An open letter to a potential new gun owner...

To the new gun owner: Welcome to the growing number of Americans who are taking responsibility for their own safety.  You may find this hard to believe at first, but gun ownership for self-defense is not as hard as it might seem.  The media has invested a great deal of effort in showing you the risks of gun ownership, but rational examination of the evidence reveals a different story.  Please, allow me to respond to your specific concerns:
How many families, with children, own a gun?  According to the National Center For Health Statistics, 34% of homes with children, house a gun.
To keep some perspective, let us not forget that this means millions of households with children and guns -- millions of households that are managing to do so safely and without incident.
Caucasian families represent the highest percentage of firearm ownership, than any other ethnicity. In fact, it is more than double the percentage of any other race. I was shocked to read this. No matter what purpose the firearms serve, the fact is, that they are still present in many homes in the US.
I am shocked that the racial makeup of firearms owners was considered worthy of comment; what possible use could this information be?
The stories of children being injured or perishing because of gun accidents are ever increasing. This is what scares me most. Statistics show that 2.6 million children, who live in a home that contains a firearm, have access to them. Gun control is obviously an issue that needs to be better executed.
In America, we recognize that the preservation of liberty requires citizens to act responsibly, without the government imposing itself.  The measures required to "better execute" gun safety by government mandate rather than personal responsibility would require eviscerating the 2nd, 4th and 5th amendments to the Constitution, all of which are valued as important and vital civil rights.  Instead, we ask individuals to educate themselves and their children on how to voluntarily store and use firearms safely.

This policy has resulted in the risk of a child dying from an  firearm accident being substantially lower than the risk of a child drowning in a swimming pool. 

I would have responded with more detailed statistics, but the CDC's cause-of-death website appears to be down.  If it comes back up later, you can use the instructions here to get decent information.
Furthermore, the AACAP, claims that guns kept in the home are 22 times more likely to kill a family member or friend, than kill someone in self defense. That is a staggering statistic!
Statistics that are "staggering" are also often misleading, especially when they are raised in the context of gun control.  Various organizations and individuals responsible for pushing the anti-gun agenda have produced and popularized many "statistics" that are significantly flawed.  I recognize the "22 times more likely to kill a family member or friend" as a restatement of discredited research done by Arthur Kellerman.  Here are just a few of the flaws in Kellerman's research:
There were far more flaws in the original study than I have mentioned here.  I tracked down the AACAP's paper on firearms in the home which does in fact cite Arthur Kellerman for that statistic.  It may also be worth noting that Kellerman's original study claimed killing an acquaintance was 43 times more likely.  Although Kellerman has reduced his claims in response to criticism, the methods he uses remain fundamentally flawed.
What is your opinion on the subject? Do you think that we are foolishly letting our fear drive our decision regarding purchasing a gun? Would you keep a firearm in your  home? Do you think the possible safety a gun can offer, is worth the risk of hurting/killing a child?
There are risks associated with everything.  Your risk of your child dying in a car accident on the way to school is probably greater than the risk of your child dying from in a firearm accident.  You can make sure of that by storing your firearm responsibly (so that it is not accessible to younger children) and making sure that older children are trained and raised to understand and respect the firearm, rather than fear it.  ("Forbidden fruit" is very attractive to children, so the firearm must not be forbidden completely; instead it should be respected, stored securely, and its use supervised). 

Firearms are very effective defensive tools, and while I cannot speak to whether your specific situation warrants fear, I can say that it is better for parents to be able and willing to protect their children than for parents to abdicate that responsibility to police.  The risk of a child dying from a firearm accident in a responsible gun owner's home is much, much smaller than it is usually portrayed in the media.  Be aware of that, take responsibility for your safety and your children's safety, and you should have no reason to regret your decision.

This entry was published Fri Feb 22 14:30:32 CST 2008 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2008-02-22 14:30:32.0. [Tweet]

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