Are gun death statistics barometers of the extent of gun crime? One will be inclined to think so. But there are some groups lobbying for unrestricted gun ownership that refuse to accept this linkage and maintain that people need guns to protect themselves. They are nonchalant about gun death statistics. They refuse to realize that these are not tragedies affecting our own countrymen. And if such tragedies occur to someone close to us. can we afford to assume the same kind of indifference to gun death statistics at that time?
We can find gun death statistics on the newspaper pages, television news reports and panel discussions. People engaged in a gun control debate cannot but use gun death statistics though these statistics may be interpreted in different ways by people taking opposite positions in the debate. Unless we understand that gun crime statistics seek to convey a message and use our common sense to understand what that message is, these data will remain a part of the vast data that is stored somewhere but is never used.
Can we afford to ignore the fact that guns are used in about 60 percent of the homicides? A superficial reading of gun death statistics may make a person feel that there is nothing odd about guns being used in homicides. But if we look at this fact a little deeper, we will know that guns come handy to people who commit crimes. Another fact relating to homicides is that in regions that have a larger number of gun owners among the population, the chances of children becoming homicide victims are much higher.
While gun control facts like the ones mentioned above will instantly evoke a strong response in our minds, we may be inclined to underestimate statistics relating to gun ownership. The information that for every hundred Americans, there are 89 guns also carries a serious message if we take a careful look at the figures. This will happen if we understand that this data simply means that there is almost one gun (0.9 gun, if you want to be very precise)for every American. Now, we will realize that this is an abnormal figure.
When we find that anti gun control groups like the NRA (National Rifles Association)are not concerned about gun death statistics, we will be justified in considering the NRA not as an association of sportsmen but as a lobby.
We should consider gun control pros and cons to judge the issue of gun control dispassionately. But there are some groups which are not inclined to involve themselves in such an exercise. Apparently, they have a fear that gun control facts may not favor them. But people who are in favor of strong gun control measures are willing to consider gun control pros and cons. They can afford to do this because the gun crime statistics are in their favor!
When we start looking at the gun control pros and cons, we need to necessarily look at gun death statistics. Gun death being a major issue propelling the gun control movement, we need to necessarily look at the information provided by innumerable gun control articles published in the media over the past few decades. Since a gun control article may be in favor of or against strong gun control legislation, depending on the position of the author of the article, we will find both gun control pros and cons listed, if we read a large number of articles. Reading a number of articles will thus make our analysis more balanced.
Gun control pros and cons include information on gun crime. Gun crime statistics show that the US has the largest gun ownership ratio with 89 guns per 100 people. When we consider this along with another fact that the US has a larger ratio of the number of gun deaths to population than South Africa, we cannot fail to see a link between bun ownership and gun crime. After all, study of gun pros and cons has the objective of drawing the right conclusions from such a study.
But there are some sections of the population like the National Rifles Association (NRA) who are interested not in looking at the pros ad cons of gun control but only in pursuing their agenda of anti gun control. Such a stand by the NRA shows it to be a highly paid lobby, not as an association of sports persons, as it will want us to believe. Unfortunately, there are some pro NRA legislators who, without considering the gun control pros and cons, persist in aiding the cause of the NRA by making rules preventing the National Institute of Health even from studying gun violence.
Gun crime statistics are compiled for a reason. The purpose of statistics, in general, is to present data in a simplified and useful way so that the people concerned can use the data to analyze the situation and take adequate steps to improve things. But gun death statistics do not seem to have been taken seriously by the law makers. On the other hand, gun control pros and cons are being discussed endlessly with no breakthrough being achieved.
The following are the highlights of the situation presented by gun crime statistics:
1) A very high proportion of homicides involve use of guns. According to a finding, the figure is 60 percent , well past the half way mark. This is not something that the advocates of uncontrolled gun ownership can derive comfort from. The high gun death percentage in homicides should lead to an honest introspection by all concerned.
2) The number of deaths resulting from gunshots is about 30,000. This high figure should awaken the conscience of the gun lobby and make it agree for at least some compromise. This is the message conveyed by this part of the gun crime statistics. If you consider this figure along with the fact that women and children are more vulnerable to gun death in houses that have guns, you can realize the danger potential of guns.
3) Gun control facts may not move the NRA who are bent upon blocking any gun control measure and who are not interested in joining any meaningful gun control debate either. If you think that the NRA is a gun club, you may have to change your perception. NRA is a highly paid lobby with the sole objective of blocking all gun control measures using any means it is capable of. Gun crime statistics will cut no ice with it.
4) Even as we are discussing gun crime statistics, we should be alert to the fact that there are many legislators who stand by NRA and who make it a point to block all CDC efforts at collecting gun death statistics, going to the extent of stopping them on their tracks when they attempt to study gun violence.
This is where you need to be to find unbiased gun crime statistics. There are a bunch of bad data floating around, read real gun crime data and form your opinions from real statistics.