Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Primer to resources for The Gun Control/Gun Policy Debate

As concerned citizens with a strong moral sense, we need data and facts to apply to our moral reactions and judgments to life’s challenges. Being a good responsible citizen does not call for   us to simply to go with the flow, nor to ignore of tragic events in the lives of our fellow humans. As responsible adults we can not accept or ignore the evil in the world. Civil society expects us to use our experience to test and refine our faith and clarify our moral responsibility in the world. Gun violence and ownership in the United States is a moral issue.

The Bill of Rights makes clear that the first fundamental right from which all others follow is the 1st Amendment. 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights insures the right to a redress of grievances. Current guns laws and their absence pose a genuine threat to the safety and security of the citizenry Today, however, it seems that the 2nd Amendment has become the challenger to the 1st Amendment We need to consider where the boundaries  are to be drawn between these two principles; and why “bearing arms” carries such a strong moral imperative for responsible gun ownership. .  It is time for Congress and the courts to clarify which of the rights has priority.

Regardless of your feels about the gun ownership, let us debate the issue based on a common set of objective facts. This Primer is presented as a resource for those who have a serious interest and commitment to working for solutions to the current and future problem poses by the unlimited access to guns.

Let us begin with the most basic of facts:

What does a gun and bullet do to the human body?
"No matter which side you take on the sale and use of firearms in this country, the fact remains that you will encounter the results of firearms injuries. This tutorial is designed to give you a working knowledge of the types of firearms, the types of ammunition used, the nature of injuries that can be produced in the body, and the investigative techniques employed by the forensic pathologist in assessing firearms injuries."

from:  the Firearms Tutorial University of Utah College of Medicine

What is irresponsible firearms use?

Here is an example:  Celebratory gunfire - often seen in the movies, holidays and weddings around the world

What is the human cost of guns on American Society?
Here are some additional sources related to the issue of gun ownership and accidental and irresponsible gun use in the United States. The impact of gun deaths, injuries and accidents in context of the overall health care system can be found in the statistic from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

All Injuries
All injury deaths
Number of deaths: 177,154
Deaths per 100,000 population: 57.7
Motor vehicle traffic deaths
Number of deaths: 34,485
Deaths per 100,000 population: 11.2
All poisoning deaths
Number of deaths: 41,592
Deaths per 100,000 population: 13.5
All firearm deaths
Number of deaths: 31,347
Deaths per 100,000 population: 10.2

Assault or Homicide
All homicides
Number of deaths: 16,799
Deaths per 100,000 population: 5.5
Cause of death rank: 15
Firearm homicides
Number of deaths: 11,493
Deaths per 100,000 population: 3.7

Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury
All suicides
Number of deaths: 36,909
Deaths per 100,000 population: 12.0
Cause of death rank: 10
Firearm suicides
Number of deaths: 18,735
Deaths per 100,000 population: 6.1
Suffocation suicides
Number of deaths: 9,000
Deaths per 100,000 population: 2.9
Poisoning suicides
Number of deaths: 6,398
Deaths per 100,000 population: 2.1

Do your own search for cause of death and by ages 0 - 65+ go to
The National Center for Injury Control and Prevention
WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, National and Regional, 1999 - 2010

Where is gun violence to be found?
The geography of gun violence in the USA
The Atlantic Maps
The Geography of U.S. Gun Violence
by Richard Florida Dec 14, 2012 148 Comments

What is the financial cost of firearms death to individuals and society?
From an insurance point of view
Jean Lemaire
Source: The Journal of Risk and Insurance, 2005, Vol. 72, No. 3, 359-374
 What are your local gun laws?
 The source is the NRA itself check this link

What is the impact of gun laws and ownership on criminal and public safety?
For specific Administration statistics check out the following for the most recent data:

The firearms industry as presented by the ATF Department of Justice (Firearms page)

FBI Crime statistics (Crime statistics page search results)
What is the police response to school violence involving guns?
Prevention and Response to School Violence  from the International Association of Chiefs of Police

What do school official say about gun violence in schools?
“Preventing Gun Violence in Public Schools” from National Association of Secondary School Principles

Who are the main lobbying organizations supporting the 2nd Amendment and gun ownership?
Here are the links to several gun lobby groups American Firearms (Home page - retailers) (NRA) National Rifle Association (Home Page) (JPFO) Jews for the preservation of Firearms Ownership (Home Page)

Here is the most ironic in light of Sandy Hook (NSSF) the National Shooting Sports Foundation (Home page)
National Shooting Sports Foundation
Flintlock Ridge Office Center
1. Mile Hill Road
Newtown, CT 06470-2359 (GOA) Gun Owners of America (Home page)

Read about the Rhode Island Connection to the founding of the NRA
The NRA was founded after our civil war.
Sources for further information
To monitor many news sources and congressional action check out:

The Orator Network
There are plenty of articles and commentaries available through a Google, Bing, or Yahoo search but you may be interested in the statistical data, the actions of congress, and the statements from the industry. The above is offered to assist you in your research.

You are invited to add to the list.

 Americans for Responsible Solutions   Gabby Gifford initiative on Gun Control

Carrying Laws

 Keeping Score:
How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?

 January 2013

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