Long Island, NY (BTSNews) --25 year-old Clarence Newcomb has been arrested on charges of first degree manslaughter for his 82 year-old grandmother In King's Park, Long Island in New York. The motive: a disagreement over what TV show to watch.
According to the Suffolk County Police, Newcomb assaulted his grandmother early Friday morning at their Berg Avenue home. Officers responded to a 911 call, apparently from the alleged assailant at 4:35 a.m.. When they arrived, they found the grandmother, Kathleen Newcomb, lying on the floor dead.
Police do not know what shows had prompted the argument and alleged deadly assault, and no weapons were recovered from the scene. Newcomb, who is unemployed and is not alleged to have used a gun in the killing, was arraigned on Saturday.
BEHIND THE SCENES, gun rights activists point to alleged killings similar to the Newcomb case as evidence that guns are involved in only a fraction of all homicides in the U.S., and that additional gun control laws will not lower homicide rates because most legal gun owners are responsible and law-abiding.
The Number of Guns in America: According to a 2009 report form the Congressional Research Service (CRS), there were an estimated 310 million firearms in civilian hands in the United States. Of those weapons, 114 million were handguns, 110 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns. The current U.S. population, according to the Census, is around 314 million.
The Number of Firearms-Related Killings in America -- According to the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, in 2011 there were 14,612 murder victims, of which 9,903 -- or 68% -- were killed by assailants using firearms.
Correlation… or not: Before any conclusions can be made linking guns to murders, however, it is important to also note that the CRS reports that while the number of guns in the U.S. increased by 61% (from 192 million in 1994 to 310 million in 2009), the number of firearm homicides in the U.S. decreased by 58% (from 17,073 in 1993 to 9,903 in 2011).
Banning the wrong weapons… or not: While the gun control discussion continues to center on banning or restricting semi-automatic and "assault weapons" -- like the rifle used by the Sandy Hook Elementary killer -- such weapons are very rarely used in crimes. According to the CRS, of 203,300 state and federal prisoners who were armed during the crime for which they were incarcerated, "fewer than 1 in 50, or less than 2 percent, used, carried, or possessed a semiautomatic assault weapon."
Mental Health… or not: Based on the above-referenced numbers, banning assault-style weapons and/or semi-automatic firearms is unlikely to have any meaningful impact on the number of gun-related deaths in the U.S. If the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings and the Newcomb case in Long Island provide any insight into the senselessness of many killings, it may be better policy to attend to the over 9% of Americans who are clinically depressed or unstable, and not on the vast majority of peaceful gun owners.
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