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Gun control, what the numbers say.

19 February 2013, 10:02

Gun free South Africa and other organizations striving to make the country safer for criminals have been very vocal following the recent shootings in America and locally. One of the things that bother me is the use of American statistics (propaganda) in their arguments for gun control locally. So let us look at the American statistics objectively and see what they tell us.  If I made a mistake in my calculations please feel free to correct me.

According to the American Centres for Disease Controls’ annual Leading Cause of Death Statistics 11 684 people, excluding suicide, were killed by firearms during 2010. Of those 8 775 were murders while the rest include, among others, accidents, self-defence and police officers using firearms in the course of their duties.  

According to FBI statistics only 2 out of every 13, or 15%, of people murdered with firearms are killed by legal firearms. 15% of the 8 775 is 1 316 per year. Since there is roughly 270 million legal firearms, dividing it by the number of people murdered with legal firearms gives you one murder with a legal firearm for every 205 167 legal firearms.

In total 2 468 435 people died in 2010 of which 31 672 or 1,2% were killed with firearms. Of the 31 672 people who died from gunshots, 19 392 was self-inflicted which accounts for 51% of all suicides. 31 672 may seem like a lot until you consider alcohol induced deaths are 25 000 per year and drug induced deaths are 40 000 per year. Cancer killed 574, 742 people, heart disease 780, 213 and motor vehicle accidents 35 000 people.

That means, there being 313 million Americans, the average person in America has a one in 40 000 chance to be murdered by a firearm while there is a 1 in 200 000 chance that a legal firearm will be used to commit a murder annually. From these numbers I cannot believe that any rational person would argue for stricter controls for legal firearms.


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