Unintentional firearms deaths have been falling steadily since 1981 and fell off the table in 1993 as the graph plainly shows. The question is why? For the period 1981 to 1998 (the last year data is available) unintentional shooting deaths have dropped by a stunning 54 percent. Contrast this with unintentional poisoning over the same period that increased by 123 percent. Or how about unintentional drowning? Over the same period people drowned accidentally at a rate more than double accidental shooting deaths. What is going on here?
In 1993, according to CDC WISQARS database, there were 1,501 unintentional deaths by gunfire. In 1998 there were 866 a 43 percent decrease in just six years—which is a win in anyone’s playbook. But when is the last time the media reported on any of this? No, they would rather parrot the Brady bunch use of the 30,000 firearms deaths every year without any detail.
Well, let’s talk detail. Shooting deaths peaked in 1993 at 39,595. Yet, 18,940 (48 percent) of these deaths were suicides. Another 18,571 (47 percent) were homicides. For all the ‘rithmatic-challenged out there 95 percent of all firearm deaths were intentional acts of suicide or homicide. After the crack wars ended, firearm deaths fell to 30,708 but again, suicide accounted for 57 percent of the total and homicide 39 percent.
So, take a bow all of you dedicated but unappreciated NRA trainers! Hmmmmm, if only there were 70,000 dedicated poison control instructors out there maybe these deaths would come down too.