Monday, December 14, 2009


Recently, there has been some media interest in firearms deaths at the hands of Carry Permit holders. The sensational nature of the reports would lead one to believe that people who own firearms are reckless, crazy, and liable to go off at any moment and begin mowing down unsuspecting citizens in a fit of rage.

Since the thread that holds these reports together is purportedly the firearm itself, I delved deep into government statistics on actual firearms-related deaths. Then, I compared these deaths to the total of all deaths in the United States, using 2006 data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) WISQARS database query system, located here. The year 2006 was chosen as it is the most current data available that is searchable in the database.

Without further ado, here are the top 20 Leading Causes of Death in the Unites States:

1. Heart Disease-------------------- 631,636
2. Malignant Neoplasms-(Cancer)--- 559,888
3. Cerebro-vascular-(Stroke)---- 137,119
4. Chronic Low-Respiratory Disease-- 124,584
5. Diabetes Mellitus---------------- 72,449
6. Alzheimer's Disease-------------- 72,432
7. Influenza and Pneumonia---------- 56,326
8. Nephritis---(Kidney Disease)------- 45,344
9. Motor Vehicle Accidents---------- 43,664
10. Septicemia----------------------- 34,234

Pause here to consider that firearms deaths are not even in the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. At 30,316 aggregate (Suicides, Homicides, and Accidents), firearms-related deaths would place 11th overall. However, it is worth noting that the firearms-related deaths are broken down by the CDC into the above 3 categories for a reason. When we think of firearms-related deaths, most people think of Homicides and Accidents. For the sake of clarity, I will break down the remaining 10 categories for you and let you draw your own conclusions. Also, for clarity, I have broken down "Unintentional Injury", "Suicide", and "Homicide" to show where firearms-related deaths fall on the spectrum.

Note- This is where the "liars with statistics" usually enter the following: (Total Suicides - All causes - 33,300 and Total firearms-related deaths - All types - 30,316). See the rest of the table for the real breakdown.

11. Liver Disease--------------------- 27,555
12. Accidental Poisonings------------- 27,531
13. Hypertension---------------------- 23,855
14. Accidental Falls------------------ 20,823
15. Parkinson's Disease--------------- 19,556
16. Pneumonitis----------------------- 16,887
17. Suicide by firearm---------------- 16,883
18. Suicide by other means------------ 16,417
19. Perinatal Period------------------ 14,442
20. Benign Neoplasms------------------ 14,122

So where are Homicides? In the aggregate, they would fall between Parkinson's Disease and Pneumonitis at 18,573. But, like suicides I broke that category down so I could get to the homicides-by-firearm. Here is the rest of the list:

21. Aortic Aneurysm------------------- 13,238
22. Homicide by Firearm -------------- 12,791
23. HIV------------------------------- 12,113
24. Unspecified Accidental Injuries--- 6,345
25. Suffocation-(Accidental)---------- 5,912
26. Homicides non-firearms------------ 5,782

Accidental deaths by firearm totaled 642, or 16th overall on the "Accidental causes of death" statistics. More people died in pedestrian fatalities (1,141) and machinery accidents (740).

Given the hysterical nature of the Media reports relating to "gun violence", "Firearm deaths", and "Shooting Deaths" reported regularly, one could conclude that the proper exercise of your Second Amendment rights places you and those around you at great risk of harm. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, you are placing yourself more at risk by properly eating that plate of Chicken Alfredo, or driving to the range, than you are from properly using that firearm when you get there.