarah Palin and lies about guns

Sarah Palin told the NRA Convention:

"The NRA is making a difference by telling the truth, we're making a difference by not imposing more gun laws, but by enforcing the existing ones. And that's just common sense. But the anti-gun groups don't deal with common sense, they deal with that emotionalism and propaganda... and they deal in lies."

adn 3 year old shot himself
From the ADN (Click to read the full article)

Children and Gun Violence

In a single year, 3,012 children and teens were killed by gunfire in the United States, according to the latest national data released in 2002. That is one child every three hours; eight children every day; and more than 50 children every week. And every year, at least 4 to 5 times as many kids and teens suffer from non-fatal firearm injuries. (Children's Defense Fund and National Center for Health Statistics)

Some facts and figures

* America is losing too many children to gun violence. Between 1979 and 2001, gunfire killed 90,000 children and teens in America. (Children's Defense Fund and National Center for Health Statistics)
* In one year, more children and teens died from gunfire than from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and HIV/AIDS combined. (Children's Defense Fund)

* The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The Facts About Kids and Guns

Each year, there are 34,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. How many of those dead are children, and has that number increased in the last few years? Here are the facts.
Safety expert Gavin de Becker found out while researching his books, The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift, that:

* Every day, about 75 American children are shot. Most recover — 15 do not.
* The majority of fatal accidents involving a firearm occur in the home.
* Gunshot wounds are the single most common cause of death for women in the home, accounting for nearly half of all homicides and 42 percent of suicides.
* An adolescent is twice as likely to commit suicide if a gun is kept in the home.
* More teenage boys in America die from gunfire than from car accidents.
* Gunshot wounds are now the leading cause of death for teenage boys in America (white, African-American, urban, and suburban).

Researchers at have collected the following statistics on kids and guns:

* Twenty-nine percent of high-school boys have at least one firearm; most are intended for hunting and sporting purposes.

Six percent say they carry a gun outside the home.

(The National Institute of Justice, 1998

* From 1980 to 1997, gun killings by young people age 18 to 24 increased from about 5,000 to more than 7,500.

During the same period, gun killings by people 25 and older fell by almost half, to about 5,000. (The U.S. Department of Justice)

* There are about 60 million handguns in the United States. About 2 to 3 million new and used handguns are sold each year.
(U.S. Senate Statistics)

* Nearly 500 children and teenagers each year are killed in gun-related accidents.
About 1,500 commit suicide.

Nearly 7,000 violent crimes are committed each year by juveniles using guns they found in their own homes.

(Senator Herb Kohl, sponsor of the safety-lock measure)

* Every day in 1994, 16 children age 19 and under were killed with guns, and 64 were wounded in this country.
(National Center for Health and Statistics, 1996)

Gun Nation By Zed Nelson

I'm not very keen on guns, but did a lot of reading about gun safety for this post. Handguns are kept mainly for self-defense and are used occasionally by hunters.

Vincent Iannelli, M.D., in a pediatrics guide, advises:

Proper storage of a gun includes keeping the gun in a gun safe, lock box, or a locked cabinet or drawer. The gun should also be stored unloaded with the bullets locked separately.

How can an unloaded gun, kept under lock and key, be used for self-defense in the case of a home invasion, for example? Do people feel safer having a gun they have to find a key to unlock from safe place, then load, etc, when faced with armed criminals?

If you can't have an easily accessible gun to defend yourself and your children because it's not safe to have guns around children, what's the point of having the gun in the first place?

The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791, when America was a very different place. There was no organized army, only militias.

Prior to the adoption of the Second Amendment, Americans had reasons to bear arms that were taken into account when drafting the Bill of Rights.

Early American settlers viewed the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and/or state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:

* deterring undemocratic government;
* repelling invasion;

* suppressing insurrection;

* facilitating a natural right of self-defense;

* participating in law enforcement;

* slave control in slave states.

Of all the reasons to bear arms given above, only self-defense would apply to individuals in modern times. The others are the responsibilty of the state, excluding the last one, of course.

Some people use guns for hunting, others for sport, but it seems to me the vast majority have guns for self-defense. I find it very sad that Dr Iannelli included this passage in his guide:

It is estimated that guns are in half of all homes in the United States. Although most of these guns are purchased for safety reasons, it is important to keep in mind that a firearm in the home is much more likely (up to 43 times more likely in some reports) to kill or injure a family member or friend than an intruder.

I think it must be very unsettling to live in a country where half of the population live in constant dread of the other half.

In the meantime, the 4 million members of the NRA will continue to chant their slogans:

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

"I'll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands!"

Somebody had to take a gun from a 3 year-old boy's dead hands, and it was a gun that killed him.

How can we possibly not be emotional about it?

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