The ‘Farce’ of Thomas Sowell on Guns
from letter by Tom Buglio, Daily Local News, 10/23/15
After the recent school shootings in Oregon, Arizona and Texas, the national debate on what to do about the gun violence problem in the country has once again heated up. The visible frustration and anger of the President talking about the Roseburg college shooting represented the feelings of millions of Americans who are sick to death of the mass, school and inner city shootings that are such regular events in our country.
You would think anyone in a position to influence public opinion would want to find answers to the bloodshed. Unfortunately, some, like columnists Thomas Sowell, once again use cries to stop the violence as a time to criticize the President and decry those who argue for stronger gun laws as having no data to support their claims. Never mind that Mr. Sowell produces no data to support his claim about how many lives are saved by defensive use of a gun.
The Brady Campaign, Americans For Responsible Solutions (Gabby Giffords’s group), Everytown for Gun Safety, and Cease Fire PA, among many other groups trying to reduce the violence, are awash in strong evidence and data that back up stronger gun laws leading to lower death rates. Here are some examples:
States with the strongest gun laws and lowest gun ownership have the lowest level of gun deaths:
Hawaii – 2.7 deaths per 100,000 / 9.7% ownership
Massachusetts 3.2 gun deaths / 12.8% ownership
New York 4.4 gun deaths / 18.1 ownership
Conversely, states with the most lax gun laws and highest level of gun ownership have the highest deaths:
Alaska – 19.6 deaths per 100,000 / 61% ownership
Louisiana – 19.1 / 46% ownership
Wyoming – 17.5 / 63% ownership
For comparison, our state, Pennsylvania, at 11.2 deaths, is about median for the US: 10.6 deaths per 100,000 people. Compared to the rest of the advanced countries of the world, the US has many times more deaths by comparison:
Japan .06 deaths per 100,000
Australia .86 deaths
Germany 1.24 deaths
Norway 1.78 deaths
Canada 2.22 deaths
These statistics are compilations from Wikipedia, the Brady Campaign and The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Why is Mr. Sowell so unwilling to do his homework on gun violence statistics? Is it an inner bias against sensible gun laws? a need to protect gun rights advocates, or is it sheer laziness? Whatever the reason, his last paragraph accusing “Gun Control Zealots being people who are lenient towards criminals, while determined to crack down on law abiding citizens” is blatantly untrue, and offensive.
We wish to crack down on criminals, terrorists, domestic abusers, the mentally ill by denying them the ability to get a gun, as most sane Americans agree. For those who argue against common sense gun laws, like Mr. Sowell and the NRA, they are the ones who are truly ‘soft on crime.’