Monday, April 25, 2016

NRA's Line About "Defensive Gun Use" Is Bogus. Here's Why...

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The Number Of People Who Use Guns In Self-Defense Is Negligible

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80% Of All Firearm Deaths In 23 Industrialized Countries Occurred In The U.S.

“Toy Guns Outlawed At Republican Presidential Convention. Real Guns Allowed”

As we suspected: NRA's Myth of Defensive Gun Use is largely just a myth


The cold, hard facts:
In 2012, across the nation there were only 259 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program as detailed in its Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR).
That same year, there were 8,342 criminal gun homicides tallied in the SHR. In 2012, for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides.
And this ratio, of course, does not take into account the tens of thousands of lives ended in gun suicides or unintentional shootings that year.
“Gun advocates” are working from a mythical, idealized and utterly false concept that the gun is some sort of magical creator of protection.
Pro-gun advocates – from individual gun owners to organizations like the National Rifle Association – frequently claim that guns are used up to 2.5 million times each year in self-defense in the United States.8
According to the 2004 book Private Guns, Public Health by Dr. David Hemenway, Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center:
Much discussion about the protective benefits of guns has focused on the incidence of self-defense gun use. Proponents of such putative benefits often claim that 2.5 million Americans use guns in self-defense against criminal attackers each year. This estimate is not plausible and has been nominated as the most outrageous number mentioned in a policy discussion by an elected official.


“The [National Rifle Association] has staked its entire agenda on the claim that guns are necessary for self-defense, but this gun industry propaganda has no basis in fact,” Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of VPC, which conducted the review, said in a statement. “Guns are far more likely to be used in a homicide than in a justifiable homicide by a private citizen. In fact, a gun is far more likely to be stolen than used in self-defense.”
Sure, there were 291 actual defensive uses of guns, situations in which a bad person was doing bad things and the person with a gun was able to stop that bad person by shooting them and killing them. And yeah, sure — there were doubtlessly other times in which a gun owner displayed a gun as a deterrent to lethal force, causing some dumbass to rethink their intentions. I get it.
Delusions often contain some kernel of truth: guns CAN be used defensively. Pitchers CAN throw no-hitters in baseball games. I heard a baseball fan caught five foul balls in one game recently. Essentially people get really lucky once in awhile OR rare circumstances emerge that end fortuitously for the gun advocate.
I took an emergency call from a client recently, older woman with a history of depression and PTSD stemming from molestation as a child. She’s a wreck and has been waiting for an answer from SSDI. It was denied recently and she lapsed into a fairly deep depression. We processed this on the phone and I ended up discussing with her the concept of “self-fulfilling prophecies,” which can be very potent drivers of behavior and attitudes.
She went on a rant about how she “knew” this would happen, this stuff always happens to me” etc… Basically her self-fulfilling prophecies are reality-based — they could happen, they aren’t preposterous or crazy. But per the Law of Thirds, there’s a 33% chance some awful thing one believes will happen will happen. Has nothing to do with your brain, it’s just that shit does sometimes happen.
And I think that the NRA has, in a powerfully and in a hugely unethical manner, encouraged a form of self-fulfilling prophecy for gun advocates who clearly — at this point in time — think guns should be everywhere we go — in case somebody has a gun. These are the people who BELIEVE you cannot leave the house unarmed. You cannot POSSIBLY go to the Walmart without being armed.
And the facts show this is just complete nonsense. This has to be a huge reason the NRA has worked so tirelessly to PREVENT gun data from being collected and used.
Of the 8,601 total homicides recorded in 2012, just 259 of those deaths were the result of a self-defense scenario, according to the study. There were thirteen states in which zero justifiable firearm deaths were logged that year. That no-deaths list included states with relatively strict gun control laws as well as states where firearms are more easily accessible.  From New York and New Jersey, with tighter regulation, to Idaho and Montana, known for their love of hunting and opposition to gun control, firearms don’t appear to be used with any real frequency to save one’s self or family, according to the study.
As always, I see myself in the realistic “middle” of this hugely important issue. MOST gun owners are responsible as evidenced by the same data: there are hundreds of millions of guns in America and while any tragedy is a tragedy and there are thousands of them a year, this is still a tiny fraction of what it could be if it was a “worse” problem. I don’t support gun prohibition for a variety of reasons I’m not going into here. I DO support severe new regulations that provide very stiff penalties for negligent discharge, improper storage and the like. I'd like gun owners to be required to have significant training and to be required to update/refresh that training every year or ever two years — just like I have to renew my license to do what I have done for 30 years. It’s not too much to ask and would create jobs.
But I also think these foamy-mouthed gun nuts who have to have guns everywhere they go, who have these bizarre delusions the government is going to take their guns and who buy and hoard MORE guns every time there is a notable shooting (as opposed to a mundane shooting, I suppose: welcome to America) … they are the ones who buy into the Myth of the Gun hook, line, and sinker. They build their entire lives around this false belief. They threaten others who even try to discuss adding some sort of common sense to the discussion. They consider these facts to be an affront to their “rights” and it is so clear they do not give a fart about your rights.
They are within their right to buy all the guns they can. That is the Second Amendment.
I am free to suggest they are nuts because the facts are getting to use their guns like they dream of in their wild fantasies is about as rare as getting hit by lightning. They are placing their families and their neighbors at risk, as well as you or me, given the number of negligent discharges we hear about in supermarket checkout lines, for example. People are forever storing their guns in a pocket and they fall out when paying for the crap they went to the store with their gun to buy.
The NRA and many of their supporters are completely full of shit.
The fact is your gun is just about useless while the death and damage attributable to guns is staggering.

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