Is the Brady Campaign for the children?
July 24, 12:26
Austin Gun Rights Examiner Howard Nemerov will be on NRA News' flagship program "Cam & Company" tonight at 11:40pm Eastern to talk about his article Is the Brady Campaign for the children?
Visit www.NRANews.com to listen live to the broadcast! If you miss the show, you can listen to an archived edition until the the next live edition of "Cam & Company" airs.
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(Howard's segment will be archived for 5 days, in case you missed the show.)
In the previous part, we examined Brady’s latest attempt to scare us into supporting gun control by combining the small number of true child firearms fatalities with adults up to age 24, all under the heading of “Children & Guns.”
Of the 6 bullet points in their report, Brady practiced truth-in-advertising only once:
“The rate of firearm death of under 14-years-old is nearly 12 times higher in the U.S. than in 25 other industrialized countries combined.” [Emphasis added]
But even when telling a truth, Brady manages to hide other “inconvenient” truths.
Using the present-tense “is” implies…well…the present. But Brady cited a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study from 1997, which contained many biases that limit its reliability.
First, the CDC collected data for the years 1950-1993; data over 15 years old. A lot can happen in 15 years. For example, examining CDC data between 1993 and 2006 shows:
· Child firearms suicide rates dropped 68.8%, but the non-firearm suicide rate increased 10.2%.
· Child firearms homicide rates dropped 50.6%; the non-firearms rate dropped 17.6%.
· Child accidental firearms mortality rates dropped 84.7%; the non-firearms rate decreased 36.8%.
Rate trends only tell part of the story. In 1993, children experienced 543 firearms homicides, about 1.5 each day and a rate of 0.95 per 100,000 children. Children also experienced 921 non-firearms homicides in 1993, a rate of 1.61. By 2006, firearms homicides dropped to 285, less than one a day and a rate of 0.47. Non-firearms homicides dropped to 807, a rate of 1.33. During this time, child firearms murders dropped from 37% to 26% of the total.
While each of these deaths is tragic, there remains a context. In 1993, there were 17,710 firearms homicides and 6,479 non-firearms homicides of non-children (ages 15 and older), for rates of 8.73 and 3.19, respectively. While the non-firearms rate was only twice that of children, the firearms rate was over 9 times that of the children’s rate.
By 2006, non-child homicide rates had declined 39.8% for firearms and 34.6% for non-firearms methods. Because the non-firearms rate dropped faster than that for children, it was about 1.5 times that of children in 2006. But since the firearms rate dropped so much faster for children, the non-child firearms homicide rate rose to over 11 times that of the children’s rate.
The CDC reports similar trends and relationships for suicide and accidental fatalities. In plain terms, this means that in 1993, American children were far safer than the rest of the population. By 2006, children became even safer, and especially safer from firearms homicide.
What happened in other countries since 1993?
That is hard to say because of sparse data availability. In the CDC report cited by Brady, Finland ranked second in child firearms mortality, after the U.S. One 2002 report by Finnish researchers concluded:
“The annual incidence of fatal non-suicidal firearm injuries did not change significantly in Finland between 1990 and 1999.”
So while fatality rates declined dramatically in America, there is no guarantee that all countries in the CDC study experienced similar trends.
Additionally, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that over 5 million firearms were sold to the public each year during the 1993-2006 time period, about 44% of those handguns.* So the Brady premise of “more guns equals more gun death” is discredited.
The CDC only included firearms fatalities, so there is no way to determine if children in other countries died more often. Since 63% (as of 1993) of all child homicides in America were from non-firearms means, this 2-to-1 ratio could drastically alter results, had the CDC included them. Firearm or not, dead is dead.
Next, the CDC report included only those countries which the CDC decided were “industrialized,” creating sampling error by ensuring that countries selected had lower mortality rates than ours. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that in 1999, of 42 nations surveyed, the United States ranked 15th in homicide rate. All 14 deadlier countries average about 14% of the civilian firearms inventory of the U.S.**
Greenwood collated data from a 1997 United Nations report and found that many countries with low civilian gun ownership levels had high suicide rates.
This all discredits the hypothesis that gun availability has anything to do with fatality rates.
As the Brady Campaign becomes more desperate to “prove” that guns are bad, the more their research benefits Liberty supporters. But they will never give up the fight; neither should you.
* Firearms sales data compiled from various ATF reports.
** Data compiled from UN and Small Arms Inventory data.