Clayton Brumby picked up his Ruger .22 caliber handgun at a gun range recently, and in what is always in cases like this termed a freak accident, fatally shot his 14-year-old son Stephen. There was no licensed doctor or other medical staff at High Noon Guns in Sarasota, Florida, to immediately attend to the mortally wounded teenager. Stephen lay bleeding in the doorway, waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
At a shooting range in Texas last December, a man in his 20s shot himself in the thigh while attempting to holster his weapon — another freak accident. Again, an ambulance was necessary to transport the man to a hospital as the facility did not have, nor did the state require, the presence of any medical personnel.
Good intentions, bad law
In June the Supreme Court overturned a Texas law that would have required abortions to be performed in facilities that were “ambulatory surgical centers,” concluding in a 5-3 decision that the Texas law “has the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice” by requiring the clinics to basically become a mini-hospital. What the court did point out though was that Texas “has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that #Abortion . . . is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety for the patient.”
Filling factual, not emotional, needs
Maybe it’s time to consider other businesses, like the 2,172 shooting ranges across the country, as places where states should have a legitimate interest in seeing that the firing of hundreds of millions of lethal rounds of ammunition each year from millions of guns be “performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety” for, in this case, their patrons.
It's a safety issue
There are enough laws and regulations to oversee these facilities may come the cry from the National Rifle Association and gun enthusiasts, but if, like Texas, we are really concerned about saving lives, let’s place our attention where it can do the most good. Texas legislators, clearly so concerned with public safety of women to bring a case all the way to the Supreme Court, can take the lead by requiring all shooting ranges in the Lone Star State to have a least one doctor on site to care for patients who have suffered a gunshot wound — in, of course, that freak accident.
Arguments based on facts
If you’re ready to argue that vehicles result in more deaths than guns but we don’t require people to drive with a doctor in their car, hold your fire. A report from the Violence Policy Center shows that in 2014, 21 states had more deaths by guns than by motor vehicles. Nationally, since 2007 the numbers are getting closer than ever: In 2014, a total of 35,647 deaths occurred by motor vehicle and 33,599 by guns.
Guns and abortions, the numbers
There are no figures on the number of injuries and fatalities that occur specifically at shooting ranges. In 2013, there were 505 deaths from the accidental discharge of firearms. From 1973 (Roe v. Wade) to 2010, 421 women died during or as a result of having an abortion, about 11 per year, a yearly difference of 494 lives.
Emotions run high around abortion and guns. Thankfully, facts don’t have emotions.