If a shooter does his part, follows safety rules, and maintains his firearms and ammunition, he can go through a lifetime without ever encountering a significant safety problem while shooting.
The most recent Nicolas Kristof column in the New York Times, entitled “Our Blind Spot About Guns.”
In the column, Mr. Kristof attempts to draw parallels between firearms and that other common and complex machine that has evolved over the past century-and-change, the automobile.
If we had the same auto fatality rate today that we had in 1921, by my calculations we would have 715,000 Americans dying annually in vehicle accidents.
Instead, we’ve reduced the fatality rate by more than 95 percent — not by confiscating cars, but by regulating them and their drivers sensibly.
We could have said, “Cars don’t kill people. People kill people,” and there would have been an element of truth to that. Many accidents are a result of alcohol consumption, speeding, road rage or driver distraction. Or we could have said, “It’s pointless because even if you regulate cars, then people will just run each other down with bicycles,” and that, too, would have been partly true.
Yet, instead, we built a system that protects us from ourselves. This saves hundreds of thousands of lives a year and is a model of what we should do with guns in America.