In 2016, Brownells opened a 7,000 square-foot retail space on Interstate Highway 80 near Grinnell to sell firearms and accessories.
A recent Register op ed used misleading statistics to argue for gun control.
State Sen. Claire Celsi's anti-gun column, published in the Register's community editions on March 17, is filled with distortion.
Her biggest whopper is that "the rate of suicides in the United States is 10 times higher than any other country on Earth." In fact, the United States annual suicide rate typically ranks in the 30s.
She claims that the proposition that good guys with guns stop crime is a fantasy. In fact, successful defensive use of guns is more common than their use in crime. The National Academies of Science found:
"Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence …. Almost all national survey estimates … of annual uses range from about 500,000 to more than 3 million …in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008. … Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was “used” by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies."
Celsi misleads by lumping together all firearms deaths, as if accidents, homicides and suicides were the same thing, to write that "rates of death from firearms among ages 14 to 17 are now 22.5% higher than motor vehicle-related death rates." In fact, an apples-to-apples comparison shows that the 2018 accidental death rate from firearms among ages 14 to 17 is 0.23 per 100,000, while the accidental death rate for motor vehicles for that group is 6.48 per 100,000. The rate of death for firearms accidents among ages 14 to 17 is actually 96% lower than motor vehicle-related accidental deaths rates.
The unintentional firearms fatality rate, now 0.15 per 100,000, has declined over 94% since records began to be kept in 1903. Fatal gun accidents rank as one of the lowest causes of injury.
While the number of privately owned guns increased 92%, from 185 million guns in 1993 to 357 million in 2013, the firearms homicide rate decreased by 49%. Firearms homicides increased from 2015 to 2017, but decreased in 2018, a trend expected to continue for 2019.
There is an increase in suicides, but the problem is far more complex than the presence of firearms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that, while the number of suicides increased from 1999 to 2014, the percentage of suicides committed with firearms decreased during the same period. Assuming that each of the 24,432 firearm suicides in 2018 involved one firearm per suicide, those 24,332 guns represented less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of the 357 million firearms in America.
As for Celsi's proposition that "good laws will keep us safer," economist John Lott found "stricter gun laws are associated with more total deaths from homicides and suicides."
Donald W. Bohlken of Indianola is an attorney and a retired administrative law judge with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.