Gun Ownership Just Got Riskier to Your Family

A New York Times March 9 articleShare of Homes With Guns Shows 4-Decade Decline, cites the General Social Survey that gun owning families has declined to 34% in 2012.  I wanted to update a previous article that I wrote on this subject, where I used a 45% figure and showed living in a gun owning household subjected you to twice the death rate from guns as from car accidents.  I quote the next paragraph from that post.

“Comparing firearm deaths to motor vehicle deaths in 2011, from CDC tables, there were 34,677 deaths from motor vehicles, and 32,163 deaths from firearms, almost as many. The difference between the activities should be stressed. Almost everyone has to drive or ride in a motor vehicle. The number of people who really need guns to kill varmints or who are policemen or guards is very small by comparison.”

If almost the same amount of deaths occur from guns as motor vehicles, but only one third of households own guns, than the death rate from guns in families that own guns must be three times the death rate from motor vehicles.  Because people in these households also drive, the combined death rate from guns and traffic accidents is four times as great in gun owning households as in gun-free households.

The number of guns per gun owning household can now be estimated.  There are about 300 million guns in the country.  There are about 100 million households.  If only a third of those are gun owning, or about 30 million, than there are about 10 guns per gun owning household.  I saw a map of Texas counties on the internet that I found hard to believe.  Almost all the counties had more than 10 guns per household, except near the Rio Grande.  Now I am closer to believing it.

Reasons cited for the lower gun ownership is a more urban population, the sharp decline in violent crime, the decline in hunting, the younger population not involved in guns, fewer people serving in the armed forces, and women heading more households.

The costs of gun collecting are also high, as well as the cost of securing the guns.  The AR15 semi-automatic rifles cost from $1,000 to $1,500.  Glocks cost around $500.  A collection of 10 guns can eat up a lot of money that could be spent on recreational hobbies that your family could get far more enjoyment from, and that aren’t lethally dangerous.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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