Jaime Sneider

Sunday, October 1st, 2000

Jaime David Sneider, the Editorial Page Editor of the Columbia University Daily Spectator in New York City, is the designated recipient of the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award for October.

In nominating Sneider for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, stated that, “during this period of anti-gun ‘political correctness’ throughout the elite establishment, and especially at the university level, it is encouraging and heart-warming to realize that there are students at that level who have the courage to buck the establishment and to stand up for the traditional rights of law-abiding citizens. Such a student is Jamie Sneider, who writes in a most articulate manner in defense of the traditional, individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. He is especially on target when he punctures gun grabbers’ arguments regarding firearms and young people.”

In a recent article, Columbia’s Sneider, a junior majoring in history, recalled that “a 13-year-old boy entered his school cafeteria July 17 and discharged one bullet into the air. No one was injured. This seemingly trivial piece of news was nonetheless published in many major newspapers, including The New York Times and the Seattle Times, and exploited by numerous gun control advocates such as Handgun Control that catalog news stories in which guns are used with malicious intent.

“Although one would never know from listening to Sarah Brady or Hillary Clinton, who both capitalize on gun deaths and inflated statistics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) latest data reveal youth gun deaths decreased by 10 percent.

“The number of deaths dropped from 4,223 in 1997 to 3,792 in 1998. Of course, for the same reasons as in the past, this information is still quite misleading. CDC defines children as people between the ages of 0-19. Given that our legal system does not consider persons above age 18 to be minors and routinely prosecutes adolescents of 14 as adults, it seems ridiculous for members of society universally regarded as having reached maturity to be subsequently classified as children.”

The Columbia University editor, who graduated from Scarsdale High School in Scarsdale, New York, notes further that, “upon reading the report, one finds the largest number of firearm deaths occurs in the key 15-19 age category. These victims are mostly male, so it is not surprising that males are the victims of more than 83 percent of all gun deaths, making their deaths an essential component in creating the illusion of a ‘gun epidemic.’

“Many of the ‘common sense’ measures proposed by the Mom March that claimed one million participants, but only got 75,000, are not targeted at preventing murder. Instead, these proposals, which often include trigger locks, are a solution in search of a problem. The gun control advocates use rhetoric like ‘stop the gun violence’ but then aim at preventing a very small number of accidents and suicides committed by minors. The bulk of deaths occurring in the 15-19 age group are the result of gang violence; typically, these ‘children’ do not buy their guns legally. (Gang members have come, inevitably, to the same conclusion as Rosie O’Donnel’s personal security squad: If there is a trigger lock on the gun, it cannot be used with the immediacy that is frequently required to kill someone.)”

Continuing his analysis, Sneider writes that, “if one considers only those individuals between the ages of 0-14, a more realistic picture emerges of the danger posed by firearms. Gun accidents compose slightly more than two percent of the total number of accidental deaths in this age group. To provide some context for the number of children who die from guns, just consider that while 2,566 kids died from motor vehicle accidents, 1,003 accidentally drowned, 661 accidentally suffocated to death, and 608 died from accidental burns, only 121 died in accidents involving guns. In fact, unintentional falls among 1-14 year olds resulted in 120 deaths a year…

“Despite the claims of gun control advocates such as Mrs. Brady, who routinely cites the number of suicides committed with firearms as evidence of the need for further regulation, the 1998 CDC data show more gun laws and trigger locks probably will not thwart a depressed 14-year-old either.

“Firearms were used in 47 percent of the 324 suicides among 0-14 year-olds in 1998. But an equal number of 0-14-year-olds committed suicide by suffocating themselves; suicides such as these demonstrate objects found in virtually every American home can be used effectively in achieving the same

end. Gun control zealots ought to remember that guns do not motivate young people to kill themselves, and gun laws will not prevent them either – regulation will likely encourage people to use alternative means in committing suicide, many of which, it is worth noting, are more dangerous to the public at large.”

Sneider concludes, “many supporters of gun control argue that if a law saves just one child it is worth ratifying. These people generally overlook the enormous positive role gun ownership has in thwarting criminal behavior. If those fighting for gun control truly want to help the children, however, they would consider taking up a different cause. As the above data demonstrate, many of the problems receiving little attention from the media and public at large pose a much greater danger to children than guns.”