According to the CDC, firearms were involved in about 6% of all violence-related injuries and deaths in 2016. The CDC numbers represent people treated in emergency rooms.
How about the 134,232 victims of assaults with knives or similar instruments? Or the 1,337,194 people who were beaten? 96,629 of those weren’t released; they were admitted or transferred to another hospital. That’s nearly twice the number of firearm victims that required further hospitalization.
Are you implying they don’t count? They don’t suffer?
It’s quite true that about three-quarters of homicide victims were murdered by killers using guns. 14,415 in 2016, according to the CDC. But what about the 4,947 victims that were murdered by other means? Their deaths weren’t horrible? Their families don’t grieve?
In the U.S., we don’t have “unrestricted and unregulated” access to firearms. Lawful gun owners, gun manufacturers, gun distributors and gun dealers must comply with a myriad of laws, regulations and rules that vary from state to state. These cover everything from who is allowed to purchase or possess firearms and what kinds of firearms they may possess to where and in what circumstances they may be fired.
If we attribute every single crime-related gunshot injury and gunshot death to a single lawful gun owner, somewhere between 99.8% and 99.9% of them didn’t shoot anyone. But the percentage is actually even higher because many of the perpetrators weren’t lawful gun owners.
You claim that you don’t want to eliminate guns or impair their lawful uses.
Well, it’s good that you don’t want to eliminate guns because no country on earth has ever managed to do that. But do you understand what “lawful uses” include? Hunting, target shooting, competitions, for sure, but there’s also self-defense or defense of home and family. In most states, the lawful use of firearms includes in aid of another person who is being attacked.
So what firearms are suitable for these lawful uses? Just about all of them, including the demonized AR-15. The AR-style rifle is popular with hunters. It’s also popular with ranchers and farmers trying to control growing populations of feral pigs. The AR-15 is popular with competitors in sports such as 3-gun. Due to the characteristics of the .223 bullet, the AR-15 is also a good choice for home defense because the bullet is less likely to penetrate walls than even some handgun bullets.
Nobody likes the use of firearms in violent acts. Not police, not EMTs, not emergency room personnel and not trauma surgeons.
But if you’re serious about reducing the number of victims, quit focusing on gun control, or at least look at changes actually reduce the flow of guns into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them — people who are already prohibited from possessing guns. Background checks and gun bans don’t seem to work but tightening the requirements for determining who is selling guns but should be licensed could help.
As a surgeon, as a physician, as a caring human being, you should care about the person, not how their injury was inflicted.