You know, I love the old “accidental gun deaths” argument as a reason for imposing more strict regulations on guns. I did a little running around the internet and found the website of the National Safety Council’s accidental death statistics.
A quick look-see reveals some fascinating information. My odds of dying from various causes over my lifetime breakdown as follows.
Firearms accident – 1 in 5,134.
Various falls – 1 in 218. The “falls” category includes a lot of different types of falls, including off stairs (1/2,360), falls involving furniture (1/4,473) and various other types.
Dying from being struck by a car while walking comes in at 1 in 626 chance of getting me, the overall category of motor vehicle accidents had a 1 in 84 chance of getting me. In that same category, air transportation accidents had a 1 in 5,051 chance of getting me.
Accidental drowning has is about five times more likely to occur to me than an accidental gun death, coming in at 1 in 1,134.
Mother Earth is also more likely to kill me than a firearm, as accidental exposure to forces of nature has a 1 in 3,288 chance of putting me in the ground.
While all these statistics are fun, I don’t want people to get the impression that I’m saying that gun owners shouldn’t act responsibly. Far from it; what I’m saying is that swimming pools, furniture, and nature itself are far more dangerous to me than firearms – and yet a different standard is applied to them.
Even the old saw of “we license cars, we should license guns” doesn’t hold water when you think about it. Sure, you have to have a license to drive a car. That license you can get when you’re eighteen by passing an extremely simple test. That same license allows you to operate that car anywhere in any state as long as you don’t break the law. Like LawDog said a while back, “hell yes, let’s license guns like we license cars”. I agree, it would be great to be able to purchase whatever guns I want in any state, carry them across state lines without fear of imprisonment, and do all those things I can do with my car.
The point is that “accidental gun deaths” aren’t anywhere near to the level of tragedy that some people would have you believe. Yes, every accidental gun death is a tragedy, but so is every accidental death.
If you want to license guns to prevent accidental deaths, you better start issuing licenses for owning bathtubs as well. That reminds me, I need to go to the local police department so I can fill out my “Possession of a Lethal Ottoman” form.