About 44,000 Americans died from gunshots in 2020… so I guess guns are only 9% as dangerous to Americans as coronavirus, and if we don’t need to do anything about gun violence, we certainly don’t need to take any heavy-handed government action to respond to a pandemic, right, Kristi?
Sorry—it’s easy to get confused when trying to apply logic to Republican “thinking.”
In 2019, South Dakota’s gun death rate of 13 per 100,000 people placed us at the national median for such grisly demises, tied with Ohio, Oregon, Utah, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, and Maryland. Our neighbors in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa, and Minnesota were less inclined to shoot themselves or each other:
According to Rand Corporation data published last April, South Dakota ranked sixth in 2016 for gun ownership, with 55% of households having guns. Montana, Wyoming, and West Virginia all top 60% on that metric, and Idaho and Alaska all exceed South Dakota’s household gun ownership rate… and all five of those states have more deaths by firearms than we do.
Among the ten states where guns do the least killing, seven have household gun ownership rates below 20% (Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California). Minnesota and Iowa have household gun ownership rates of 39% and Vermont beats 50%, but they manage to keep their gun death rates below 10 per 100,000.
Crunch numbers from all 50 states and you get a correlation of 0.75 (that’s on a scale from 0, meaning no relationship, to 1, meaning invariably predictable positive relationship) between household gun ownership rates and firearm deaths per population rates.
These data support what we know from lots of past research: more guns mean more people dying from guns. A truly pro-life culture would recognize and respond to that fact with sensible policies and public statements to deprioritize gun ownership as an expression of strength and civic sentiment. But if you listened to Hidden Brain this week, you know South Dakota is an honor culture, not a dignity culture, where white men’s desire to prove their strength with a triggered phallic symbol is more important than respecting the inherent worth of each human life.