Tuesday, September 22, 2015

NH Disarmist admits most "Gun Deaths" Intentional

Young hunter with semi-automatic shotgun and game birds.

A disarmist, writing in New Hampshire, stated the obvious in a letter to the editor about the difference between deaths that are associated with motor vehicles and those that are associated with guns.  It is an important point, one that is usually obscured and minimized by those who want to remove guns from peoples hands.   Anthony McManus writes in fosters.com:
And the difference is greater than just numbers. Millions of people, on a daily basis, drive thousands of miles in cars, trucks, buses, vans, motorcycles. Except in a very small number of cases deaths are caused by "accidents"— drivers falling asleep, poor road conditions, driver inattention, weather conditions, vehicle malfunction and, unfortunately, drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs. When a death occurs it is almost always unintended.
Gun deaths, on the other hand, are almost always a deliberate act — homicide against targeted (and usually known) individuals, or suicide.
That is mostly correct.  Because killings committed with guns are intentional, they are subject to all of the limitations that exist when trying to alter intentional human behavior.

The vast majority, about two thirds, of killings committed with guns are suicides.  Legislating whether a magazine holds 15 or 30 rounds will make absolutely no difference to suicides.  Whether a gun is a single shot or semi-automatic will make no difference.

The evidence indicates that completely removing guns will not make a difference, because suicides who use guns are not trying to seek help.  They are trying to die, and numerous substitution methods are available, as the Japanese, Belgians, Hungarians, and Koreans, who have virtually no guns, and suicide rates about twice that of the United States, demonstrate all too sadly.

I do not believe that Americans will be any less capable of finding substitute methods than the populations in those other countries.  Everyone has a simple means to find easy, painless, alternate methods of suicide on the Internet.

With that bit of honesty committed, Anthony McManus then puts forward this whopper of a false talking point.  Like many good lies, it has a smidgen of truth in it, and a number of false assumptions.
Although the number of fatalities are sizeable and regrettable, motor vehicles are not designed to kill people. Guns are. There may be a legitimate use for rifles and shotguns in hunting but there is no other purpose for handguns, automatic and semi-automatic weapons, and assault rifles except to threaten and/or shoot other human beings.
First, the bit of truth.  Handguns, automatic and semi-automatic weapons, and "assault rifles", are very useful for threatening and/or shooting human beings.  It is a major use.

The false assumption is that threatening and shooting human beings is always evil.  Threatening and shooting human beings is often required and necessary.

A father who uses an AK 47 clone to threaten and shoot home invaders is using the rifle in an appropriate and useful fashion.  The store owner who uses a handgun to prevent armed robbery, uses the handgun in an appropriate and useful way.   The Doctor who uses a handgun to stop a mass killing by shooting the assailant, is using the handgun in a way approved of in moral and legal codes.

The assumption that these are the only design uses for handguns, semi-automatic and automatic firearms is simply false.

Firearms are designed to send projectiles down range at substantial velocities, propelled by the action of burning gunpowder.  It is why they are called  "firearms" instead of squirt guns.   But a great many handguns, semi-automatic, and automatic firearms are designed and used for purposes other than threatening or shooting people.    "Assault rifles" fit into the previous categories, and in the U.S. are very seldom used to murder people.

The smallest category of the above, in the United States, are automatic firearms.  Because of error ridden government records, we can only approximate the numbers of legal automatic firearms in the United States.  It is about 183,000.  Those firearms increased in numbers from a little before 1900 up until 1986, when the number was frozen by law.   In the entire 80 year history since federal records have been kept, there may have been three murders committed with a legal automatic firearm (other than those in government hands).  One of those was by a police officer.    The vast majority of these firearms are used for target shooting, to be displayed to admiring and curious visitors, as investments for collectors, and a objects of art.

Enormous numbers of semi-automatic firearms, whether pistols or long guns, are primarily designed for hunting, target shooting, and training. 

Literally millions of semi-automatic rifles are made and sold every year.  Yet, as a category, they are the next least used in murder (after automatic weapons).   The total number of murders committed with rifles in the United States was 285 in 2013.  The number of those that are semi-automatic is some fraction of the 285.  The FBI does not break down the rifles by action type, but semi-automatic has been the favorite action type for at least two decades.  I would not be surprised to learn that semi-automatic rifles are between one and two thirds of the American stock of rifles.

There are about 120 million rifles in the United States, so one person is murdered for about every 400,000 rifles, in a given year.

The vast majority of them are never used to threaten or shoot a human being, though large numbers are used for target shooting, hunting and pest eradication.

There are many millions of semi-automatic shotguns as well, almost all designed and used for hunting and target shooting.   308 people were murdered with shotguns in 2013.  The number murdered with them is about half as many as are murdered with personal weapons (hands and feet), which was 687 in 2013.  There are about 120 million shotguns in the United States.

Most threatening and killing done with firearms is done with handguns.  But even in the case of handguns, many are designed for target shooting and hunting, and far more of them are used for those purposes than for threatening and shooting people.  Many of them are used for defensive purposes against animals, a use not mentioned by Anthony McManus.  5,782 people were murdered with handguns in 2013.  There are about 120 million handguns in the United States.

The idea that "there is no other purpose for handguns, automatic and semi-automatic weapons, and assault rifles except to threaten and/or shoot other human beings." is simply false.

Definition of disarmist

 ©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.     Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

I wonder what the statistics would be for actual uses of ammunition. I personally used 25,000 rounds to practice my fast draw. I eventually got good enough to hit a 50 cent piece at 50 feet with my fast draw, draw. I used several more thousands of rounds to get good at rifle shooting. by the time I was 18 if you could see it I could hit it. I'm 67 and not nearly as good as I used to be but being in front of me is not a good place to be if we have a problem. So out of all of the ammo that has ever been made how much has actually been used to kill someone? Why has our government recently bought several billion rounds of ammo that is intended to kill and can not be used in military weapons under the Geneva convention? How long do you have to target practice to burn up several billions of man killer rounds?

Anonymous said...

How many cell phones have caused death? When will they be outlawed?

Artfldgr said...

While attempting to make your point you let a false point slip by.

Although the number of fatalities are sizeable and regrettable, motor vehicles are not designed to kill people. Guns are.

actually guns are NOT designed to kill people they are designed to safely throw a projectile.

The person using the gun gets to decide whether its used to prune off branches of trees to use the cuttings for making more straight trees for the lumber industry.

the person using the gun gets to decide whether its used to shoot at a safe target in a safe manner, and even make a game out of scoring, or a sport out of the skill needed to get that launched projectile WHERE YOU WANT IT TO BE

the person using the gun gets to decide whetehr its used to celebrate a wedding in afghanistan

the person using the gun gets to decide whther its used to put food on the table (last i heard cannibalism is not legal nor practiced much any more)

the list of uses of guns outside killing people is large, and the guns themselves are not designed to kill people... anyone going to the automatic gun shows where you get to sit and shoot maching guns are not there to shoot each other or have some man run up and down the hill with explosives... they use a old van for that and a pully system to make the target move.

the only VALID place guns are used to kill people is in wars, insurgencies, revolutions, etc... (And in some of them thats if you agree with the point, if not, then its not a good use of guns).

remove war... and remove crime against people with guns
and pretty much ALL the uses of guns are not about killing people
and only some of the uses are for even killing animals

if one wants a weapon specifically designed to kill people only, then one should look to the katana and other swords. swords are not for bear hunting, trimming the bushes out front of your home, they are instruments for combat between people in which one or both may end up dead or deformed. and even that has become a sport where the dominant use of swords is practice, entertainment, and competition where people go to great lengths not to get hurt.

chainsaws have been used in murders, even outside hollyweird, would you say that they are designed to kill people? (wood chippers too).

last week there was a new york article where they are on a manhunt trying to find a man who took his car and ran over another... we all agree that the car is not designed to be a death weapon for people... but ask the dentist whose wife ran over him, then backed over him while his daughter was in the car yelling at mom to stop.

what about archery? it parallels guns... made for exactly the same reasons, its also a weapon that is designed to throw a projectile... what it is directed at is the users choice... just as when a car is used as a weapon and not when its properly used.

if you want to go down lists of what people use to kil each other it can get quite silly and amazing... piano wire, cable, cars, explosives, hands (by far the worst culprit. in fact, if you cut everyones hands off you would stop a lot of crime, you would also stop a lot of other things too that are not crime), spatula, swords, water deep and shallow, poison, deep wells, cliffs (back up a bit more honey), animals (pit bull kills person, doberman attacks old lady), bad advice, and the list goes on and on...

i am quite amazed you let that one slip :)