sábado, 6 de julio de 2013

Indisputable Proof: Stricter Gun Laws Save Children’s Lives

Do we love our children – or, rather, do we love our children more than we love our guns? Nationwide data tells us how to reduce child gun deaths.
First, a look at the problem. American children live in a heavily armed war zone, proven by these extremely troubling statistics:
  • The number of U.S. children and teens killed with a gun greatly surpasses the number of U.S. military personnel killedin Iraq and Afghanistan. For instance,2,793 children and teens were killed with a firearm in 2009, which equals six dead children for every one U.S. military personnel lost in the same year (466).
  • The number of preschoolers killed by firearms from 2008 to 2009 (173) was nearly double the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty (89) in those two years, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.
  • Guns take the lives of more children and young people than cancer or infection, killing twice as many children and teens than cancer and 15 times more kids than infection, according to theNew England Journal of Medicine.
Simply put, we have an epidemic of gun violence in America – and thousands of children are the direct casualties. The remedy that the NRA and staunch gun rights activists refuse to admit is thatstricter gun laws save lives.
Here’s the proof:
  • When analyzing 10 years worth of data, 60 percent more children are killed with gunsin the 10 states with the weakest gun laws compared with children living in the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.
As shown in the charts below, the average annual child gun death rate in states with the strongest gun laws is considerably lower than child gun fatality rate in states with the weakest gun laws.
States with the Strongest Gun LawsAverage yearly gun death rate per 100,000 children, 2000-2010States with theWeakest Gun LawsAverage yearly gun death rate per 100,000 children, 2000-2010
California4.1Montana5.2
New Jersey1.9Arkansas4.3
Massachusetts1.5Maine1.7
Hawaii.4Wyoming4.6
Connecticut1.5Kentucky3.2
Illinois4.4Mississippi5.4
Maryland4.9New Mexico5.8
New York2.1Idaho3.8
Rhode Island2.2Vermont2.1
Florida3.2Arizona4.9
Average annual gun death rate per 100,000 children in states with strongest gun laws2.6Average annual gun death rate per 100,000 children in states withweakest gun laws4.1
  
[1] The state firearms law analysis is drawn from a 2010 report by the Legal Community Against Gun Violence entitled “Gun Laws Matter: A Comparison of State Firearms Laws and Statistics.”  [2] The data on state-by-state child gun fatalities is drawn from a 2013 report by the Children’s Defense Fund entitled: “Protect Children, Not Guns: Gun Violence in the States, 2000-2010.”

Of the 10 states with the highest rate of gun fatalities among children[2], seven of them make the top 10 lists for weakest gun laws or highest gun ownership rates — or both. (Note that Alaska and Louisiana, known for lax gun laws, didn’t make LCPGV’s top 10 list for weak gun laws.)
10 States with Highest Rate of Gun Deaths of Children and TeensAverage yearly gun death rate per 100,000 children, 2000-2010
Alaska +8.7
Louisiana7.5
New Mexico *5.8
Mississippi *,+5.4
Montana *,+5.2
Missouri5.1
Maryland4.9
Arizona *4.9
Alabama +4.8
Wyoming *,+4.6
* State is on the top 10 list for weakest gun laws, as judged by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.+ State is on the top 10 list for highest gun ownership, per LCPGV.

In an ideal world, guns would never harm anyone except “bad guy” attackers. But that’s not the reality. How long before the majority of policymakers accept the hard reality this data shows us? How many more children will die before we revamp U.S. gun ownership laws?
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