Need to base gun rules on facts, not emotions

Slow down. Easy. When we are upset, we members of the human family are vulnerable to jump on popular bandwagons, especially if emotional speeches are made in their support. But the popular emotional argument often is wrong.

One of our UP students, Natalie Hansen, a leader of the Gladstone walkout, said, “I wanted a conversation to start.” I respect that. Yes, let’s talk — after carefully digging through facts and thoughtfully examining possible solutions. Once I started looking at some stats, the problems and effective solutions are not easy to determine.

I examined, “Firearm death rates in the United States, by state” on Wikipedia. Here is what I found:

The states with highest gun murders are: District of Columbia, 16.5 murders per 100,000, 25.9 percent gun ownership; Missouri, 5.4 murders per 100,000, 27.1 percent gun ownership; and Maryland, 5.1 murders per 100,000, 20.7 percent gun ownership.

The states with the lowest gun murders: Vermont, 0.3 murders per 100,000, 28.8 percent gun ownership; New Hampshire, 0.4 murders per 100,000, 4.4 percent gun ownership; and Hawaii, 0.5 murders per 100,000, 45.1 percent gun ownership.

The states with the highest percentage of gun ownership: Alaska, 61.7 percent gun ownership, 3.2 murders per 100,000; Arkansas, 57.9 percent gun ownership, 3.2 murders per 100,000; and Idaho, 56.9 percent gun ownership, 0.8 murders per 100,000.

Just for contrast, Michigan’s stats are 28.8 percent gun ownership and 4.2 murders per 100,000.

Based on this data, you cannot make a sound case that gun ownership is the problem.

I did not find statistics on how many crimes, including attempted murder, that were ended because someone nearby had a gun. It would be good to know.

I noted an article, “Do Gun Laws Reduce the Gun Homicide Rates in States?” by professor John A. Tures, political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. After studying various factors in his college class, he states, “We cannot conclude that states that regulate private gun sales have a higher or lower gun homicide rate.” Their next focus will include the impact of mental health laws.

The issue of gun safety is important, complex and deserves careful study. We cannot afford to mindlessly repeat the views of political action groups. Human lives are at stake here.

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