Your Opinion: Safety concerns for children
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
As a father and grandfather I read with interest the article “Group wants Capitol staffer fired in gun incident” from the Sept. 25 edition. Undoubtedly legislative aide Dave Evans made a terrible mistake forgetting his personal defense weapon on a toilet paper dispenser, likely one he won’t make again.
Under the circumstances I’d understand if his boss decided to let him go, conversely I’m good with the decision to keep him on and have him attend a gun safety course.
According to the article, Rebecca Morgan of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America thinks the appropriate response is for Speaker Jones to issue an apology (for Evans actions?), fire Evans and change the law so legislators and staffers aren’t allowed to carry concealed in the Capitol.
Apparently she’s calling schools and asking them to cancel trips to the Capitol pending the aforementioned actions, out of concern for children’s safety. If she’s sincere about child safety where the Capitol is concerned I have bad news, she has a much bigger job ahead of her.
According to recent figures from National Center for Health Statistics, firearms are involved in 0.5 percent of accidental deaths nationally, compared to motor vehicles 29 percent, poisoning 27 percent, falls 21 percent, suffocation 5 percent, drowning 3 percent, fires 2 percent, medical mistakes 1.7 percent, environmental factors 1.3 percent, and pedal cycles 0.6 percent.
Do the math; guns are not what she needs to be worried about. Among children accidental firearms deaths have decreased 89 percent since 1975.
To set child safety priorities Morgan might want to address the speed limit in Missouri to have the largest impact on the safety of children. Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website when the National maximum speed limit of 55 mph was established in 1974 traffic fatalities declined 16 percent. So, she could have a much bigger impact by working to lower speed limits thereby saving children on their way to the Capitol.
If you’ve been to the Capitol you’ve seen all of the pools a child could drown in. Not to mention the countless stairs, inside and out, which children could fall down.
Clearly, if the primary concern is child safety there are many other things in route to and at the Capitol that she needs to worry about before getting to guns.
Currently, the odds are about a million to one against a child in the U.S. dying in a firearm accident.