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home : opinion : columns April 29, 2016

12/30/2012 6:00:00 AM
Guest Column: Talking statistics on guns and other stuff
Alexander James
Kingman Resident

This is in response to "Guns make America a battlefield," which appeared in the Dec. 20 Miner.

It reads, in part: "Statistically, 32 people a day are killed by firearms in America. This equates to nearly 1,000 people's deaths per month. One thousand deaths on a battlefield would be considered with great alarm."

You want to talk statistics? Let's talk statistics.

Heart Disease (preventable): 599,413 deaths per year, 1,642 deaths a day.

Tobacco (preventable): 443,000 deaths per year, 1,213 per day.

Poisoning (preventable): 41,592 deaths per year, 113 deaths a day.

Motor vehicle accidents (preventable): 34,485 deaths per year, 94 deaths a day.

Firearm homicide (is evil preventable?): 11,493 deaths per year, 31 deaths per day.

Statistics obtained from CDC FASTSTATS.

Yes, America is a battlefield, but it sure isn't from guns. This is a quote from the Bureau of Justice summary of homicide trends in U.S., "In the last decade (since 2000) the homicide rate declined to levels last seen in the mid-1960s" (Cooper & Smith, 2011). Further, according to the CDC and Bureau statistics, the homicide rate and firearm related homicide rate has been steadily declining since the early-mid 1990s, despite what media outlets will have you believe (BoJ, n.d.).

Secondly, "mass shootings" have not been increasing - they have stayed consistent since the '80s - it's media coverage that is clearly increasing. I feel that you can logically make the connections, but if not, please, all I ask is that you find an unbiased source of information, as neither Fox, ABC, the Washington Post nor Mother Jones tell a complete and accurate story.

Folks, I am not here to tell you that I, as a law abiding American citizen, need to have a semi-auto rifle that cosmetically appears military in nature, nor do I need 30 round magazines. There are lots of things Americans don't need, and many of those things cause far more deaths per year than a gun, which, in case you forgot, is a tool, an inanimate object. I am not here to blame some other item or organization for the shooting in Connecticut, but I would like to remind everyone that making hasty, emotionally charged decisions has never lead to good long-term results, nor am I saying that nothing needs to change.

What if, after the next mass shooting that takes place in a "No Gun" free-fire zone, politicians call for censorship of the Internet and media outlets? How would you feel about that? You might say that violates your First Amendment rights! Yet the Internet and TV were not around when the Founding Fathers made our constitution, so why should free speech apply to those outlets?

Just as you now tell me that I can't have a semi-automatic rifle because the Founding Fathers obviously didn't intend for that, I ask you; did the Founding Fathers intend for Facebook, Twitter, TV, video games, and mass media coverage that constantly promote/perpetuate gun violence and evil in general? Did they intend for motor vehicles that take more lives per year than firearm homicides? Did they intend for the populace to literally eat themselves to death with processed foods?

When does it become OK to censor one amendment for "the greater good," and not OK to censor another? You might say that I don't need that sort of gun, but I say that irrational freedoms are just the thing that makes this country the country that it is.

All I ask is that you keep an open mind on this issue and please consider my viewpoint, which is one of a sane, law abiding citizen who takes the right to own and safely use firearms seriously, as do millions of others.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012
Article comment by: Alexander James

One more thing that some of you might find interesting:

The bill that Senator Feinstein is going to submit for approval includes a clause that will require that all "grandfathered" firearms that fall under her new Assault Weapons Ban (which now includes far wider range of firearms, including many basic defensive handguns and rifles) be REGISTERED by the owner.

So let me very clear on what that means. If you own a gun right now that falls under her bill you will be required to pay the $200 NFA tax stamp, be fingerprinted, put into the system, and be under a known government list for each firearm you own that falls under Feinsteins new and improved bill. That's scary.

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012
Article comment by: Alexander James


I want to apologize that the Miner did not include my references, they were there, as you may have been able to tell from my in text citations. If you want to see the same info I did just google search 'bureau of justice statistics' and spend some time looking around their site.

Secondly, I may have been too subtle in my sarcasm. For everyone who was outraged I would say something like heart disease was preventable, that was my whole point. Public safety is not the media or politicians first concern, if it was things like processed foods, cars, and tobacco would be banned outright, but we all know that wouldn't stop people from having accidents and mistreating their body.

The entire aim of my article was that part of what makes America the absolutely amazing place that it is, are the irrational freedoms that we have things we want, not things that we need.

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

Great article, just in case the libtards pressure the socialist, redistributer Obama to actually create a ban on certain weapons, I purchased a SCAR and a G-36 along with 10 - 30 round magazines and 5000 rounds of ammo. Do I really need anymore military style rifles, no, but if there is a ban, these weapons will be worth their weight in gold. Just for your edification, if my actions really upset you or offend you, GOOD, move to California or some other libtard state, have a nice New Year day.

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012
Article comment by: Lori Gabriel-Dane

To Alenxander James:

Your statistics, although they may be correct, are meaningless. Since when is heart disease preventable? Thousands of babies are born each year with heart defects. Many people who live right, eat right, and exercise daily, die of sudden heart attacks - how was that preventable? Poisoning is preventable? Maybe, as long as someone is not suicidal, as long as you're not eating food contaminated with ecoli, or as long as parents keep dangerous cleaning chemecals away from curious children. Many car accidents may be preventable if people paid more attention to what they were doing and not texting or preoccupied with something other than driving. However, none of the things you mentioned DELIBERATELY kill people,. No one DELIBERATELY has a fatal heart attack. No one DELIBERATELY sets out to kill themselves and others in a car accident. No one DELIBERATELY takes poison unless, like I said, they are suicidal. Guns, on the other hand, CAN be used to DELIBERATELY kill people.

It's great that you consider yourself a sane, responsible gun owner. But what do we do about the hundreds-of-thousands of gun owners who are not sane, nor responsible? That is the big question. And, unfortunately, there is no sure-fire solution to ending gun violence in this country. Sadly, this is our new norm, and as long as any type of gun is available to anyone, it will continue to be the norm and will only get worse as more and more people acquire bigger, better, and faster-shooting guns. What's next to hit the market - rocket launchers? Bazookas? A modern-day version of the Gatling, capable of firing off thousands of rounds in a matter of seconds? If the NRA had it's way, there would be no limit as to what's available to the general public.


Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Harris

The very basis for much of this "presentation" is that guns defend innocent people. More deaths and injuries result from accidents that defending person or property.

Bureau of Justice do you mean U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics which doesn't seem to respond to a Cooper & Smith search?

As far as gun homicides declining since mid 1990s, please include in your numbers improved medical treatment for gun shots.

Mass shootings - please define. Do we include the 3 gun victims in BHC recently. I don't think I saw that reported on FOX, ABC or any other national news source. Let's include 3 or more murders at one gun battle to more clearly shed light on increases of "mass murders."

Your statement about many things American don't need that kills. Yea, I guess those potato chips, or sitting around not exercising kills. But aren't those things we choose for ourselves knowing the consequences. I don't think Americans "need" bullets to be inflicted into them. So your justification of firearms is stupid.

And then your letter goes off the deep end blaming the internet for gun deaths. Since we're talking on that subject it is curious NRA wants to throw the 1st Amendment over for the 2nd Amendment. I, for one do not want my information or entertainment sources infringed upon by those advocating for guns. Please show me proof that Facebook, etc kills - we sure have thousands of examples yearly where guns kill.

After reading the recent letters advocating for violence by guns to continue unabated I can only come to one conclusion. Exactly how much of a discount on your NRA membership are they giving to submit letters to the editor?

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Gun safety

Good column and while I agree with your many points. I would like to add that while yes the founding fathers never thought of facebook, twitter and avenues to express free speech nor did they have the thought that cars would cause more deaths than firearms. Hoever, in both cases, there has been common sense restrictions. In the past courts have ruled that Free Speech isn’t free if it poses a clear and present danger, hence is the reason why you can’t yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. It’s also why we have speed limits. Yes you do have the freedom to drive a car, but you have common sense restrictions that you can’t drive it as fast as you want.
As for gun control, I’m like you. I’m a law-biding citizen, although I don’t own a gun but know plenty of people who do own guns. I have no problem with people owning guns. But just like driving a car is a huge responsibility and therefore you have to have a licenses, the same is owning a gun. Owning a gun is a huge responsibility and when our state legislature passes laws to do-away with CCW permits and makes it legal for anyone over 21 to carry a CCW, in my mind that makes us less safe. We don’t need to take away guns we just need common sense solutions to gun control.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Butch Meriwether

Good commentary Alexander!

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Be Told

Continuation of Danny Smith’s 12/29/2012 comment - 2 of 2 - From the imposition of Feinstein’s “assault weapon” ban (Sept. 13, 1994) through the present, the number of “assault weapons” has risen dramatically. For example, the most common firearm that Feinstein considers an “assault weapon” is the AR-15 rifle, the manufacturing numbers of which can be gleaned from the BATFE’s firearm manufacturer reports, available here. From 1995 through 2011, the number of AR-15s—all models of which Feinstein’s new bill defines as “assault weapons”—rose by over 2.5 million. During the same period, the nation’s murder rate fell 48 percent, to a 48-year low. According to the FBI, 8.5 times as many people are murdered with knives, blunt objects and bare hands, as with rifles of any type ...”.

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Be Told

I found interesting a comment that Danny Smith posted in The Verde Independent on12/29/2012 very interesting and should be shared with our readers here:

1 of 2 - “I am reposting also Sen. Diane Feinstein announced today a new comprehensive gun bill that she will introduce when the new senate convenes. Here are exerpts taken from a DOJ study that contradict just about everything that she believes about guns.
On her website, Feinstein claims that a study for the DOJ found that the 1994 ban resulted in a 6.7 percent decrease in murders. To the contrary, this is what the study said: “At best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders. Our best estimate is that the ban contributed to a 6.7 percent decrease in total gun murders between 1994 and 1995. . . . However, with only one year of post-ban data, we cannot rule out the possibility that this decrease reflects chance year-to-year variation rather than a true effect of the ban. Nor can we rule out effects of other features of the 1994 Crime Act or a host of state and local initiatives that took place simultaneously.”

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

Do you really think the left cares about your facts and statistics?
They have one agenda and that is the confiscation of guns....period.
You ask for an open mind, your asking people with no mind and are blind,
The president says the rich will be gigged no matter what, as he is so jealous of people who actually work for their wealth, he wants to hurt them knowing that it won't help our economy one bit....kinda like guns, the left knows it won't do one bit of good to protect our kids but they aren't gun enthusiasts so no one should own guns. ...kinda sad and they vote !

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Interesting, kind've kills the argument of guns are our biggest killer and problem in America and as a moderate democrat, pro-2nd amendment, anti-abortion with a clause no bans on or laws on either democrat who voted for Obama these statistics are good for proving how we need the health care law to help cut down on some of these health related deaths!

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: J J

Here's some use of the facts I've not heard yet:

If heart disease is so much more likely to kill one than a gun, why don't the pro-gun people around here spend more time being healthy? They sure spend a lot of time worrying about guns, but I've seen more fat people in this town with a gun than anywhere else I've been. Ironic that heart disease (preventable) will likely kill them before they ever actually need to use a gun for protection.

Given your own statistics , there's almost no reason to carry a gun, as you simply aren't in that much danger, right? But your heart, it's lying in wait to take you out.

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