The Bureau of Land Management has proposed curtailing hunting and target shooting on public lands. They claim: “It’s not so much a safety issue. It’s a social conflict issue,” because “urbanites ‘freak out’ when they hear shooting on public lands.”
No statistics or specific anecdotes were offered to corroborate this freaking out allegation, but here’s some hard data that identifies what city dwellers should be freaking out about. That they don’t casts doubt on their ability to judge what is dangerous and what is safe.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data shows that between 1981 and 2008 (all data available), accidental firearm death rates declined 76.1%, from 0.82 to 0.19 per 100,000 population. During the same time period, accidental motor vehicle deaths declined 41.6%, from 22.39 to 13.07. (See chart below.)
When taken as a ratio, there were over 67 accidental motor vehicle deaths for every accidental shooting death in 2008.
The CDC reports that between 2000 and 2009 (all data available), accidental firearm injury rates declined 26.6%. During the same time period, accidental motor vehicle injuries declined 22.3%. (See chart below.)
In 2009, there were over 225 accidental transportation-related injuries for every accidental shooting injury.
It appears that urbanites “freak out” when confronted with something different than their normal experience. Yet they’re comfortable with a serious threat of death and destruction because they’re used to it in their everyday experience, since cities are clogged with traffic 24/7.
The issue here is city dwellers’ bigotry towards different lifestyles, and their lack of diversity that renders them intolerant of new experiences.
Update (Bryan): It looks like Interior is backing down.