A gun in the house equals a tragedy waiting to happen

BY KEN GERMANSON

In recent weeks, there have been three incidents in Milwaukee in which a young child has gotten hold of a gun resulting in an accidental shooting.

In one case, children playing in a house found a gun under the bed of a child’s grandmother; they gave it to the woman’s four-year-old grandson who fired it, critically injuring himself. 

A similar situation found a two-year-old finding a gun, shooting it and injuring another child.

Most recently, a three-year-old found a gun in the glove compartment of his mother’s car; he removed it, shot himself and was critically injured.

There is nothing sinister about these situations; the guns weren’t purchased for perpetrating a crime, but likely because the families believed the gun would afford protection.  Nonetheless those three weapons did grave harm!

The news stories do not tell us whether the guns were properly licensed, but the facts are clear: they were not kept safely.

How tragic!  It’s proof again that the belief that a gun would bring protection is nothing more than a sham.  Statistics consistently show that it is three times more likely that a gun being held for such reasons will be used to harm the owner of the gun or his/her loved ones.

If families insist on buying guns for such reasons – as specious as they are – they must understand the harm that the gun could bring to them.  Safety experts continually urge that the gun should never be stored in a ready-to-fire mode.  Many, however, argue that:  How will I protect myself if an intruder enters and I won’t have time to load the gun?  The fact is that such a gun is more often than not used AGAINST the family.

There are other practices recommended for safely storing and using firearms, such as placing the bullets in a location apart from the gun, or storing the gun in a place out of reach for children.

Perhaps what is needed is a relentless education campaign that informs residents that owning a gun may only provide a false sense of security for families.  The education program must stress that for those families who feel the weapons are necessary for protection they must follow safe gun-handling practices.

The reality is that guns are an invitation to mayhem, particularly when youngsters will find them and the results could be fatal.

 

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2 thoughts on “A gun in the house equals a tragedy waiting to happen

  1. 3boxesofbs

    I believe you are engaging in a logical fallacy called Misleading vividness; equating a single vivid instance with the whole. Accidental deaths of children due to firearms peaked in 1999 (CDC Wisqars) with 158. Now each death is tragic but there are approximately 115,000,000 households with firearms. Not a national epidemic.

    And doesn’t Wisconsin already have a child access prevention law; making it illegal for a readily dis-chargeable firearm to be left unsecured where a child can obtain it? How are you going to make people actually use common sense?

    Statistics consistently show that it is three times more likely that a gun being held for such reasons will be used to harm the owner of the gun or his/her loved ones.

    I presume you are referring to the thoroughly debunked Kellermann study, the one that he had to revise (originally at 43x more likely) down to 2.7 times more likely — the first problem is he excluded any defensive gun use that didn’t result in a fatality. Hardly making it likely to have any other conclusion.
    Next
    here were significant differences between the study participants and the control. There was a 30% difference between home ownership vs renting between subjects and control, and a 15% difference in living alone or not. Only 48% of the control subjects were interviewed in person. Never mind that there were more users of illicit drugs, alcoholics, and persons with a history of violence in the households of the case subjects than in the households of the controls.

    If you look at his study, you’ll find that living alone ranks as a higher danger, as does renting a home — then owning a firearm. Of course there was the association with arrest records, drugs, etc.

    Lastly

    This association was at least partly attributable to confounding factors that are known to be strongly associated with both gun ownership and homicide victimization, such as dealing in illicit drugs (but not drug use) and membership in a street gang. Either of these confounding factors alone is associated strongly enough with gun ownership and homicide victimization to produce a spurious odds ratio of 2.8, and neither factor was controlled by the researchers. Indeed, most factors that increase the risk of homicide victimization in a way that is evident to the subjects are likely to also motivate some of them to acquire a gun for self-protection. Thus, a positive gun-homicide association is expected even if gun possession had no impact whatsoever on homicide risk.

    He didn’t control for who owned the firearm, he didn’t control for who was a drug dealer or member of a gang; things that increase the likelihood of being a victim. Sorry but that ‘fact’ just doesn’t fly in face of reality. Remember 115,000,000 households with firearms !

    Bob S.
    3 Boxes of BS

    Reply

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