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Letter: Firearms Don’t Save Lives

To the Editor:

In his letter to the April 28 Forum, “The Gun Vote in Hartford,” Arthur Peale wrote that “no one mentions the hundreds of thousands of lives saved or crimes deterred yearly by the use of guns.” There’s a simple reason for this. It’s simply not true.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, for every firearm used in the home in a self-defense legally justified shooting, there are four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides and 11 completed or attempted suicides. Indeed, the FBI database reveals that there are about 200 legally justified self-defense homicides by private citizens every year, compared with an overall death rate by firearms of about 30,000. A 2009 article published in the American Journal of Public Health found that people in possession of a gun are 4.5 time more likely to be shot in an assault than those without one.

There may be any number of valid reasons to possess firearms. The notion that they are saving hundreds of thousands of lives a year is, however, not one of them.

Charlie Buttrey

Thetford

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