From F. Paul Valone, president of gun rights group Grassroots North Carolina, in response to “Let’s love our children more than we do our guns” (Feb. 25 What Others Are Saying):
Accidentally killed with her father’s gun, 3 1/2-year-old Zuri Chambers became the most recent child exploited by gun ban advocates who tug at your heart strings while lying to your face. A recent Palm Beach Post column reprinted in the Observer claimed: “These tragic accidents are becoming far too common.”
Fortunately for children, that assertion is false. Since 1930, accidental gun deaths among U.S. children have plummeted by 81 percent even as our population doubled. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), between 1999 and 2010 the rate of accidental gun deaths for children under age 15 dropped by 32 percent. To understand the relative threat of guns, consider that in 2010, poisoning killed 94 children; smoke and fire, 303; drowning, 736; and motor vehicles, a horrific 1,418. By contrast, gun accidents claimed 62.
Aping recent ABC News propaganda, the piece insists: “Sadly, one study reports some 7,500 children were admitted to U.S. hospitals with gunshot wounds last year. About 500 of them died.”
This half-truth rests on selectively quoting a “Pediatrics” journal article, then lumping together varying demographics and intentionality, and finally defining as “children” gang members up to age 19.
Consider “Pediatrics” conclusions the writer avoided mentioning: “Hospitalization rates were highest for 15- to 19-year-olds and for black males.” Indeed, 84 percent of gun injuries were for 15- to 19-year-olds and 62 percent resulted from criminal assaults, often gang-related. Another: “... the rate for black adolescents aged 15 to 19 years ... was 13.1 ... times higher than the rate for whites in the same age group.”
Although the study concludes, “the (hospitalization) rates were substantially higher in older children compared with those
The column then slammed the NRA (which does more than anyone else to reduce gun accidents) and concealed handgun permit-holders (who have nothing to do with gang crime). Of course, it couldn’t resist pushing “universal background checks” as though gang members buy their guns legally. (According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 77.4 percent of criminals get guns from “family/friends” or “street/illegal sources”.)
Summarizing, accidental gun deaths among young children are rare, the majority of gun injuries result from assaults on – and perhaps by – teenagers approaching age 20 (including 16 killed by police), and the problem is disproportionately suffered by black teenagers 13 times more often than whites. Given that BJS estimates 37.6 percent of gun injuries go unreported, even that is likely an underestimate.
Poverty, fatherless families and a subculture of violence are likely culprits, but those problems won’t be solved by disarming responsible citizens. Attempts by gun ban advocates to hide their agenda behind the innocent visage of Zuri Chambers are deception, pure and simple.