The New York Times posted a story over the weekend called Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll.
Authors Michael Luo and Mike McIntire used the article to assert that there are “hidden” youth gun deaths, because most states catalog incidents where one person kills another as a homicide and when one person kills themselves as a suicide. These long-standing and usually self-evident classifications of homicides and suicides exist, regardless of age, because they are empirical judgments by medical examiners based simply upon who fired the shot, without trying to make a political, social, or legal judgments about the manner of death best left to others.
It is the legal system, particularly prosecutors, who must determine whether a homicide or suicide death is intentional or accidental, negligent or accidental, and justified or unjustified.
Tellingly, the writers make the argument that if homicides or suicides resulting for the improper use of firearms by minors were consistently classified as “accidents,” then there would be more data to justify their arguments for more gun control laws and regulation:
Legislative and other efforts to promote the development of childproof weapons using “smart gun” technology have similarly stalled. Technical issues have been an obstacle, but so have N.R.A. arguments that the problem is relatively insignificant and the technology unneeded.
Because of maneuvering in Congress by the gun lobby and its allies, firearms have also been exempted from regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission since its inception.
The article is just one more call for gun control that is part of a constant refrain from a newspaper that would like to see everyone but their publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr (who has a concealed carry permit in New York City) disarmed. They are less than honest in their motivations for conducting their “research” and writing this article, which is nothing more or less than a call for more gun control laws.
Unfortunately for the Times, Even anti-gun Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Businessweek notes that if the Times were honest in their reporting of their alleged “undercount” of “accidental” gun deaths, then it means that there is a 1-1 correlating “overcount” in the number of youth homicides.
They also failed to report the much larger truth of the matter that regardless of which criteria you use, both the per-capita rate and total number of child gun deaths in every age group is in a steady decline based on the most recent available data from the Center for Disease Control collected between 1999-2010. Further, honest reporters would admit that the documented declines in youth firearms deaths are occurring in a nation where gun ownership and shooting sports participation is on a dramatic rise, in youth, female and urban shooters.
In short, this Times article is anti-gun propaganda that purposefully obfuscates empirical data showing child gun deaths from every cause are on a long and steady decline.