Guns Don't Save Children, People Do

We have all heard the mantra: “Guns don’t kill people, people do”. The statement is the over used and nonsensical argument that guns are not the problem. The belief behind the idea is that limiting guns, like the assault weapons and high round magazines, will not reduce gun violence. The position is that guns are little more than an object, like a hammer, a car, or a hypodermic needle. None of these objects can get up and walk or move by themselves; it is only in the hands of people that they can become tools to wreck havoc and death within a community.

A fine line between a slogan and a lie

Just like you really can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a complex issue by a slogan, even if that slogan is repeated, NRA gun chart posted, and tweeted over and over as the universal truth of gun advocates. The graph at the right charts the statistical values in gun ownership in America from 1959 to 2010.

It is true that the number of households that own guns has been on the decline. The share of households who own guns decreased from 1973 to 2010. Three decades ago, 50 percent of households owned guns, in 2010, just 32 percent do, according to University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center.

What the graph does not show, however is that the number of guns in those households that have them, has steadily increased by 65 percent. That is the portion of guns in America owned by just 20 percent of gun owners.

America has only 5% of the world’s population. Yet that 5% of the world population own a full 50 percent of the guns on Earth according to CNN.

From 2001 to 2011 47% more Americans have been wounded seriously enough by gunshots to require a hospital stay. In 2001, 20,844 people suffered gunshot wounds that serious. In 2011, it was 30,759, The Wall Street Journal reports. But the murder rate is going down? Why is that? Because hospitals have gotten better at treating traumatic wounds.

America has seen 62 mass murders since 1982. Three quarters of the guns involved in mass murders that were obtained legally, Mother Jones reports. Semi-automatic handguns were by far the weapon of choice, followed by assault rifles.

All of the statistics from the various publications were reported by the Atlantic Wire. The link for the story is below.

Atlantic Wire – Guns in America statistics

Guns Don’t Save Children, People Do

The majority of Americans experienced a deep hurt in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings, and the hope for new laws banning automatic weapons grew and was sustained by a belief that this time it is was different. The hurt was deep. The national disgrace was amplified worldwide. President Obama asserted that this violence cannot go on.

NRA ABC poll ABC Poll and Graph

52 percent: Americans support a national ban on semi-automatic weapons.

59 percent: American Women support a national ban on semi-automatic weapons.

We will not forget. Not this time.

Yet we all know the short memory of human beings on such issues. Once the emotional memory has faded, the call for action can fall to a mere whisper. There are always other problems like a fiscal cliff, immigration reform, or a looming a debt ceiling that rise up to mute an obvious need for a ban of automatic weapons. It will not be guns in the hands of security guards posted at all the schools in the nation that will save children. It will be people who save them. It will be those who do not forget Newtown.

I, for one, will not forget the moment when I fist heard the words that 20 children were shot on that Friday morning in Newtown. Like most people, I could not believe it until I heard a second time.

Guns Don’t Save Children, People Do. I am one of those people.


2 thoughts on “Guns Don't Save Children, People Do

  1. A bit of history…….The extensive use of automatic weapons by the organized criminal element engendered by prohibition precipitated a piece of legislation commonly called the Gun Control Act. This act required an extensive background check and approval by local law enforcement authorities and a $200 tax stamp for each automatic weapon owned. $200 had a great deal more value when the act was passed than it does today. Many local police subsequently denied all applications in a blanket fashion.
    New legislation has been proposed to put semi-automatic weapons into the same
    category as automatic weapons, and would probably increase the tax stamp price.
    I don’t think there have been many prosecutions for illegally owning automatic weapons, the WACO massacre being the most dramatic exception. However, should this new legislation pass I’m fairly confident in predicting mass civil disobedience with enforcement problematic– most likely resulting in more police than civilian casualties.


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