Guns Reduce Accidents

Guns Reduce Accidents and Other Fascinating Facts and Figures To Amaze Your Friends

by Greg Perry by Greg Perry


Only a few trends are encouraging these days:

Computer prices decrease as their computer power increases. That’s great.

Ultra-cool flat-screen, wall-mounted televisions are more abundant and less costly than ever. Glad I put off buying one before now.

Hollywood incomes are dropping like rocks since the strike. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people.

Some good trends are related to health and safety. You hear about most of them. As you know, heart attack victims are surviving far longer than ever. My father’s triple bypass in 1995 seems almost like a non-event today as he drives his truck to his rental houses daily to do what needs to be done (at age 72). Stroke deaths dropped an astounding 63% from 1970 to 2002.

A Trend That Hits a Bull’s-Eye

One trend related to health and safety that you may not know about is this: firearm-related accidents have steadily decreased since such record keeping began in 1903. Far more important and astounding is that for the past 10 years this drop was extra dramatic.

You might need to read that previous paragraph again.

Surely you knew all this already. I doubt Katie Couric would miss an opportunity to announce such news. Probably CNN has run this statistic on its scrolling ticker constantly since the details were released to the public. And you just know Barbara Boxer has repented of all the lies she’s told about guns and safety. Certainly, the pro-Republican (but not pro-right) FoxNews probably has aired 20 specials to educate the public about this good news for gun owners. Without a doubt, government schools across America’s great plains have begun educating students about shooting being a far safer activity than ever. To keep all her gun-loving voters, Hillary’s probably running on an Americans-Are-Safer-with-Guns platform.

What’s that? You didn’t know gun accidents are at an all-time low and have been decreasing both per capita and in percentage terms steadily for more than 100 years?

You know why you didn’t know this don’t you? The media and the politicians don’t want you to know this. Yet, the data that produces these conclusions comes from the National Safety Council. The NSC’s sole mandate is to "educate and influence people to prevent accidental injury and death." This group isn’t one you’d think would want to take up the NRA’s cause. The NSC encourages lots of laws and then more laws to promote safety in the workplace. The NSC loves to publish OSHA safety violations when they can find them. As a matter of fact, you can thank the National Safety Council for the fact that 3-foot ladders are no longer sold in America.

(It’s because 3-foot ladders aren’t tall enough to hold all the safety stickers and warning labels groups such as the NSC promote.)

(Yes, I’m joking about the 3-foot ladders. But if you’ve ever seen a ladder coated with the required warning stickers lately, you know it’s close to being true.)

"Everything in moderation" isn’t bad advice. It’s usually the things we do or crave in excess that get us in trouble, right? Overstating safety dangers has an interesting side effect. The more safety warnings they put on medicine bottles, especially over-the-counter medicines, the less people will read the label. Have you taken a cough syrup or something like that lately? You want to take it properly. You want to take it safely so you look at the label and instructions to find the proper dosage. Typically, I would bet most people start reading through the scores of finely-printed paragraphs that describe the dangers, the side effects, the problems with children taking the medicine, and you start skipping ahead trying to find the dosage, and you skip down a few paragraphs and the warnings are still being listed, and you look towards the end and realize it’s somewhere earlier in the text… and you look elsewhere in the instruction sheet and see you’re in the Spanish translation of everything, so you give up and take a spoonful or two of the syrup. You’re coughing too much to read the novel on the label or instructions. Yet, groups like the NSC want more and more text on everything you touch because they are basically bureaucrats who believe their words are important.

Safety is important. That is why putting too much safety verbiage on products such as medicine and ladders has the opposite effect from the intended one: too many warnings help to ensure that users of those products won’t read any of the warnings. They’ll glance at all the text and decide they’re too busy to be bothered so they just start using the product.

Fortunately the gun industry hasn’t plastered too many warnings on guns. Sometimes a rifle or shotgun barrel might have a stamped referral for the user to read the instruction manual’s safety guidelines but the gun makers don’t overdo it. Unlike the ladder industry, gun makers don’t think yellow and red stickers improve the look or effectiveness or safety of their products.

Reading through the NSC’s web site will make you sorry to be alive because you’ll be convinced that whatever you do next, whether it’s decorating for Christmas or eating your next meal, whatever you do you’ll die a horrible accidental death. So if the NSC’s data states that firearms accidents are at a 100-year low, you should take that data with more than a grain of salt. They seem to me to be run by the kind of people who don’t want to promote any good news about owning guns. Yet, the facts are facts and they were confident enough with the data to release it.

Man’s Favorite Sport Is Girls But Shooting’s Probably a Safer Sport

I didn’t know that firearm accidents are at a century-year low even though I stay abreast of news related to guns. I learned about this incredible study in the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Industry Intelligence Reports, Volume 2, Number 5, 2007. If you cite the National Shooting Sports Foundation as your source when you pass along the gun-related safety statistics that are so low you will be stunned, any opposition hearing you will surely argue that anything the National Shooting Sports Foundation publishes is biased toward guns. And that may be somewhat true. But why are gun owners not allowed to hear anything but bias against guns everywhere they turn? Does the fact that the National Shooting Sports Foundation prints something change the truth about data they publish? Not at all. In today’s world, if you want to hear any good news about guns you’ll have to find it in some pro-freedom publication or web site because every other source will squelch the information immediately.

I suggest you use the original-source organization, the National Safety Council, as the basis for the figures you cite. You don’t have to state that the National Shooting Sports Foundation put the data into nice charts and easy-to-understand text. The data came from the NSC so quote them when you announce these findings to those on the left who hate your freedom but pass a copy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s publication to every freedom-lover you know so the news can spread. It has to spread this way because the major media is too busy trying to locate a gun accident to report good news about the lack of accidents.

The next time a politician wants to limit your use of guns once more, put the real data in front of them.

Consider these facts the NSSF states so eloquently:

  1. In the past 10 years, firearm-related accidents in the home have dropped by more than 44 percent!
  2. Over the past 9 years, the number of unintentional firearm-related fatalities for children 14 and under has decreased by 69 percent!
  3. Firearms are involved in fewer than 1.2 percent of accidental fatalities among children 14 and under!
  4. The number of unintentional firearm-related deaths has decreased by 40 percent — from 1,225 accidental deaths in 1995 to just 730 in 2005!
  5. Accidental fatality rates involving firearms are at the lowest levels in history at 0.2% per 100,000 population!
  6. Since 1903, the rate per 100,000 population of accidental fatality rates has declined by 94 percent!
  7. Of firearms, fires, flames, smoke, motor vehicles, and ingestion of food or objects, unintentional fatalities in the USA from firearms had the largest rate of decrease in the past decade!
  8. More people died from natural heat or cold in 2005 (the final year in the study) than by firearms!
  9. The record-high year of firearm-related accidents was in 1930 where America experienced 3,220 incidents. In 2005 this number had dropped to only 730 in spite of the fact that the population grew considerably and the number of firearms present in America skyrocketed!
  10. If you really want a safe sport, go hunting! In 2005, there were 808 non-fatal shooting accidents and 95 fatal shooting accidents out of 20.9 million active hunters (those who hunt more than once each year aged 7 and older). Cheerleading, Archery, Baseball, Boxing, Football, Hockey, Martial Arts, Mountain Biking, Mountain Climbing, Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball, Water Skiing, and Wrestling each had fewer participants and more injuries than hunting!

Let me offer two caveats. First of all, I have difficulty accepting the term accidental injury/death when it relates to guns. I accept only negligent injury/death. If the four rules of gun safety are adhered to (Will the BATF Seize Cheney’s Gun?) there will be no gun accidents. Whoever pulls the trigger is responsible for the placement of the bullet, intentional or otherwise. I’ll stick with the improper term accident for this article simply because that’s the wording used in the study.

In addition, I realize than a firearm-related injury is likely more serious than a tennis injury. Yet the fact that there were fewer tennis players than hunters but almost 19,000 more accidental injuries from tennis in 2005 means that the incessant harping we hear from the anti-gun, freedom-hating, America-loathing pundits is steeped in lies, untruths, and exaggerations. You knew that already if you regularly read but now you have some stone-cold facts to back up your beliefs.

Why Is Shooting A Safer Activity Than Fishing?

Several reasons have been cited for this incredible decrease of firearm-related deaths and injuries. I can offer some of my own. Since 1995, the first year of the huge decade of decrease in gun-related accidents, a huge number of states issued concealed carry permits. With those permits comes some required training. That training is not real training and I doubt the required class has been responsible for teaching Americans much about proper gun handling but being able to carry a weapon has spurred many to learn even more about using their guns elsewhere and become far more proficient and responsible than they otherwise would have.

Institutions such as Gunsite, Suarez International, Thunder Ranch, and the newly-opened mecca for gun training, the U.S. Shooting Academy, have seen a tremendous boom in business as more and more states offer concealed carry permits. People are learning to shoot not just to carry and not just for defense but also for the fun and sport of it. But institutions such as Gunsite never let a skill supersede any aspect of safe gun handling. The safety rules always come first without exception. If you take a class at a place like Gunsite, the odds of you ever committing a negligent discharge are about as slim as Rudy Giuliani honoring the second amendment.

Now if you carry or own a gun you should take a class from one of these institutions, but until you do lots of other resources are available on the web as well as books and magazines, where gun training and proper handling are described and taught. By the way, no matter how much or how little training you have, the very next book you should read is Boston’s Gun Bible. Every answer a novice or pro has is answered somewhere in Boston’s book and you’ll come away with far more than gun knowledge; you’ll have wisdom.

Although the idea of a lock on a gun is ludicrous in almost every situation, the free market has created many good solutions for the homeowner who wants to keep his or her firearm close with fast access but still off-limits to children who may be curious but are not ready to handle weapons. Little safes that fit under your bed or nightstand that can instantly open with the right fingerpress combination are incredible (Amazon has one of the best ones ever conceived here).

Gun Owners Are Calm

Not only has the increase in concealed-carry states reduced gun crime in those states, it has also reduced accidental injuries and deaths related to the firearm. Unlike the lie that almost every Hollywood production in the past 40 years has portrayed about Americans who own firearms, the gun owner who has the proper training and knowledge of how to use the gun are typically the calmest people you’ll meet. See, when you have a firearm and you know how to use it, and you practice with it, you know that if you ever must take action, you can. That assurance means you don’t have to boast to feel superior. You don’t have to test an opponent because you know your skill set. You have an edge. You have the ability to handle a life-threatening situation so you don’t allow situations to escalate as you might if you weren’t as prepared and confident.

That’s another reason the firearm-related injuries and accidental deaths have decreased. Gun owners are calmer and safer in general.

The father of the Modern Pistol Technique, the late Colonel Jeff Cooper, had this to say: "A good shot must necessarily be a good man since the essence of good marksmanship is self-control and self-control is the essential quality of a good man."