Every year, nearly 3000 children and teens die from gunfire, and nearly 14,000 are injured.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sacrificing Our Children in the Name of the Second Amendment

Just released is an excellent review of the effects of gun violence on the deaths of children in the United States compared to other countries, factors involved, and the role of the NRA and their ties to gun manufacturers to perpetuate gun sales despite the deaths.

The article is entitled Sacrificing Our Children in the Name of the Second Amendment, by Dr. Art Kamm.

He lays out the basic problem as follows:

The US experiences a grossly disproportionately higher rate of firearm deaths in children than other industrialized countries (ref). According to the CDC, the rate of firearm deaths in children under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the US than 25 other industrialized countries combined. American children are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die in a firearm accident than children in those other countries.

Often, pro-gun advocates say that shooting accidents where children find guns and accidentally fire them are caused by a lack of sufficient training of the child. However,

Although programs have been developed to educate parents and children about gun safety, the effectiveness of such programs in children is questionable (ref). In the June 2001 issue of Pediatrics a study was published entitled ‘Seeing is Believing: What Boys Do When They Find a Real Gun’ (ref). In that study, 29 groups of boys aged 8 – 12 years were observed in a room where a gun was hidden. Many of the children found and handled the gun, and half of the children actually pulled the trigger. ”More than 90% of the boys that handled the gun or pulled the trigger reported that they had previously received some sort of gun safety instruction.” And an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics entitled “They’re Too Smart for That” (ref) examined parents’ beliefs about how children would react to finding guns, with particular emphasis on how parents reasoned about children’s actions. All respondents in the survey, regardless of gun ownership, geography, race, gender, education level, income, or child age, were equally likely (around 87%) to believe that their children would not touch guns they found, 52% reasoned that children were “too smart” or “knew better”. The conclusion of the article was that caregivers’ unrealistic expectations of children’s developmental levels and impulse control may effectively relieve adults of responsibility and place the burden on children to protect themselves.

So, clearly, gun safety education and parental assumptions about their children are not enough.

He then goes very thoroughly into the NRA lobbying efforts and ties to gun manufacturers, such as NRA board membership by individuals closely tied to manufacturers, and multi-million dollar donations to the NRA from manufacturers.

Such a link of a not-for-profit organization to profit-making corporations raises valid concerns regarding the objectivity of the organization, such as the effectiveness of its Eddie Eagle “gun safety” program

He shows fairly well that the driving force behind NRA efforts isn't about Second Amendment rights, but about profits of gun manufacturers, at the cost of American lives, and increasingly paranoid rhetoric to drive sales by an ever-dwindling number of gun owners.

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