Feels state gun laws are contradicted by report

To the Editor:

After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, one of President Obama's executive orders was to "Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence."

This 3- to 5-year study is ongoing, but the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, under direction of the CDC, released a preliminary report titled "Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-related Violence."

This report is meant to set the research agenda for the longer-term study. While this report should be front page news in every newspaper in the state, we'll be lucky if it's mentioned in editorials by concerned citizens.

This is because the report presents many inconvenient truths that run contrary to what I believe is the anti-gun, anti-2nd Amendment political establishment in this state.

As John Adams said in his controversial defense of British soldiers after the Boston Massacre, "Facts are stubborn things."

Here are some inconvenient facts from the report that might be hard for officials in Hartford to swallow:

"Controlling access to guns through background checks or restrictions on particular types of firearms remains controversial, and the effectiveness of various types of control is inadequately researched." (page 6);

"Firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm related violence" (page 13);

"Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals" (page 15);

"Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies." (page 16);

"The number of unintentional deaths due to firearm related incidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010" (page 31);

"... studies conclude that gun ownership protects against serious injury when guns are used defensively" (page 41);

"Most felons report obtaining the majority of their firearms from informal (illegal) sources" (page 44).

Another body of research estimated annual gun use for self-defense to be much higher ... suggesting self-defense can be an important crime deterrent.

Some studies on the association between self-defensive gun use and injury or loss to the victim have found less loss and injury when a firearm is used (page 46).

And lest I be accused of cherry-picking, the report does conclude the United States has the highest rate of gun-related homicide of any industrialized nation.

However, it also concludes violent crime has been steadily declining, despite domestic firearm production increasing 79 percent since 1986.

The final study will likely cost the American taxpayer a lot of money to determine what is essentially self-evident truth among law-abiding gun owners: firearms used for self-defense reduce crime, and save lives, while the recent gun "control" legislation passed in Hartford will ultimately make us all less safe.

In light of these inconvenient facts, are citizens prepared to hold our representatives accountable for their irresponsible and unconstitutional behavior?

David Kelly

New Milford