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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Virginia Center for Public Safety Laments That Candidates Avoid Gun Control

The Virginia Center for Public Safety sent out this email yesterday lamenting that candidates running for office this year are not raising the issue of gun control.  After rolling off the usual statistics on murder by firearms, negligent discharge (they call it accidental), and suicide by firearm, they say:
As things stand today, neither Presidential candidate has expressed a clear plan on how to deal with this monumental public health issue, though their party platforms are quite different on the subject.

Perhaps most troubling is the fact that, thus far, neither candidate appears to have the strength of character to bring up this issue for sensible and reasoned discussion.

Other topics, that have nowhere near the same potential impact on American lives, are freely discussed and debated back and forth, but not this one.
According to a March 2011 CDC report, of the top 15 causes of death in the nation, suicide ranked 10th and homicide ranked 15th.  That same report showed that in 2009, 588 people were killed by the negligent discharge (again the CDC calls it accidental) of a firearm.  While that number is too high, negligent firearm discharge deaths are at all time lows, and was well below automobile accidents (36,284), accidental falls (24,834) and accidental drownings (3,539).  There were 11,406 homicides by firearms in 2009.

There is no evidence that gun control reduces crime.  In fact in cities like Chicago and Washington DC that at one time banned private ownership of firearms, and all but bans it now, the evidence is just the opposite - the citizens of the two cities are at the mercy of well armed criminals.  Both of these cities are among those which are not particularly hard on their criminals as's Cam Edwards details nightly in his Deal of the Day segment. Maybe putting violent criminals behind bars and keeping them there would reduce those homicide numbers.

It's likely voters know that gun control does not control crime and explains why gun control does not even register as an issue important to voters, and why the candidates are talking about issues like the economy and jobs.

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