Don Kates' observation on gun accidents
From an email from the prolific Don K.:
My many decades of conversations with laypersons on this subject show that the general populace has (largely because of mendacious propaganda) an almost comical misunderstanding of the subject. Common misperceptions include: (1) that gun accidents take thousands of lives each year; (2) that the number of fatal gun accident deaths (FGAs) is growing rather than rapidly shrinking; (3) that large numbers of infants and small children die in gun accidents; and (4) that the number of gun accidents grows with increasing numbers of guns.
The facts are:
[1), (2) and (4)] in 1967 there were slightly over 97 million civilian guns in the nation – and FGAs took over 2,700 lives. As of today when there are over 280 million guns civilian guns FGAs have shrunk to c. 770 per year. By way of comparison, falls, fires and drownings each take over 5,000 lives per year.
(3) The number of children, especially small children, killed in gun accidents is minuscule – though when it happens any such death receives nationwide publicity.
Post-natal mothers are commonly advised to take iron supplements. On average, nationwide 5-10 infants under age 2 die each year from swallowing iron pills (which look like candy).. In contrast, on average, each year 0-2 children of that age die in gun accidents. (An average of 36 children age 2 and younger die from consuming common household poisons of all type.)
On average, nationwide, four times as many children under age six die of accidental poisoning as in gun accidents. Likewise four times as many such children die in fires caused by their playing with cigarette lighters as in gun accidents. 20 times as many such children drown in bathtubs and home swimming pools as in gun accidents.
As to teenagers, on average 135-140 die in firearms accidents each year compared to the 5,700-6,000 teenagers who die in motor vehicle accidents.