Do you want to reduce your risk of death by gun violence? If so, consider these 10 common sense ways to do so. These are things one can implement fully and immediately with no permission or agreement from anyone else but are entirely in the control of any individual. Marching to persuade politicians is a very indirect way of reducing anyone’s risk from gun violence. And considering their track record on so many issues, politicians may end up putting us all at further risk when all is said and done.
1. Don’t commit suicide. This is the most common gun-related death, being about 63% of all firearm deaths in the US.
2. Adopt a policy of not escalating any road rage situations. If someone does something offensive on the highways have it pre-settled in your mind to react by de-escalating the situation (refrain from responding in kind) and back off to allow the heat of the moment to cool.
3. Do not join a gang. Violence is the accepted norm among gang members, resulting in many becoming victims of gun violence.
4. Do not buy or sell illegal drugs. Yes, I do know that it’s the drug laws more than the drugs themselves that leads to gun violence among drug buyers and sellers. But, people already on the wrong side of the law are more likely to commit gun violence than the law-abiding population.
5. Do not get involved with abusive people. Someone who previously has physically abused a partner is more likely to do so than are those who have never engaged in such abuse.
6. Implement a personal curfew. The safest place anyone can be at 2am is at home in bed. Roaming the streets in the middle of the night exposes one to gangs, drug sellers, and other dangerous people.
7. Stay away from Gun Free Zones. One study showed that 98% of all mass shootings happen in these places. Gun Free Zone signs tell violent people this is a spot where the picking will be easy. As for everywhere else, these predators may be deterred since they have to wonder if there’s already a good guy with a gun on the property.
8. Do not associate with convicted criminals. Like the abuser, violent criminals out of prison are likely to continue their habits.
9. Be aware of your surroundings. Make it a habit to look around and assess any situation you are in. Most victims of gun violence have no warning of the impending danger, the old saying “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” is pertinent here. So, no staring at your cell phone!
10. Avoid people who handle guns in an irresponsible manner. Anyone who casually or even unknowingly points a gun at someone or who does not exercise good gun safety such as carefully checking to see that a gun is unloaded is someone to be avoided.
11. Bonus Suggestion: Do not be a predator. A significant number (about 700 each year) of gun deaths are justifiable homicide wherein a victim successfully defends themselves from criminal assault.
Thankfully, the odds of anyone in the U.S. dying from gun violence each year is exceedingly low. Implementing the suggestions here will reduce those odds even further.
Jim Cox is a retired economics professor living in Tucker, Georgia and author of The Concise Guide to Economics and The Haiku Economist and the recipient of the 2016 FEE Outreach Award.
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Contributed by Jim Cox of FEE.org.