U.S. Department of Justice statistics have shown that guns are the safest and most effective means of self-protection. Defense with a gun results in fewer injuries to the defender (17.4% of attacks) than resisting with less powerful means (knives, 40.3%; physical force 50.8%) and in fewer injuries than not resisting at all (24.7%).
We are pummeled daily by sensationalized imagery about gun violence. Each rare "assault weapon" tragedy is newsworthy for months because such incidents are rare. Well over two dozen studies show that assault weapons are used in a barely measurable fraction of crimes, but the American Medical Association ignores every study except the only one to claim otherwise.
Federal law already makes gun purchases by teen-agers illegal, but Washington D.C.'s African-American male teens have a homicide rate of 227 per 100,000 people, 20 times the national average. If guns cause violence, why does Virginia, the alleged "easy-purchase" source of D.C.'s guns, have a homicide rate of 9.3 per 100,000? Why do white middle-age males, the group with the highest rate of legal gun ownership, have a homicide rate of 6.7 per 100,000?
It appears that many professional societies and medical journals have been hijacked by zealots who adhere to gun prohibition as a religion.
Victim disarmament won't saves lives. Gun ownership and concealed-weapon licensing of good citizens are policies that save lives, prevent injuries and cut medical costs. Guns have benefits with which we can live.
EDGAR A. SUTER
Doctors for Integrity
in Research & Public Policy
San Ramon, Calif.