Move over motherhood and apple pie. According to Sen. Marco Rubio in a recent speech to the National Rifle Association, central — central! — to achieving the American Dream is toting iron. Rubio claims the ability to raise a family in a home that is safe and secure rests on the ability to possess a firearm. Taxpayers actually pay him to spout this nonsense? Roughly 1.7 million children age 18 and under live with loaded and unlocked firearms that from 2005-2010 accounted for the unintentional deaths of almost 3,800 people, of which 300 resulted from shots fired by children under the age of 6. The murder-suicide rate by firearms for U.S. kids under 15 is nearly 12 times that of other developed countries. I wonder what they have to say about their “safe and secure homes?” Or the women who are eight times more likely to be killed in a domestic dispute in their “safe and secure homes” when their partner owns a firearm. Guns, not hammers, not knives, not fists were used to kill more than two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims between 1990 and 2005. Or the nearly 20,000 people who commit suicide each year using a firearm. More than 75 percent of guns used in suicide attempts and unintentional injuries of those under 20 are stored in the “safe and secure homes” of the victim, a relative or a friend.
According to the Journal of Trauma: “Guns in the home increase risk. For every one time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or a legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” People are nine times more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with the most guns, compared to states with the least guns, indicating it may have less to do with “safe and secure homes” than the number of guns inside them. About 31,000 Americans die each year from gun-related violence, of which 62 percent is a result of suicide and about 6 percent from accidents, children's homicides and domestic violence, and fully 24 percent are black-on-black murders — which doesn't make those scourges any less sad or reprehensible. That means just 8 percent or about 2,500 deaths per year are actually caused by the type of “bad guys with guns” the overwrought NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and his more feverish Angry White Men followers rail about and arm themselves to the teeth to protect against. LaPierre says: “We know in the world that surrounds us there are terrorists, home invaders, drug cartels, carjackers, knock-out gamers, rapers (sic), haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers,” all coming to get us. Marty Moore is a freelance writer living in Port Richey.