Monthly Archives: March 2013

Guns don’t kill people, smoking does.

With all the talk about further gun control, a simple look at the frequency of firearm deaths compared to another killer is in order.

There are approximately 75 million gun owners in this country. At the same time, there are about 45 million smokers.

Self-inflicted gun deaths (i.e., suicides using guns) total approximately 19,000 suicides per year. Meanwhile, self-inflicted smoking deaths total 443,000. Let’s see how this looks as a proportion of gun owners/smokers.

Self-inflicted firearm/gun deaths vs. smoking deaths

Self-inflicted firearm/gun deaths vs. smoking deaths

But who really cares that smoking is 38 times more likely to kill the smoker than a gun is to kill its owner (through suicide)? If smokers want to kill themselves, so what? The real issue is how many other people are killed by these items. A madman with a gun killing 30 people is clearly more dangerous than a cigarette. Or so we are told…

In the United States, approximately 11,000 people are killed each year in firearm-related homicides. Meanwhile, less than 1,000 are accidentally killed by guns each year. In contrast, over 49,000 people are killed by second-hand smoke each year.

Again, a simple chart of deaths per million of gun owners and smokers is quite revealing.

Second-hand gun/firearm deaths vs. second-hand smoking deaths

Second-hand gun/firearm deaths vs. second-hand smoking deaths

As the above results show, the smoker not only is 38 times more likely to kill himself than a gun owner, he is also 7 times more likely to kill someone else.

I propose universal smoker registration. I further propose limits on how many cigarettes and cigars one can buy, limits on the nicotine content of cigarettes and cigars, hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences for anyone who smokes in or near smoke-free zones, and expansion of smoke free zones to include any area in which non-smokers may be. We have to protect our children from these dangerous, homicidal killers known as smokers.