Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Liston Matthews: Musings on the University of Tennessee gun debate

The University of Tennessee hosted a gun control debate January 21, 2015. The debaters were Juan Pacheco, a former gang member and speaker for the Peace Warriors Network, and Glen Caroline, Director of the NRA Grassroots Division of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA ILA).

Pacheco began with a presentation about himself, his background and his purpose. He spoke about the need for safe storage of firearms; one might say he is in general agreement with the NRA and all responsible gun owners.

Later, Pacheco attempted to correlate firearms availability to suicide in the US. Yet, a check of World Health Organization (WHO) data, as reported by World Life Expectancy shows the US suicide ranking is number 63, far behind South Korea and Japan, at 13 and 14 respectively. Both those nations have a suicide rate about twice that of the United States. Both those nations have nearly a virtual ban on private possession of firearms. They illustrate that firearms availability does not closely correlate to suicide.

Pacheco attempted to equate increase in firearms ownership with crime, yet government statistics show, as Caroline pointed out in a slide, that as the gun ownership rate has increased dramatically, crime has decreased in US.

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