The states of California, New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland have seen significant increases in criminal misuse of all weapons, including firearms. It must be clear to anyone paying attention that those states have the strictest firearms laws in this country. Why would anyone expect more draconian gun control laws to somehow work?
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 35 – No 10 – October 2016
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Those amendments are actually a Bill of Restraints on the federal government. History teaches us that without them we would not have had the Constitution and likely not a country.
While the total number of firearms and the population of the United States have increased dramatically, both the rates and absolute numbers of firearm deaths have decreased. Poorly done and often discredited studies such as the 1993 Kellerman study are still referenced by those who wish to decrease our freedoms.
Supporters of still more gun control laws often point to innovations in motor vehicle safety reducing auto fatalities as a model for mandating similar safety modifications to firearms. This comparison is false on several levels. First, better trauma care has reduced fatalities and mitigated injuries from both motor vehicles and firearms. Decreasing gasoline prices encourage drivers to log more miles, thus increasing the probability of collisions.
But the auto-to-firearm comparison really falls apart when one ponders the obvious—auto deaths are almost all accidental, but firearm deaths are almost all intentional. Expecting a safety device to stop a killer is ridiculous.
About two-thirds of firearms deaths are suicides. Countries with strict firearms restrictions have higher rates of suicide than we do. Mentally ill persons who choose to commit suicide can always find a way. Police and criminologists have data that small populations of chronically violent offenders are responsible for most wrongful homicides. A firearm is simply a tool and not the cause of the criminality.
Death is inevitable. None of us will leave this world alive. But reducing the already declining number of avoidable deaths in America will not be accomplished by passing even more gun prohibition laws. We should renew our allegiance to the Constitutional principles that made America great instead of looking for even more ways to limit the freedom of good Americans.
—Robert A. Margulies, MD, MPH, FACEP