Gun-Related ViolenceI confess I am astounded by the dishonesty and/or ignorance Price and Oden1 displayed in their response to my Letter to the Editor.

First, they defend their misuse of the term epidemic to describe the declining level of gun-related violence— which they had initially said was increasing—based on a comparison of the US to other countries. Sorry, but an “epidemic” is based on trends within a community, not contemporaneous rates in different communities. I am surprised that a peer-reviewed publication would allow such nonsense to be printed.

Second, speaking of “peer-reviewed,” Price and Oden dismiss research by Kleck,3 which I cited, on the grounds that his book was “non-refereed.” Гт not sure whether Price and Oden don’t understand how academic books are published, or are unfamiliar with the background of the book of Kleck’s that I cited. First of all, large portions of the book were previously published in refereed journals. More important, that book is a revision of a book4 that won the Michael J. Hindelang Award, given by the American Society of Criminology “for the book published in the past two to three years that makes the most outstanding contribution to criminology/’ To me, that suggests Kleck’s peers have reviewed and been impressed with the book. Even before the publisher accepted Klecks book, as with other academic books, it was sent to peers for review. Do Price and Oden think academic books get published without being reviewed? Get real. As it happens, my citation to Kleck to which they refer was simply to support my allegation that gun-related crime outnumbers gun-related morbidity and mortality by a wide margin. I cited Kleck because I had already cited him, and it seemed easier to do that than to cite one source to note 30,000 gun-related deaths,5 another for 64,000 gunrelated injuries,6 and a third for 670,000 gun-related crimes. Price and Oden, on the other hand, cite a study that did not report national suicide rates to support their false assertion that ours is twice that of other industrialized nations.

Third, to refute my suggestion that gun-related violence is a crime issue, with guns often used for protection, Price and Oden note that suicides outnumber homicides and say that “it would be obtuse to suggest that we need guns to protect people from shooting themselves!” They instead thus demonstrate their own obtuse-ness by suggesting that the gun control issue can be understood by looking at mortality data alone, and that guns can be used for protection only from a gun-related mortal event. There are about 670,000 gun-related violent crimes committed annually (half that if one counts only those reported to police departments), and an additional roughly 7.5 million non-gun-related violent crimes plus a few million burglaries,7 against any of which guns can be used for protection. Compared to that, there are 17,000 gun-related suicides and 12,000 gun-related homicides, with, admittedly, only the latter of that pair potentially allowing protection from guns. Price and Oden are good at rhetoric, but weak at science, which is one of the flaws of the anti-gun efforts by public health professionals.

Fourth, in response to my noting that firearm-related mortality is declining and thus unlikely to surpass motor-vehicle-related mortality, they say that “The difference in the number of deaths caused by firearms and motor vehicles [is] not germane to the issues of firearms morbidity and mortality.” Pardon me, but Price and Oden were the ones who cited the allegation that firearm mortality would soon overtake motor vehicle mortality. I was responding to their suggestion that the comparison was germane.

Finally, in response to my assertion that “no evidence exists that gun-related violence is preventable using pub lic health methods,” they state that there is no evidence that NRAs Eddie Eagle program a non-public health method that I didn’t mention—works. They did not cite any evidence that gun-related violence is preventable using public health methods. I take that as evidence they know of none. Otherwise, instead of inventing another topic of discussion, they might have refuted by citation. It is the dishonesty of public health professionals when discussing the gun issue which leads to dismissal of their work by other scholars as a “pandemic of propaganda.