December 13, 2012

Another View: Costas right to discuss impact of gun access in Belcher case

When 92 percent of murder-suicides involve guns, looking at the weapon makes sense.


Kudos to Bob Costas for speaking out about the tragic murder of Kasandra Perkins at the hands of her NFL boyfriend Jovan Belcher, who then killed himself. Despite being raked over the coals for his 90-second commentary, Costas bravely continues to speak on the dangers of the gun culture that runs throughout the NFL.

Press Herald columnist M.D. Harmon ("Costas exploited a crime to make a point that was a mistake," Dec. 7) responded with "If only Kasandra had a gun." But wait, she did. Reports indicate that not only were there at least half a dozen guns in the house, Kasandra and Belcher enjoyed going to the shooting range together.

Harmon also griped about focusing on the gun as the weapon used in this terrible tragedy. But when it comes to murder-suicide, the weapon of choice is a gun.

A study by the National Institute of Justice, the research agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, finds that 92 percent of murder-suicides are committed with a gun.

According to the study, "The data are clear: More incidents of murder-suicide occur with guns than with any other weapon. Access to a gun is a major risk factor in murder-suicide because it allows the perpetrator to act on his rage and impulses."

The study also finds "states with less restrictive gun control laws have as much as eight times the rate of murder-suicides as those with the most restrictive gun control laws."

It is also no surprise to learn that the rate of murder-suicide in the U.S. is higher than any other high-income nation. The U.S. murder-suicide rate is eight times that of Britain and 15 times that of Australia.

Guns don't kill people, but they sure do make it easy.

Cathie Whittenburg of Portland heads the Maine office of States United to Prevent Gun Violence.


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