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It’s nice that we have university academics looking out for us and highlighting the danger guns pose in the hands of various segments of society. Where would we be without them? If you go by Jonathan Purtle’s latest missive at, we’d be dodging lead fired by every dodgy old dodderer in town who’s managed to hang onto his old service piece from the Great War. Penn’s Brian Mertens and Susan Sorenson have taken a peek at the country’s demographics  – no doubt putting some unused stimulus funds to good use – and have managed to divine that Americans really are getting older. The upshot: just like seasoned citizens and cars, we need to take a hard look at keeping guns out of Granny’s arthritic hands . . .

It’s just too risky to let oldsters handle anything as dangerous as a gun.

A mound of evidence tells us that risk of violent death increases immediately after the purchase of a handgun — mostly due to suicides and accidents — and remains high for at least five years.  This risk, however, is particularly high among those age 65 and older.

Don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be caught between Bruce Krafft and his keyboard when he reads that last bit. It seems that when you boil it all down, old folks don’t really have much of a need for personal protection anyway.

While one might think it makes sense for senior citizens, in particular, to arm themselves against criminals, the evidence suggests otherwise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, the risk of being a victim of robbery, rape, or violent assault is substantially lower among the elderly than any other age group (2.4 of every 1,000 people age 65 and over experience such a crime  annually, compared with rates of 10.9  per 1,000 for people ages 50-64 and 26.9 per 1,000 for ages 21-24).

Got that? Chances are Gramps won’t ever be a crime victim anyway so it’s probably better to just pull his piece before the old codger hurts himself. Exactly how to tell that septuagenarian veteran that you want his pistol is another story.

There is no easy solution to the issue of firearm safety among older adults.  According to Penn’s Sorenson, “We need to consider multiple options that address multiple aspects. Possibilities include reducing access to firearms, especially for the cognitively impaired, increasing neighborhood safety and household security, and improving health care options for those with chronic debilitating illnesses.”

Safety tip: it’s not a good idea to let gramps or granny keep their heaters if the ravages of Alzheimer’s come a-knockin’. OK thanks. But dark forces are at work.

Nevertheless, the firearm industry has tried to take advantage of seniors’ fears and developed guns specifically for people with arthritis and mobility limitations. The maker of one such weapon tried to register it as a medical device in hopes that Medicare would pay for it — a proposal that the Food and Drug Administration rejected.

Looks like we really dodged a bullet there. So to speak.

So the moral of this story is that, just to be safe, we should probably establish a cut-off age for gun ownership. Once someone reaches Social Security age, we’d all be better served by taking away any guns they may have and make sure they don’t buy any new ones. And when you really think about it, what good is a gun when you’re out on an ice floe anyway?

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  1. If those young whippersnappers come for my guns, I’ll demonstrate some precision shooting for ’em . . . right after I take a couple of aspirins for my rheumatiz. Now, where the hell did I put my inhaler? And my teeth?

    Jonathan Purtle’s contemptuous dismissal of anyone older than he (since little Jonny-boy is twelve, that means just about everybody) is another reason why I love the slacker generation. They make wonderful stationary targets. For my wit and wisdom, of course.

  2. “Exactly how to tell that septuagenarian veteran that you want his pistol is another story.”
    I’m sure Jonathan Purtle would be willing to have that conversation for us. Without a police escort of course… 🙄

    “Don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be caught between Bruce Krafft and his keyboard when he reads that last bit.”
    Lol, I’m eagerly awaiting his response.

  3. My Grt grandmother switched to a palm squeezer type of pistol when she had problems manipulating her colt .25 auto this would have been in the 1920s at the end of her life I still own her nickel .25 colt with mother of pearl grips and moleskin change purse type fitted case and it is in mint condition and shoots well bit I can see where it would be hard to load cycle the action with limited finger and hand strength… no one ever took her pistols away from her but then she did not go loony at the end of her life. I can see a case for family intervention where dementia becomes a factor just as with taking away the car keys this is a very hard decision and it must be on a car by case basis.

  4. A mound of evidence tells us that risk of violent death increases immediately after the purchase of a handgun — mostly due to suicides and accidents — and remains high for at least five years. This risk, however, is particularly high among those age 65 and older.

    So start’em early. Problem solved.

  5. Maybe it’s subconscious resentment, since they know that the greatest generation gave birth to them, the worst generation. I can’t even imagine the shame WW2 veterans must feel when they look at the country their children and grand children have created.

      • @silver FLAME DELETED Its the generations previous to the “worst” generation that handed over this shit were in. Its your generation that screwed mine over. Now we gotta fix all of your mistakes

  6. Since when did groups of the population “at lower risk” of certain crimes mean they should be looked at differently under the law?

  7. As most of us know, there is a mound of evidence illustrating the correlation between geriatric incompetence and the cost of a postage stamp. This would be a good barometer for establishing the cut-off age for gun ownership. 60 years of age would be a reasonable initial cut-off with that number being reduced by one year for every one cent rise in the cost of a first class stamp.

    Reasonable gun laws based on sound logic really aren’t that hard to develop. Since it’s my idea, I should qualify for an exemption. Otherwise, next time postage goes up I’ll have to surrender my guns.

  8. My dad served in the army during WWII and participated in the invasion of the Philipines, among others, as a landing craft (LCVP) operator. When he was in his 70’s, it would have been quite amusing, albeit messy, to watch someone try to take his weapons.

  9. The evidence is overwhelming that people that live in gated communities have few crime problems. So, those people don’t need any kind of weapons at all. So, we’ll start there. Actually, since there is little crime in those places, the guards don’t need weapons either. And, that way, everyone is safer.

  10. “Penn’s Sorenson” is part of the group at Penn which announced the amazing statistic that people in Philadelphia who carry a handgun are more likely to be shot than people who do not.” The anti’s found this a wonderful and complete proof that owning a handgun does nothing to improve safety. What they left out of the article was than very many of the data points were illegal guns in the hands of criminals, and that many of the other data points were people who had recently been threatened by people who already did have guns. Statistics. Glib announcements. Social policy academics. Shakespeare 2.0: “First thing we do let’s….” And yes, after a second opinion confirming a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s obviously a person shouldn’t be carrying a gun loaded with more than one bullet.

  11. I hate that this site lately has gone on about how college education = some highbrow leftist propaganda machine.

    • I think a third of the commentators on the sight have graduate degrees. At least five are attorneys. That some departments of the universities, particularly the sociology and English departments, have taken on the task of PC blathering about guns, relying for effect on short feeds they provide to local journalists, provides some justification for the attitude you complain of. The late James Q. Wilson was otherwise, but his like are rare in the ivy (or palm tree) shaded halls.

      • When I went to college soon after the founding of this great Republic, the entire pedagogical staff was so highly politicized that I thought I was studying at the University of Moscow. I was president of the campus Young Conservatives and caught a ration of sh!t every day because of it. I think all the profs became seriously depressed when the Soviet Union fell.

        Law school was a whole different kettle of fish. In the first year at least, all the professors went out of their way to treat every student like crap regardless of political persuasion. I found it quite refreshing.

        • Yep, well I started at an urban liberal campus fairly fresh from a tour in RVN. I was (I say modestly) an exceptionally good student. As a result, I was for four years a freak, and professors would repeatedly try to plumb my psyche: “How could you, an actual non-dumb person, end up in Vietnam?” In law school, yep, it was otherwise. I had Sam Dash for my ethics course. I felt like John Dean.

  12. “There is no easy solution to the issue of firearm safety among older adults.”

    Yes there is – and it is given in this very same article:
    “A mound of evidence tells us that risk of violent death increases immediately after the purchase of a handgun — mostly due to suicides and accidents — and remains high for at least five years.”

    So if you buy handguns throughout your life, and keep at least one for more than 5 years, you will be safe! See, that way you won’t need to purchase one when you get older – you will already have lots of them, and will have avoided the “dangerous 5-year window of death”!! In fact, I recommend (from a medical standpoint) buying at least one gun of every type [you define “type”] for every year of your life. At LEAST one.

    And why are they worried about the elderly committing suicide? I thought they WANTED to get rid of the old folks to save on Medicare and Social Security? Isn’t that what Obamacare is designed to do?

    • Agree with this generally. Buy what you want long before 65 and train with it. Remember to purchase at least one item specifically to keep under the blanket as you sit in your wheelchair and gaze peacefully out at the tranquil ocean as you chat with friends old and new….right before the young punks come up to you, laughing with knife in hand, and demand your wallet. “Did you say my ‘wollop’? Sure, here ya’ go, sonny!” Happens all the time in Miami and neighboring beach-side towns. Two such incidents made the papers last year. Ralph is ready for this. Are you?

  13. Considering the average age in Congress is slightly older than dirt and that most of the people in the age range referred to have plenty of time to research, write letters and call thier representatives I would love them to try this. Overnight we would add a massive amount of adamant pro-2a supporters to our ranks, and most of the political capital being given to Brady bunch and the lot would dry up.

  14. Purtle should come to my local cowboy match and preach his message to all those geezers twice my age that always out shoot me. I’ll be on the other side of the berm when he does.

  15. Thos dodgy old vets who fought in the Great War, as far as I’m concerned, can do whatever te f*ck they want to.

  16. I think old folks should be as armed as anyone else.

    That being said, designing firearms for older or disabled folks seems like a pretty good idea. I’d love to engineer a firearm with a bore axis dead center, that allows for firing with more than just one finger, and can be aimed instinctively with minimal near-focus acuity, with at least 5 shot capacity, and at least .38 cartridge. Would it be good for anything greater than 12 yards? I don’t know… but I’d sure like something like that for someone in my family who doesn’t have the hand or finger strength to properly wield a regular firearm.

  17. Putting rear “ledge” sights on my 1911’s, as I get older my joints are getting creaky and hand strength not what it used to be.
    Use the push/pull method now
    Not done yet, just planning ahead
    Generally I shoot as good or better than most at the range
    I use 3″ shoot and see type targets, I have been asked by shooters using large (mostly spray and pray) targets why I use the small ones.
    Aim small, miss small.

  18. This risk, however, is particularly high among those age 65 and older.

    Both of my Grandfathers seemed to buck this trend.

  19. This device gives me mixed emotions. From a solely logical prospective, logic indicates if you need a device like this, you probably should not have it. Unfortunately, the reality of self-defense is it is a realm of those that are physically and mentally capable. On the other hand, after fifteen years of blindness, when my grandfather asked me to take his firearms; I am glad his blindness hid my tears, as I knew the end was near when he gave up the 38 revolver in his nightstand. When a true man gives up the right and capability to defend himself, his loved ones, and his property, you might as well dig the hole.

  20. Let’s see statistics on h0w big a problem this really is before we start proposing anything. Probably in the .0001% range of gun problems. Meanwhile in other news hoodlums continue to prey on the elderly who don’t need any more trouble.

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