Let’s look at some statistics for perspective;
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (a rather interesting combination of enforcement responsibilities) there are approximately 225 million (225,000,000) firearms in the United States.
In 2007 there were 31,224 firearm related deaths;
17,352 (55.6%) Suicide
12, 632 (40.5%) Homicide
60% of all Homicides are by firearm
The balance is “Accidental”, which is of little comfort to the victim.
While suicide is tragic one might make the argument that, relatively speaking, the majority of people inclined to use a firearm to take a life, take their own. The statistics don’t delineate the cowards that kill others first, then themselves. Perhaps we need to find a way to improve that statistic so more just kill themsleves?
If we look at this from a purely economic perspective, based on estimates from the collection of Firearms Excise Tax collected in the third quarter of 2009, Firearms sales in the US were approximately 1.08$ Billion dollars (1,008,000,000).
Who knows how many jobs are directly and indirectly related to this number?
That translates to an estimated $4.32 billion dollar business. In these lean economic times, we must consider all aspects, not just the emotional ones. I am sure some Economics Ph.D. at Yale or Harvard could come up with a more accurate number. As a sideline, why aren’t all Ph.D.’s in Economics billionaires? But I digress.
So, if our goal is to determine if gun control can work, let’s try a logical approach without any emotional aspects.
If we assume for the moment a conservative cost of $10000 per firearm in order to confiscate and destroy them. I base this on several factors, the history of well managed Federal Programs, an extremely optimistic estimate that perhaps 50% of firearm owners will voluntarily cooperate, and recognizing we would need a significant increase in Law Enforcement personnel to locate and seize those weapons that will not be surrendered voluntarily.
225 million X $10000= $2,250,000,000,000. Apparently every Federal program always adds a trillion or two to the Federal deficit. Not to mention the loss of annual Excise taxes and income taxes from those unemployed by the elimination of firearms.
Now, we haven’t factored in the “nut” affect. If a person bent on suicide cannot access a firearm they will find an alternate. Here’s what we would be facing;
They jump off a building: Could we demand buildings be built no higher than can be leapt off with minor injury?
Overdose: Could we eliminate medication and alcohol (whoa wait a minute that is going TOO far)?
Crash the car into a tree: Can we cut down all the trees?
The Burning Buddhist: Can we eliminate lighters and matches?
The sad fact is that gun “control” is about as unrealistic an idea as one can have. Unless we are willing as a people to imprison someone for what they might do, there is no easy solution.
It is impractical to think we can confiscate all the weapons and be 100% effective at it.
Looking at the numbers a different way, 1.3% of all firearms will be used in a fatality, the majority used by someone to kill themselves; can we say the same for the number of fatalities by automobiles?
It is not Gun Control we need; we have that in the form of laws regarding the purchase and possesion of weapons and punishments for their violation. We need to control people who are crazy. At a minimum we need to stop electing them into political office.
Any suggestions on a Federal Nut Control, not Gun Control, program?