Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Don't Shoot, I'm Only the Blogger

The April 21 issue of The Economist provided some interesting statistics (and other information) about guns in the U.S.A. Together, they tell a story:

Number of guns in America: ~240 million
Number of adults in America: Less than that.

Murders with guns, 2005: 14,000
Suicides by firearm, 2004: 16,000
Fatal firearm accidents, 2004: 650
Children killed by guns, 2004: 400

In the last 45 years, more Americans have died by gunfire than were killed on foreign battlefields in the last 100 years.

President who signed bills banning assault weapons (semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity handgun magazines) and requiring background checks before gun sales: Bill Clinton
President in office when assault weapons ban expired: George Bush

Households with guns, 1977: 54%
Households with guns, 2007: 33%

On-line price of an AK-47: $379.99

I have nothing original to add. To my knowledge, we are the most violent "developed" society on earth. I defy anyone in my VAST readership to tell me why any person (except the police and military) should be able to buy assault weapons, armor-piercing bullets, and the like. Idiocy in the defense of freedom is still idiocy.

(You can read the entire article here, but you might need a subscription to do so.)


  1. here are some articles that convience me that gun ownership is not the problem...especially statistics about switzerland in the BBC article

  2. Hi Gene -

    As with Bible verses, statistics can often be proof-texted. The third article you listed mentions that Japan's gun murder rate has doubled in a one-year span, despite stricter laws. The writer doesn't tell you that their rate is now up to 0.02 per 100,000 people, and that the rate in the U.S. is 3.72 per 100,000 [these numbers are about 10 years old, but I doubt they've changed all that much]. What that means is that there were about 24 people killed out of 124 million in Japan; they could double their rate again and still only have 48 deaths; but if they were to come up to the U.S. rate, they'd have 4,615 deaths. (These numbers are for homicides only and don't include accidents.) So I think the writer was disingenuous to cite Japan as a country where gun laws don't work. Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but I'm clearly less likely to get shot in Japan.

    [By the way, my murder rate stats come from]

    As for Switzerland and the BBC article, it appears the Swiss are mature enough to handle their guns responsibly (their gun homicide rate, by the way, is 0.58). American's clearly aren't. So maybe until we grow up and act like adults, we shouldn't have permission to own any and all weapons we darn well please.

    And the issue still remains of assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets and the like. Even if we agree that hunters and homeowners should be allowed a weapon, that doesn't mean they need to possess an arsenal and be better armed than the police.

  3. If we can't control 20 million illegal aliens from crossing our border, I doubt if we banned all guns tomorrow that a few wouldn't slip through the ole "comprehensive plan" border to criminals? I personally can't be convienced to eliminate the 2nd amendment, its too essential to our basic rights as citizens. I think Mr. Thomas Sowell is completely right in his article( As far as the hardcore weapons you mentioned, I don't know, i'm undecided, my only question might be where does the limit stop?