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Thread: Writer corrects inaccurate gun statistics.

  1. #1
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    May 2006
    Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA

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    This guy used the incorrect information published in...where else?... The Washington Post. I agree with his libertarian friend in this article. I am not opposed to articles regarding gun safety. I think all firearms owners should responsibly store their weapons, this is especially important when children are present. I am opposed to articles that suggest imposing more laws in these areas, especially when they rely on faulty information. Simply urging firearms owners to practice proper storage techniques does not bother me...I think he should alsodiscuss the education of children regarding firearms as it is more important than safe storage.


    By Glen McAdoo

    Last week I reported, in my column, figures taken from an article by Sandra Boodman of the Washington Post. In her article and mine a reference was made to a Centers for Disease Control report that there are 500 accidental deaths of children per year from firearms. I heard from about 10 people that those figures are not accurate. They're not. And with all due respect to Ms. Boodman, I cannot find an actual CDC report verifying her statement.

    While some folks were downright obnoxious, I appreciate very much a response received from Paul Raynolds, a National Rifle Association instructor from New Jersey. He asked that I make a correction and admit the numbers were wrong and that I shouldn't have repeated them. Consider it done.

    I should have been consistent and used the Harvard study throughout the article. According to an article written by Christopher Noble and published by Reuters on March 1, 2002, that study looked at data from 50 states from 1988 to 1997.

    "In that period, 6,817 children between 5 and 14 years old died from firearms (I think it should say by someone firing a firearm): 3,447 from homicides, 1,782 from accidental shootings and 1,558 from suicide."

    That's about 178 accidental deaths per year, a far cry from the 500 reported by the Post and repeated in my article. The numbers of suicides is about 156 and is alarming.

    A quick check of the New York Times Almanac 2006 makes me even question the numbers published in the Reuters article. The almanac shows that death by firearms is the No. 7 cause of accidental death in this country behind motor vehicle accidents, falls, poisoning, drowning, fires and smoke, and suffocation or choking. There is reason to hope. Accidental deaths by firearms have consistently gone down from a high of 2,406 in 1970 to 700 in 2003. The almanac also shows a decline in accidental firearm deaths of children. The almanac shows 48 accidents and 86 suicides in 2003. However, if you include teenagers, the numbers jump to 107 and 742 respectfully.

    This correction should not, and I certainly hope, will not, distract from the point I was trying to make about gun safety in the home and the excellent recommendation by the Remington representative regarding such. Remington can hardly be called anti-gun.

    My thanks to Mr. Raynolds for his constructive, albeit pointed, criticism of the numbers in the article and for his efforts to address the issue of gun safety in the home. Seven others used word for word the same statement in their response that made me wonder if they were all related, plus they seemed not at all interested in the point of the article, which was strictly gun safety and nothing more. Some read many different things into the column, none of which were implied or intended.

    Some respondents said over and over that more children die from drowning. Well, yeah. Does that mean that gun safety in the home should be ignored? Pneumonia and influenza, Alzheimer's disease and kidney disease ranked No. 7, 8 and 9 as the leading causes of death in the United States in 2002. Should we ignore those? Death by firearms is not the major contributor to child deaths, but it is one that can be dealt with by simply practicing firearm safety. Don't leave loaded guns out where they can be easily found by children. That's not asking too much, is it? This can and should be done voluntarily and without any new laws.

    Here are a few more safety tips, although I know the mention of helmets will drive my good friend, the libertarian in Arizona to drink. He responded by saying he applauds my efforts regarding gun safety so long as I am not promoting any new gun laws. Insist your children wear helmets when skateboarding or riding their bikes. Put some of that can't slip stuff in the bottom of your bathtub. Teach your children never to talk with strangers. Make sure your children are properly buckled up or are in car seats, depending on their age, when riding in the car. Teach your children to swim at the earliest age possible. Keep poisons and all medications out of the reach of children. Don't let your children play with matches and teach them to chew their food up properly.

    And yes, if you have firearms, practice gun safety in your home. It's just the sensible thing to do. There, I've said it again. We must strive to eliminate needless deaths of our children. It's a goal we should all work together on in a rational way whether we be gun enthusiasts or not. Let's work together where we agree and stop feuding where we don't agree. It's time we listened to the concerns of gun owners and it is time they listened to others. We can work together. Thanks to all who responded, pro or con.

  2. #2
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    May 2006
    Mesilla/Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA

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    It is nice to see this issue of "faulty statistics" corrected and the facts pointed out to all those who are terminally liberal and do not believe in self defense.
    It would be even better if the major newspapers jumped on this, especially the ones who keep repeating the same old lies.

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