Wow. That's a lot of statistics to soak in. I know you worked hard on that. And its a MUCH better post than the other ones. :P
However...it doesn't change my mind on gun control. The infamous "right to bear arms" that was instituted back in colonial times just doesn't appy to today. We have all manner of military groups to protect the country as a whole, some of whom are called to duty during times of crisis (assorted national disasters) to protect citizens as well as in wars.
I always hear "I have a right to protect myself, my family and my property." I know a lot of people who have guns and I don't know one single person who has EVER had to use it to shoot someone to save themselves or family member. I know that's not an official statistic, but I still think the ratio of number of guns used to commit crimes vs. instances where a gun saved a life in a threatening situation is waaaaaay out of balance. Let's say I owned a gun and had it safely put away as one should. I'm at the kitchen washing dishes with my back door open because its a nice day (as it usually is). All of a sudden someone walks through my back door and points a gun at me. What good is my gun going to do me? Do I tell the perpetrator "Hold on a second while I go get my gun."?? For a weapon to be effective as protection, you'd have to have it on your person and loaded 24/7. So you want everybody walking around with loaded guns on their person? All to easy to use it when someone is enraged or alcohol fogs judgements.
I think also this is very different culture we live in. People might scoff at this, but we are producing generations of youth that grew up spending hours and hours playing video games, the vast majority of which are based on violence (guns, shootings, etc.). I can't quote the exact statistic but just a couple of days ago I saw a report by a psychologist that stated EVERY study on that subject revealed that kids that played a lot of violent video games displayed increased aggression as well as a decreased sensitivity in regards to death and violence. It is beyond me how anyone can think kids can play these types of games for hours over many years and NOT have it influence them in a negative way. (And before anybody says anything, I'm not saying EVERYONE who played video games is going to be a killer).
Then you have all the accidental deaths. Everyone I know swears their guns are locked safely away from children. But kids get accidently shot every day.
Rattler, I'm sure you know all the safety laws and you are very careful and respectful of your weapons. But just because YOU are, doesn't mean every gun owner out there is as good about that as you are. There is no "right to bear arms" that means so much to me its worth the life of all the children that die by accidental gun shots every year. The fact is some people look at guns like its a book or a vase. They leave them out on tables, they stick them under mattresses (and think its safe from a child!), they tuck 'em in a drawer. Little kids explore. They find. They shoot.
Then you got your nutcases. With dr./patient privilege laws, there's no way to know who's mentally able to SAFELY own a gun and who's not. And so there was Cho. And many, many other mass killers. And individual killers. And drug dealers getting revenge, and gang members defending turf. There are thousands of people out there who don't own a gun so they can shoot a deer for meat during the winter. They own it to kill people for any number of stupid reasons.
I can see no reason anyone NEEDS to own assault rifles/guns, machine guns, etc. WHY would ANYONE need a machine gun??
I saw one guy on TV vehemently saying that if those students and teachers had been allowed to carry weapons at the school, not so many people would have been killed at Tech. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! Can you imagine have 25 teenagers in a classroom with guns? Teens don't always have the best judgement and I can just see the bodies falling as tempers flare over a girl or someone's had a few too many beers and get belligerent.
Self defense is just a poor reason to allow MILLIONS of guns into the hands of anybody who wants one. Too many people are accidently hurt or deliberately killed by guns. Its one thing to have A gun to hunt for food or to kill a cougar that might come to your back door. But I think "its my right" is a poor reason to allow guns to proliferate in the hands of millions of people.
I don't have a gun. I don't want a gun. I'll never have a gun. Its just an instrument of death and destruction s far as I'm concerned.
A survey I saw on TV yesterday showed the majority in the country wanted more gun control (I think it was 43%). I think it was only 11% who wanted less control.