The Rights and Dangers of Bearing Arms

Feb 28, 2013

Today - we’re talking about guns. It seems like that’s all we’ve been talking about since the mass shooting in Newtown that left 20 children and 6 educators dead.

While that crime left people stunned because of the horrific circumstances, Newtown is only part of a much bigger problem. 

But first, Slate Magazine’s ongoing tally of U.S. gun deaths shows that more than 2000 people have died at the end of a gun since that tragic day at Sandy Hook Elementary.

These were not mass shootings - but single lives, taken by guns, all over the country. And not all of them were homicides.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and access to firearms plays a big role in whether people actually die by their own hand. Because many suicide attempts are impulsive, 90% of survivors do NOT go on to try again.

Is the United States more violent than other countries? Or does our access to more guns make us more vulnerable to the kind of violence that kills?

Today, we’ll talk to Dr. Matt Miller from Harvard’s School of Public Health. He’s been plugging along, gathering data on gun violence, even during a 17-year-long federal ban on such research. President Obama lifted that ban by executive order...but as Miller says, it will take a long time to make up that ground. 

Also, we talk with former NY Times editor Craig Whitney about his book, Living with Guns: A Liberal’s Case for the 2nd Amendment. He’ll be speaking tonight at the Mark Twain House in Hartford. 

We wrap up the show with public radio producer Jay Allison. Back in 2004, he produced an essay for NPR's All Things Considered looking at his own history with guns.