Baltimore Sun attacks the gun, not the owner


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Norton
April 29, 2004, 06:39 AM
This is an editorial responding to the 4 year old who found a loaded handgun in a gym bag in the house and ended up shooting himself.

I've got a letter coming up for publication (allegedly:rolleyes: ) so I'm in the 30 day waiting period between letters. Write your letters and let them have it......

The email for letters to the editor is letters@baltsun.com




>>>WE GRIEVE for Miles Patrick Smith Jr., the 4-year-old from Randallstown who shot himself in the head with a handgun he found inside a duffel bag on the living room sofa three days ago. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends. It is a terrible thing to lose a child. The fact that such a tragedy might have been averted can only add to their grief.

If there is purpose to be found in so awful a death, perhaps it is to serve as a wake-up call: The presence of a firearm in the home poses an extraordinary risk to children. Too many parents fail to understand this danger. And even those who take some precautions often haven't done enough.

An estimated 43 percent of U.S. households with children ages 3 to 17 keep at least one gun in the home. Surveys show that almost half of those guns are left unlocked or loaded. Anyone who has children knows that hiding places can be found out, keys can be swiped, curiosity can get the best of any child no matter how well drilled on gun safety by parents.

How many children and adolescents die as the result of unintentional firearm-related injuries? The figures are disputed, but it's estimated to be about 300 each year. That's 10 times the number of children who die each year from accidentally ingesting medicines or household chemicals. But that's just the beginning - hundreds of adults die from firearm accidents each year, too.

It's not just accidents, either. A gun in the home can facilitate a suicide that might not have happened otherwise. Two-thirds of all teen suicides are committed with a gun. Researchers estimate that a gun in the home is 11 times more likely to be used in a suicide than to injure or kill an intruder. It's four times as likely to be involved in an unintentional shooting.

Most people have a right to own a gun, but it's a privilege that comes with a huge responsibility, and clearly there are too many people who aren't living up to that obligation. In Maryland, it's against the law to keep a loaded gun in a place that is accessible to a youngster. But the law is virtually unenforceable - rarely can police ever witness a violation.

It's one of the reasons that Maryland's 4-year-old law requiring internal trigger locks in handguns is such a good idea. They are like having child-proof caps on medicine bottles, a last line of defense against misuse.

At a child's checkup, pediatricians now regularly ask: Is there a gun in the home? The public health threat posed by guns demands it. Parents need to ask others the same question before allowing a child to play at the home of a neighbor, a relative or friend. According to experts, six out of 10 parents don't ask that question. In a society with so many guns, it's time we all started.<<<

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TonyB
April 29, 2004, 06:48 AM
Knowledge is power......we had guns all over my house when I was a kid...no locks...never an accident..because I knew the power of a gun and my Dad took me shooting so there was no mystery......that being said,I do keep my guns locked up..not so much because of my daughter,but just in case someone decides to break in the house.......:cool:

Bubbles
April 29, 2004, 07:46 AM
Oh where do I start?

Accidental Child Deaths

There were 86 accidental firearm deaths for children aged 0-14, and 19 deaths for children aged 0-4 (Source: National Safety Council, Injury Facts: 2003 Edition, at 10-11, 129) - well behind motor-vehicle accidents, drownings, fire, suffocation, and allergic reactions.

Safety Caps

"It takes a 3-year-old child less than three minutes to open a bottle with a child safety cap." Quote from the Carolina Poison Control Center web site 'quick facts'.

Suicides

Making guns less available does not reduce suicide but merely causes the person seeking death to use another means. While gun-related suicides were reduced by Canada's handgun ban of 1976, the overall suicide rate did not go down at all: the gun-related suicides were replaced 100% by an increase in other types of suicide -- mostly jumping off bridges. (Source: Rich, Young, Fowler, Wagner, and Black, The American Journal of Psychiatry, March, 1990)

Doctors Asking about Firearms

Two words: "Boundary Violation".
http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/2nd_Amend/boundary_violation.htm

El Tejon
April 29, 2004, 08:49 AM
Notice how the media loves the fact that doctors invade our privacy regarding guns, but when doctors asked about sodomy during the HIV/AIDS outbreak in the '80s they were screeching about "privacy.":rolleyes:

Boats
April 29, 2004, 10:29 AM
Three years ago, when I was excited about such things as the first doctor visit as the newly minted father of my son, our pediatrician asked "the question."

I said, "Of course we own firearms. We are not a family of pacifistic, craven, yoga loving ninnies."

"How are they stored?" she asks, treading as lightly as possible now.

"They are all locked up in a safe right now, except that is, for the one I may or may not have concealed on my hip as it suits me. If you dare presume you know more about firearms and their use and storage than I do, I will probably have to fire you as my child's doctor in the next few moments should such a show of unwarranted arrogance be made on your part."

She blanched and abandoned whatever speech she was going to have and I have never heard a question or comment on the topic from her ever again.:evil: The "question" was skipped when my new daughter first went in this month, according to my wife.

Doctors only have informational "power" over you, if you are lazy and let them have it.

sturmruger
April 29, 2004, 10:47 AM
I don't have any kids yet, but when I do and have to go to the doctor I am going to jump down their throat for presuming they know more about firearm ownership then I do. That pisses me off. That stuff does end up in your med records in some hospitals. My wife is the head of a records dept and she told me that it is easy to find.

TheEgg
April 29, 2004, 03:26 PM
Most people have a right to own a gun, but it's a privilege that comes with a huge responsibility

Stupid.

A "right" is not a privilege and a privilege is not a "right".

And this in a major newspaper -- time to line the birdcage.

Standing Wolf
April 29, 2004, 05:45 PM
But the law is virtually unenforceable - rarely can police ever witness a violation.
It's one of the reasons that Maryland's 4-year-old law requiring internal trigger locks in handguns is such a good idea.

Unenforceable laws are a good idea? Only if you want to turn everyone into a criminal of one kind or a dozen others.

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