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Your Views: Gun laws should focus on actual cause of deaths
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In his column “Ga. leaders push for more guns” in The Times on Wednesday, Tom Crawford claims Sen. Bill Jackson, of Martinez was mistaken in some remarks he made.

Crawford is correct, but also wrong, or mistaken. He cites FBI statistics, but does so selectively, which is less than being fully honest. In the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States 2011, Table 8 (Expanded Homicide Data), the following figures are listed: deaths from all firearms, 8,583 (not 8,538 as Crawford said); from rifles, 323; from shotguns, 356; from knives/cutting instruments, 1,694; from blunt instruments, 496; from body parts (hands, feet, etc), 728; from handguns, 6,220; from unstated other firearms, 1,587.

When Sen. Jackson said there were more murders with hammers (meaning blunt instruments) than with rifles, he was quite right; the same is true comparing blunt instruments with shotguns or rifles. But he was dead wrong when he claimed that hammers were the instruments in more deaths than were pistols. On the other hand, Crawford is correct in pointing out that firearms in general cause the vast majority of these deaths.

The problem is that correctly pending legislation in Washington concerns primarily “assault rifles” and other rifles, which play only a very minor role in these deaths. Hands, feet, cutting instruments and blunt instruments caused 2,918 of these deaths, compared to 679 from rifles and shotguns combined.

If Crawford desires to contribute meaningfully to reducing firearm-related deaths, he ought to direct his attention to those which cause the major problems rather than support useless legislation sponsored by the anti-gun interests.

Byrd Smith
Gainesville

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