The National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) website has an ongoing feature called the Armed Citizen. The feature reports stories of individuals successfully using guns either at home, on the street, or in their place of business to thwart intruders, robbers, or burglars. I call them “good” uses of a gun.
During the month of January, the Armed Citizen reported seven such incidents. The first one was dated January 2, 2014; the last one was dated January 27, 2014 -- a period of 26 days. You can find the feature here: www.nraila.org/gun-laws/armed-citizen.aspx. Clearly, the message from the N.R.A. is this: You’ll be a lot safer if you pack heat.
However, not mentioned in the Armed Citizen was that during the same 26-day period, based on average numbers (source: www.bradycampaign.org), 2,184 Americans were killed by a gun (1,326 by suicide) and another 5,018 were wounded by one (260 by attempted suicide). Those number represent what I call “bad” uses of a gun. To put it another way, for each single “good” use of a gun during those 26 days, there were 1,255 “bad” uses of a gun.
Granted, the NRA might not have reported or been aware of all the confirmed “good” uses of a gun that occurred during that 26-day period. Indeed, gun-rights advocates often point to studies that show as many as 2-1/2 million defensive gun uses each year. That’s over 200,000 a month. Yet the best the Armed Citizen can come up with each month is… seven.
Something doesn’t smell right.
So here’s my suggestion to the millions of gun rights advocates: If you want Americans to believe there are 200,000 defensive gun uses each month, you need to start documenting them in the Armed Citizen. Start writing and perhaps those numbers will smell a lot better next month when I add them up.
By the way, the N.R.A. website also failed to mention that if there is a gun in a home, it is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure a member of the gun-owner’s family (due to domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting) than to be used in self-defense (source: www.bradycampaign.org). Reasonable conclusion: If you’re a gun owner and you want to do something to help keep your family safe, melt down your gun and use it as a doorstop.
One more thing: None of those numbers show how often a gun is used each month to frighten, threaten, terrify, bully, intimidate, or coerce innocent individuals, including family members. It’s another “bad” use of a gun that has yet to be quantified and added to the story.
Please help reduce this carnage that goes on day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Call, write, email, or FAX your representatives in Washington, D.C. and tell them to support common sense gun control. Do it today. And do it again next week. And do it again every week after that until they get the message.
You’ll find contact information here:
Startling Gun Facts
Every year in the U.S.A., on average: *
-- Over 18,000 people kill themselves with a gun (51 each day)
-- Almost 12,000 people are murdered by a gun (32 each day)
-- Almost 600 people are accidentally shot and killed by a gun (1 each day)
-- Over 51,000 people are shot and wounded in an attack involving a gun (140 each day)
-- Over 16,000 people are accidentally shot and wounded by a gun (43 each day)
-- Almost 4,000 people are wounded attempting to kill themselves with a gun (10 each day).
Total killed by guns each year: Over 30,000 (84 each day)
Total wounded by guns each year: Over 70,000 (193 each day)
Total number of Americans either killed or wounded by guns each year: Over 100,000 (277 each day)
* Brady Campaign (gun deaths from police intervention not included here)