The most common method of killing another person from 2010 through 2016 was by using a gun, Thursday's CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates. Knives or other tools that cut or pierced were the second most-common homicide method during that period, while the third most common was suffocation. Overall, gun murders accounted for nearly 70.5% of total homicides -- more than two-thirds -- for the period. …

Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, a nonprofit group that lobbies for gun rights, wrote in an email that "Guns are deadly. But that also makes them effective for self-defense."

A CDC-sponsored study from 2013 found that "guns are used in self-defense anywhere from 500,000 to 3 million times a year," Pratt said. "That means that compared to the CDC figures for 'firearm homicides' in 2016, guns are being used 35 to 208 times more often to save [lives]."

For this reason, then, the new chart tells us only "part of the story," he said. "It would be like only focusing on deaths resulting from doctor's negligence -- which are around 250,000 per year -- and ignoring the overwhelming amount of good that physicians do."...

"If restricting access to firearms made people safer, then Venezuela should be a utopia," Pratt noted. "The country banned the private ownership of guns in 2012 and then later enforced that ban with gun confiscation. And yet they now have a murder rate that is almost 20 times higher than the murder rate in the U.S."...

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If laws in the US make it easy for cartels, criminal organizations, domestic violence offenders and troubled teens to access guns, violence will increase, [said Daniel Webster, a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health].

Pratt counters that "more good guys with guns will serve as a deterrent to criminals."

"Consider that between 2007 and 2016, the number of concealed carry permits in the country rose by 256%, and yet the murder rate dropped almost 10% and the violent crime rate dropped almost 20% (as seen in the FBI's figures here)," he wrote.

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