In the last few years the number of fatal firearm accidents has been at record lows. In 2010 it was 606, in 2011 it was 600 (preliminary). These numbers had been falling for a long time, then leveled off at about the 600 figure in 2005. Of those about 10% are children ages 14 and under. That number in 2010 was 62.
To put these numbers in perspective, the number of children who drown in swimming pools and hot tubs per year is about 383 from (2006 to 2008). From a safety perspective, swimming pools and hot tubs are far more dangerous to children than guns are, by over a six to one margin. This does not take into account that there are 30 times as many guns (about 310 million) in the United States as there are swimming pools (10 million). I do not know how many spas or hot tubs there are.
When children die in a gun accident, it becomes national news. Partly this is because it is so rare; partly it is because it fits the media template to portray guns as a threat to children. I have never seen a comparison in the old media of how many children die from swimming pool accidents compared to how man die from gun accidents. (Perhaps this is because many reporters have swimming pools, but that is pure speculation.)
One thing is crystal clear from the above data; in terms of accidental deaths, having a swimming pool is many times more hazardous to children than having a gun.
This is not hard to understand. Guns are easily controlled by an adult, who can keep them about her person, lock them up, unload them, and teach children about them. Swimming pools are much more difficult to control, lock up, cannot be carried on the person, and cannot be drained anywhere as easily as a gun can be unloaded.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch
Update: This has been covered in another blog, culturalcognition.net
I think background checks of the sort “defeated” in US Senate (because passed by a majority that wasn’t big enough; I need a civics refresher course on how congress works...) would be a good idea. I also would support ban on “assault rifles.”
But it’s obvious, to anyone who reflects on the matter if not to those who don't, that the incidence of the accidental shootings of children adds zero weight to the arguments that can be made in support of those policies.