Letter from Bob DePino of Westminster West

For common sense gun safety — Ignore the Anti-Gun Rhetoric

Dr. Richard Burgoyne made some pretty bold statements in his anti-liberty commentary on the Manchester Journal.


Dr. Burgoyne states “Gun violence is one of America’s greatest tragedies and a huge public health crisis.”

Except, the facts do not confirm his narrative.

Dr. Burgoyne says “The US averages 32,000 deaths annually from gunshots, as well as 74,000 non-fatal gunshot injures. Ten times the number of people who died in 911 die annually in our homes, schools and on our streets.”

The truth is, over 50-60% of all deaths by firearm are by suicide.  The actual firearm homicide rate has steadily DECREASED by 49% since the 1990s!

Dr. Burgoyne says “A shocking 3,000 of these deaths are children younger than age 15.”

According to the 2013 CDC Table 10:

2013 Ages (under 15)
Accidental discharge       69
Suicide                                  138
Assault (homicide)          193
Undetermined intent    8
Total = 408

Dr. Burgoyne seems to know something the CDC doesn’t.

Tabitha Armstrong just published an excellent interpretation of the CDC data.
Her paper can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tabitha-armstrong/gun-sense-lets-talk-common-sense/1118677751497129

Dr. Burgoyne says “A gun in the home that is not properly stored and used is 22 times more likely to injure or kill someone who lives in the home than an intruder.”

This is a completely false narrative!
One needs to understand that these “reports” are generated by interviewing ONLY families that have HAD a death in the family, NOT the hundreds of thousands of others that DID NOT have a death!
Those families with a death that did own firearms (even if THEIRS was NOT actually used) made it into these reports.

Dr. Burgoyne says “I am also a hunter and gun owner, and as such feel that buying, storing and using my weapons is my responsibility. Many gun owners do this well. But the grim numbers above suggest that many do not.”

Dr. Burgoyne (who previously practiced in Maryland) is NOT looking at the data from Vermont and is making the false assumption that crimes with firearms are caused by “law-abiding gun owners”.  Gun crimes in Vermont are most often perpetrated by people who are unable to legally possess firearms.  Violent felons, domestic abusers, drug users and the like account for almost all violent crime in Vermont, and are NOT “gun owners”, they are “criminals with guns”.

As Vermont historically has single digit or ZERO accidental deaths by firearm, it is disingenuous that Dr. Burgoyne says “It is time for our government to step in and enact some laws that mandate sensible gun safety measures, just as was done (very successfully) with the automobile industry.

Let’s compare “accidents” with these two objects.
Estimated number of automobiles on the road = 253 million
Estimated number of firearms in the USA = 357 million

Again, since we have no idea how many ILLEGAL guns are out there, we have to ASSUME that all these firearm injuries were caused by LEGAL firearms, but that would be INCORRECT.  I will use them as a baseline because there is no other data because criminals don’t tell us how many guns they have!

WISQARS 2013, Unintentional Firearm Gunshot Nonfatal Injuries = 16,864 = 46/day (remember he said 74,000 above)
WISQARS 2013, Unintentional Transport Nonfatal Injuries = 3,875,520 = 10,618/day!

WISQARS 2013, Unintentional Firearm Deaths = 505 = 1.4/day
WISQARS 2013, Unintentional Transport Deaths = 37,184= 101.9/day!

There are MORE accidental injuries and deaths by fewer automobiles than by firearm.  72x-230x more.

Dr. Burgoyne says “Sue Minter is the only candidate for governor to take a stand on this issue.”

Since Sue Minter has already publicly announced she is more than willing to violate the Constitutional Rights of Vermonters, destroy state statute, and endorse the exact agenda of out-of-state interests, this is hardly a glowing endorsement.

Dr. Burgoyne says “It is time to do something and I strongly support Sue for being courageous enough to take a stand and start this important conversation.”

Vermont gun owners have been waiting for this so-called “conversation” that the anti-gun advocates promised.
We have made many public requests for debates with Gun Sense Vermont, or ANY gun control supporter, since 2013.  We have invited them to our monthly meetings and public forums.
Instead, thousands of hit pieces pop up under the guise of “courage” on TV, websites, newspapers and on Facebook pages comments are deleted, users banned, and public meeting locations are changed at the last minute to avoid ANY contact with us.

Why is this imaginary “conversation” STILL being parroted by self-proclaimed “gun owners”, when the narrative has been proven false?

True “gun owners” own the RESPONSIBILITY of possessing firearms and defending themselves, their family, and the State.

NO true gun owner demands the government protect them.
True gun owners defend their right to protect themselves.

Bob DePino
Vice President / Field Coordinator
Gun Owners of Vermont