Guns Don’t Kill People; Young Black Men with Guns Kill Other Young Black Men

by Mark Wilson

Excellent piece in New York Review of Books by David Cole, writing about gun control. The books he’s reviewing go into an issue never discussed by the NRA (emphasis added):

Like so much else in the United States, the costs of our infatuation with guns are not evenly distributed. In 2008 and 2009, gun homicide was the leading cause of death for young black men. They die from gun violence—mainly at the hands of other black males—at a rate eight times that of young white males. From 2000 to 2007, the overall national homicide rate remained steady, at about 5.5 per 100,000 persons. But over the same period the homicide rate for black men rose 40 percent for fourteen- to seventeen-year-olds, 18 percent for eighteen- to twenty-four-year-olds, and 27 percent for those twenty-five and up. In 1995, the national homicide rate was about 10 per 100,000; the rate for Boston gang members, mainly black and Hispanic, was 1,539 per 100,000. In short, it is not the typical NRA member, but young black and Hispanic men in the inner city, who bear the burden of America’s gun romance.

The NRA — which consists mostly of white men — reveres the theoretical right to firearms, but in fact, the consequences of their right fall upon people well outside the NRA’s scope. Perhaps their motto should read, “Guns don’t kill people. Young black men with guns kill other young black men.”

And on another point, which is not within the scope of these books: another specious NRA argument involves automobile statistics. If cars kill so many people every year, why not ban them, too? The answer is: probably because cars’ primary function isn’t killing or injuring others. Aside from hunting non-humans, guns exist only to kill or injure humans. When a car crashes and kills someone, that’s an accident; when a gun kills someone, that’s a feature. (By the way, those young black and Hispanic men aren’t killing each other with hunting rifles.)