Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is Buying a Gun a Suicidal Act?

Here's an answer for those of you who believe that buying a gun is automatically bad news. Especially Ald. Sandi Jackson who was on Public Affairs saying that there shouldn't be guns in the city of Chicago and the ruling in DC v. Heller was a mistake.

The answer is a column from Steve Chapman who is a columnist at the Tribune:

It's a rich irony -- as though smoke alarms were increasing fire fatalities. But the argument raises two questions: Is it true? And, when it comes to gun control policy, does it matter?

As it turns out, the claims about guns and suicide don't stand up well to scrutiny. A 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences was doubtful, noting that the alleged association is small and may be illusory.

Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck says there are at least 13 published studies finding no meaningful connection between the rate of firearms and the rate of suicides. The consensus of experts, he says, is that an increase in gun ownership doesn't raise the number of people who kill themselves -- only the number who do it with a gun.

That makes obvious sense. Someone who really wants to commit suicide doesn't need a .38, because alternative methods abound. Gun opponents, however, respond that guns inevitably raise the rate because they're uniquely lethal. Take away the gun, and you greatly increase the chance of survival.

Read the whole thing.

What I always figure in the efforts of gun control and other more "controlling" efforts is that it seems our leaders doesn't trust people. That's not to say everyday men and women don't do dopey stuff all the time. It's just that leaders out there think that they can legislate forcing people to do the right thing or perhaps the safest thing. I doubt it works that way and imagine there were better methods than just looking busy.

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