Op-Ed: Accidents Don’t Happen

by C. D. Michel

Teaching Americans gun safety is like teaching politicians how to lie. It comes naturally.

Despite the National Rifle Association (NRA)’s high profile political activities, gun safety training and marksmanship comprise the overwhelming majority of its activities. Roughly 80% of its budget goes to these types of programs.

Gun control organizations, recognizing a way to rebuild themselves and fool the public into being less critical of their gun ban messages, have deceptively rebranded themselves as "gun safety" groups. In the process, they distort conventional notions of safety training and ignore that organizations like the NRA have been conducting actual gun safety classes since Reconstruction.

This is one of the gun ban lobby’s more modern and transparent political canards. While the disingenuous rebranding ploy insults true gun safety trainers, the gun ban lobby’s attempt at “safely” positioning also ignores one truly relevant trend; thanks to real and very common gun safety training programs, accidental gun deaths and injuries are at historic lows, and still falling.

As gun ownership rates climbed, accidents declined

Nationally, the gun ban lobby has steadily lost each of its arguments, and so the patience of most of the voting population. They lost the criminological argument thanks to reams of research gathered and posted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (a federal agency) and the National Academy of Sciences showing no connection between gun control laws and reductions in violent crime[GS1] . They lost the Constitutional argument when the Supreme Court certified, again, that the Second Amendment protected a fundamental individual right; just as the NRA, and constitutional scholars, had said all along. They lost the self-defense argument over the last two decades as 42 states voted to allow citizens to carry concealed firearms in public — and the dire predictions of Wild West shoot-outs in the streets didn't happen.

Exaggerating the risk of death in the home from guns is their last fear card. So they have turned the debate to “gun safety,” and mislabeled gun accidents as a disease.

Gun control advocates claim that firearms are inherently dangerous. Some go as far as to cite suspect research that insinuates (but, due to methodology mistakes, failed to prove) that the existence of guns in the home were contributory to deaths. But during the last few decades, private firearm ownership has steadily risen, while accidental firearm deaths have steadily dropped. The gun ban lobby;s claim that more gun control will improve safety runs counter to the data. That shows people are increasingly safe with firearms – even without the "benefit" of Vice President Joe Biden's advice.

Overall, from 1979 through 2009 (a conveniently round 30 year window for analysis), the accidental death rate from all types of firearms has fallen a whopping 80%! It has dropped from 0.9 deaths per 100,000 people to less than 0.2 in 2009. Meanwhile, the accidental death rate from guns has fallen vis-à-vis handgun ownership at a much faster rate. Refuting the gun ban lobby's claims is the fact that accidental deaths from firearms fell nearly 90% as a function of handgun ownership, dropping from four deaths for every 100,000 handguns in America to less than 0.5. This occurred despite the number of revolvers and pistols owned in private hands doubling in the same period.

Click here to read the entire article at CalGunLaws.com.

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