What happens when you plant two
real, unloaded guns among toys and a backpack in grade school
classroom and then tell kids that, while unsupervised, they should
indulge in some nearby candy? ABC reporters did just this, and
breathlessly revealed their discovery: the kids will touch the
guns! …Before notifying an adult. “Can you really hide guns from
asks the network.
This less-than-scientific experiment was part of a 20/20
special” called Young Guns, which aired
last Friday. Its aim was investigate the supposedly deadly world of
households in which both children and firearms reside. ABC also
posted instructions on how to confront gun-toting friends without
it awkward and provides a handy
quiz on the differences between fake and real weapons.
“The new numbers are arresting,”
assures the ABC’s David Muir, “nearly one child or teen every
hour [is] injured by a firearm in this country.” He speaks to a
doctor who “at one point was seeing gunshots and children twice a
week.” Diane Sawyer
reports that a “groundbreaking” study implies that, “every
other day, a child is shot to death.”
study doesn’t match the ABC’s far-fetched image of young kids
finding guns among their playthings in school. Children, in this
case, includes individuals aged 18 and 19, i.e. people who are
legally adults and able to buy rifles.
The presentation is not reflective of America’s gun community,
which owns a total of 310 million firearms (by far the highest
concentration per capita of any nation in the world). Major
advocacy groups, as well as
firearms instructors, and
others in the community
explicitly teach and advocate
for the safe use and storage of guns. Gun forums are rife with
on educating kids about gun safety and keeping weapons accessible
for self-defense but out of children’s reach.
One need not rely on anecdotal evidence, though.
Despite the massive number of guns in the US and ABC’s
data collected by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2010
states that among children aged 1-14 there were 396 firearm deaths.
Among the 15-19 demographic, 2,331 deaths were recorded, including
legal intervention. Although this may seem dramatically higher than
the younger group, it is hardly more than one percent of the total
15-19 year old population. While each deaths is a tragedy, putting
the numbers into context reveal a far less dramatic side of the
And, while ABC focuses on the accidents caused by guns, the
network overlooks how many lives guns save. Gun Owners of America
Guns [are] used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense.
Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against
criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year — or about 6,850
times a day. This means that each year, firearms are used more than
80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to
Unlike ABC’s extrapolations from an in-house trial, GOA’s
information comes from peer-reviewed academic
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