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Gun ownership is a lifestyle health risk - not as bad as smoking or obesity, but worse than anything else. We should treat it that way. Unlike guns, cars are 1) subject to product safety laws; 2) all required to be registered 3) required to have licensed operators and 5) all operators must carry insurance; 5) can legally have the Center for Disease Control research related injuries 6) can be prohibited to be operated by people with DUIs or other offenses. If we did all those things with guns, the death rate from gun murders, suicides, and accidents would drop. A lot.

The numbers are very close but guns kill more than motor vehicles. In 2010, there were 35,332 deaths in America due to motor vehicle accidents. There were 606 gun accidental deaths, 19,392 gun suicides, and 16,259 homicides, for a total of 36,257, according to the national Center for Disease Control - see page 23.

A focus on restricting types of weapons, for instance bushmasters or AR-15s, might reduce the casualties at the rarer mass murders like Sandy Hook but wouldn't have nearly the effect on deaths nationwide that treating them like cars would. So those weapon restrictions don't particularly interest me as effective policy solutions.

And about those gun murders: the FBI's 2009 numbers show 70% are committed with handguns, and 53.8 percent were killed by someone they knew (acquaintance, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, etc.) Gun owners are a hazard to themselves and people they know.

Anything more than three rounds isn't hunting, it's jerking off. In my dream world, people could only buy bolt-action rifles with six round magazines, tops. But my real-world proposal is not to further restrict what types of weapons are purchasable, but to require licensing of owners and registration of guns the same as driver licensing and car registration.

3,000 people died on 9/11, and we've spend billions to increase airline security procedures, and taken an hour from everyone who's flown on each flight since then. Guns kills that many every month - 400,000 since 9/11 - and we have not yet managed to make every gun owner take time to get licensed and register every gun, every gun sale.

Gun ownership is a public safety and gun owner responsibility issue. People who justify it as being 'ready to fight tyranny' are delusional and should not be allowed to own guns. They will not stop a police department with armored personnel carriers, much less the National Guard or the Army. And have they never heard of drones?

It is appalling that the gun lobby, fronted by the NRA, has gotten the GOP in Congress to keep the Center for Disease Control from researching gun-related injuries like they do car injuries. They've also kept it exempt from product safety laws, and immune to lawsuits. Cars have become far safer in the last several decades, with per-mile-driven fatalities down 90%. Why can't guns have better safety features?

Only 32% of Americans households own guns, but 89% own cars. As a non-gun owner, driving is the most dangerous thing I do, the most likely to get me killed. If I was a gun owner, it would be the guns. I live in a rural area where people can shoot guns anytime they want, and few are the days when I don't hear gunfire. There's a guy down the road 1/4 mile, in his late 20s, who goes out under his shed in the rain to shoot and blow off some steam with his semi-automatic, squeezing off a dozen shots at a time. Last summer he played a cat-and-mouse game with the local police, driving at 90+ on the freeway and a frightening speed up our gravel road, and got arrested for reckless driving, speeding, etc. He still has his guns.

My father taught my siblings and me not to fear guns, but to use them, have a healthy respect for them, and treat then seriously. They are not toys. Far too many gun owners do not share that sensibility. Far too much lobbying is done on behalf of gun makers to facilitate escape from the responsibilities of gun ownership.

Originally posted to Tom Lum Forest on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Gun-clutchers argue that unlike cars... (5+ / 0-)

    their right to owning lots of guns is protected by the second amendment. And the Founding Fathers didn't say anything about cars.

    The thing is, the Founding Fathers didn't say anything about semi-automatic assault rifles with 30 round magazines firing high-velocity bullets, either. The arms they were talking about were single-shot, muzzle-loading muskets that could fire at most one aimed shot per minute or so. As opposed to a Bushmaster with a high capacity magazine capable of murdering 20, 30, 40 people or more in the time it takes to reload that flintlock.

    Talk about apples & oranges.

    •  Apples and oranges, true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Lum Forest

      Are drivers' license applicants subjected to meaningful background checks such that those who are "mentally ill" prevented from driving?  How about those with felony convictions (other than DUI)?  I don't believe they are; they question is whether they should be.

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 01:28:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's actually another red herring. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sharon Wraight

        As is nicely documented in last week's New England Journal of Medicine, a record of mental illness actually doesn't correlate much at all with risk for gun violence in the future. The mentally ill are far more likely to be the victims of violent crime than perpetrators.

        On the other hand, people guilty of misdemeanors such as menacing or 'minor' assault have an enormously increased risk for future gun violence. Yet current efforts at gun control tend to draw the line at felony convictions. My strong personal suspicion (based on a lot of first-hand but admittedly anecdotal evidence) is that folks who are exceedingly fond of their guns and gun rights also seem to disproportionately include angry people who make threats and have a lot of friction with their neighbors, and hence would fall into this group at high risk for inflicting gun violence; yet no one is talking about expanding the range of 'issues' for which gun possession would be forbidden. If we limit gun rights only for folks with felony convictions we will likely only be addressing the tiny tip of the iceberg, and consequently it may be quite difficult to demonstrate any reduction in gun violence down the road with this approach.

  •  This is much too logical. No one's cars are being (6+ / 0-)

    confiscated because they are registered, insured or because of the safety features that they have.

    BTW automobile deaths have dropped nearly in half over 40years in spite of cars/drivers more than doubling in that time.  Within a couple of years gun deaths will surpass automobile deaths.

    Are we really OK with having a person shot every 5 minutes?

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:03:30 AM PST

    •  Gun deaths already outnumber car deaths (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DefendOurConstitution

      ... by about 1,000 in 2010

    •  You have to break a law and your car can be (3+ / 0-)

      impounded or forfeited.

      Car accidents have been reduced from a variety of efforts including increased SAFETY REGULATIONS in cars, Drunk Driving enforcement and public awareness/education.

      Just a tobacco addiction has dropped with a sustained anti-tobacco education program. Plenty of people insist on tobacco abuse and there's nothing we can do to change their minds. "Freedom" it's called.

      A public service/awareness campaign for both general gun safety and encouraging people to consult counselors or somebody for help, to  not use a gun to solve life's difficulties.

      I also think some well-heeled group should run something along the lines of a gun de-glamorization project: Many Americans (on both extremes of the conservation)  appear to have a wide and weird variety of ideas about what guns mean and can do and a lot of that is not true or downright nutty.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 01:53:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So no regulation if it's private property? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    Most gun control opponents are probably OK with that.

  •  Hmmm....Motorcyle = Shotgun (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Lum Forest

    4 door car = revolver that seats up to 6

    Minivan = larger capacity bullet-holder thingies

    Bus = AR 15 with large capacity bullet-holder-thingies

    Registration, impact fee, yearly licencing fee, ad velorum tax (Say, that's a nice gun you have. Cough up some money: we know you have it) and insurance I suppose... in case somebody dings my gun.

    A test for initial licensing, gun safety programs, education is good.

    ATF enforces the laws...

    If this means folks who pass all this and background checks can keep their weapons, it would certainly tighten up some aspects of purchase and keeping weapons secured adequately without necessitating paranoid outbursts from those who are that attached to their gun(s).

    When we talk about reasonable ideas, this is reasonable to the point of mundane - which is good, if you think about it.

    People do need to be guaranteed that registration does not lead to confiscation otherwise many will balk and toss out the whole thing.

    This is where we have to be pragmatic and 'compromise' - possibly - to get the best bill possible, versus one groups ideal versus another's.

    We'll see - the conversation is still just beginning.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 01:44:06 PM PST

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