Too Old To Carry A Gun

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Computer rendering of a handgun designed for elderly and disabled persons.

Well I’m sure this entry about when a person is too old to carry a firearm will be not only difficult due to my own age of 66 years but also hard because of the nature of individual rights. In regards to my research while I’m writing this section in my blog I’ve listed below where I’ve gotten many of my findings.

OWNERSHIP, AVAILABILITY AND SUICIDE

Gun ownership and availability are common among the elderly. A higher percentage of older persons than younger persons own a gun and live in a home with a gun.The 2004 National Firearms Surveyreported that 27% of those aged 65 years or older personally own a firearm, compared with 16% of those aged 18 to 25 years. Among the nearly 38 million Americans who are aged 65 years or older, an estimated 17.5 million own a firearm and about 11 million of these owners have a handgun. Availability is wider than ownership. The most recent data from the General Social Survey indicate that 37.2% of those aged 65 years or older live in a home with a firearm, compared with 25.8% of those younger than 30 years.1

US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3487668/

In the United States, more than 17 million people aged 65 years or older own a firearm. They have the highest rate of suicide by a firearm, and recent data suggest that a disproportionate number apply to carry a concealed weapon. At least one new handgun has been designed and marketed for older people.

Memory, thinking, and judgment as well as physical and behavioral competence issues related to an elderly person’s safe operation of a motor vehicle apply to firearms, too. Gun availability can pose a particular risk to those with dementia and to their caretakers.

The elderly constitute a substantial and rapidly growing population and market segment for whom the public health implications of firearm production, promotion, access, ownership, and use merit consideration.

Elderly men and a growing number of elderly women comprise the largest group of people choosing to use a firearm to commit suicide. We must address this growing population. Murder-Suicide is also on the rise. Elderly people are scared of being attacked and robbed. Although the data shows that violent crime is way down from the sixties and seventies when many of these people were being attacked. Sitting in front of the television they are fed a constant barrage of violence in the news and on the television shows.The young have grown numb to this type of violent content but the elderly are just flat afraid to live their normal lives. And I understand their fears though I do not share them.

CONSEQUENCES OF HAVING AN AGED AND ARMED POPULATION

Firearm ownership among the elderly deserves attention for its negative population health effects.

Mortality

A firearm is the most common means of suicide in the United States, and rates of firearm suicide are highest among those aged 75 years or older. By contrast, as shown , the rate of suicide among the elderly by other means is generally substantially lower than that of younger age groups. Also, as shown , the elderly who commit suicide with a firearm appear to be different from their younger counterparts and from those who commit suicide without the use of a firearm: they are less likely to have made a previous suicide attempt, to have a current mental health problem, or to receive treatment of a mental health problem, and they are more likely to have a physical health problem. Thus, traditional mental health risk factors may be less important than physical health status. It does appear that the elderly may be more intent on killing themselves because they are more likely than younger persons to use a firearm, which has the highest case fatality rate (91%) of any suicide method. As the elderly population grows, the number of suicides can be expected to increase if effective prevention strategies are not put in place.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR PRACTICE AND POLICY

In sum, reducing access to firearms (particularly for the cognitively impaired), increasing neighborhood safety and household security, and improving health care options at the end of life may help reduce health risks associated with armed elderly persons.

By 2030, nearly one in five US residents is expected to be aged 65 years or older, and by 2050 the elderly population is expected to double. Because of this substantial and anticipated population shift, we must reconsider multiple aspects of society, including firearms and the elderly. Like most Americans, the elderly have the Constitutional right to own firearms, and many elderly people are responsible gun owners. The available evidence, however, suggests that having more older people with guns may not be a benefit to society. Public health must take action to promote the health of elderly persons and the safety of their caretakers.

Guns are a part of my life.

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