Analyzing gun control

Though mass shootings are often cited as a reason to increase gun control, they are random and infrequent enough to be a negligible risk to most of the population.

High visibility of crime won’t lessen crime, and this has been statistically shown. Gun owners don’t watch news reports and think of themselves as potential mass murderers, because for the most part, they aren’t. People who don’t own guns and oppose gun ownership do not need additional media influence to be swayed.

It’s estimated that there are nearly as many guns in the country as U.S. citizens. By and large, the statistics show that countries with more guns have more gun deaths, and that the U.S. has the most gun deaths of any developed country. This is often used as an argument for gun control, rather than taken for the circular reasoning that it is. Countries with more guns have more gun deaths, as a percentage of the whole population.

Wouldn’t it be more surprising if the actual statistic had no correlation at all? Of course more guns means more deaths by guns. Just like more cars means more car accidents, and more drugs means more drug abuse. Just like we can’t take cars off the road to stop accidents, and take all drugs off the shelves to stop overdoses, Congress isn’t planning to confiscate firearms from law-abiding Americans anytime soon.

According to the CDC website, there are about 5.1 homicides per 100,000 people in the U.S. yearly, and 3.5 homicides by gun per 100,000 people. Since January 2015, there have been 294 mass shootings in the U.S. According to a BBC article written in light of the recent Oregon shooting, 9,956 people have been killed in “gun incidents,” and twice more have been injured. Now, when you compare that to the CDC data, which specifies homicide as the cause of death, realize the 9,956 people that have died in gun incidents so far this year includes suicide and accidents.

Still, the BBC article makes the reader jump to a conclusion by lumping in the statistic along with the number of mass shootings, a term that is vague and poorly defined, more of a buzzword than a classification. Of course, this type of dishonesty is easy to dodge criticism for, and even easier to do on televised news, which leads to the instinctive American fear of being murdered by an armed psychopath whenever an isolated incident gets national coverage.

Mass shootings in the U.S. are classified by the number of people shot, and national statistics rarely report the number killed unless mentioning a specific incident. This means that a mass shooting can be anything from four injured with a death toll of zero, to the recent Oregon incident where 10 people died and nine more were injured. It’s common to hear inflated numbers that combine the number of injuries, deaths and hospitalizations.

According to the Washington Post, there are about 380 people dead, and 1,000 injured so far this year as a result of the 294 mass shootings. That averages out to 1.3 people dead per shooting spree. On average, about 30 people are killed by firearm homicide each day.

This means most of them aren’t victims of mass shooters. People are five times more likely to die of food poisoning than they are to be a victim of a mass shooting. People are more likely to shoot themselves intentionally, than they are to be shot.

No amount of firearm legislation short of confiscation is going to make a significant impact on the injury and death toll by firearm in the U.S. because we have the highest ratio of guns to citizens. Additionally, no amount of firearm legislation is going to lower the suicide rate, it’ll just lower the suicide rate by firearm.
If the push for gun control was to lessen gun deaths, maybe that would make sense. Although this wouldn’t deter most people drawn to murder or driven to commit suicide, there is at least statistical evidence that with less available guns, these individuals would have to get a bit more creative than using firearms. Sure, people would still die, and in similar numbers, but at least it will not be by a bullet.