By Joe Sinagra | The Save Jersey Blog
With misinformation about guns as rampant as ever, Save Jerseyans, we recommend freshening up on the truth – and the stats behind the truth – before heading out to your family Christmas celebrations this week.
Don’t cede the table to your gun-grabbing Uncle Gary!
There are roughly 32,000 gun deaths per year in the United States. Of those, around 60% are suicides. About 3% are accidental deaths (between 700-800 deaths). About 34% of deaths (just over 11,000 in both 2010 and 2011) make up the remainder of gun deaths and classified as homicides.The large majority as gang related homicides.
The leading causes of death:
- Heart disease: 611,105
- Cancer: 584,881
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978
- Alzheimer’s disease: 84,767
- Diabetes: 75,578
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979
- Kidney Disease: 47,112
- Intentional self-harm (total suicides): 41,149
- Firearm suicides: 21,175, accounting for almost 52% of all gun deaths
- (Firearms were used in 19,392 suicides in the U.S. in 2010, amounting to almost 62% of all gun deaths.)
- Suffocation: 10,062
- Poisoning: 6,637
Every time a gun injures or kills in self-defense, one is used:
- 11 times for a completed or attempted suicide
- 7 times in a criminal assault or homicide
- 4 times in an unintentional shooting death or injury
For a comparison, Japan is probably the opposite example of the situation here in the United States. With few guns and gun-related deaths, Japan is one of the most mentioned countries by gun-control advocates. However, even as strict as Japan is on guns, the suicide rate in Japan is more than twice the United States’ suicide rate.
The U.S. suicide rate is about the same as Great Britain, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, and Iceland and below France and Greenland. Suicide rates seem to have little to do with the availability or accessibility of guns.
Suicide gets a lot less attention than murders because the news media generally does not cover suicides the way they do murders. Suicide is the second-most common cause of death for Americans between 15 and 34, but it is more stigmatized and less discussed than homicide.
Granted, guns are the suicide weapon of choice, but looking at the statistics, I would think mental health is the bigger issue.
The high rate of gun suicides in the United States is not new; in the 1980s and 1990s, when violent crime rates were much higher, gun suicides were still a more common cause of death than gun murders. However, in recent years, as the gun homicide rate has flattened out, the gun suicide rate appears to be ticking back up slightly.
The greater part of gun laws are aimed at a segment of the population that is mostly law-abiding and outside of the gang culture and would likely do little to stop any of the violence.
Mental illness is a clear risk factor for suicide and mass shootings, too.
Firearms are not the leading cause of death in the USA and suicide is the bigger issue in the deaths caused by firearms.
The takeaway lesson? If politicians cared that much about gun deaths and just stooped passing feel good laws every time there was a shooting, would it not be better to target areas where the majority of problems exist . . . perhaps by addressing mental illness and not the law-abiding citizens?
Pass the yams.