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Other Views: Gun buying surges

Among the many sad ironies surrounding the U.S. cultural wars about firearms is the vast growth in gun numbers during the Obama administration, whose detractors routinely accuse of conspiring to end private gun ownership. Fear of this nonexistent threat has resulted in enough firearm sales to fight off an outer-space invasion.

Data on background checks show a continuing surge in gun buying in Oregon and elsewhere.

In the first five months of 2016, Oregonians bought at least 126,738 firearms, based on statistics from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, nearly double the 66,665 sold in the same months in 2006.

Since Obama's inauguration in 2009, Oregonians have purchased nearly 1.8 million firearms covered by the NICS system. In 2016, there were only 1.5 million occupied homes in Oregon.

Do all these weapons make us safer? Far more Americans use guns to commit suicide than to commit murder. "In the U.S., more than 10,000 Americans will likely be killed in gun murders this year. Another 20,000 will likely be lost to gun suicide. The total number of gun deaths and violent injuries will be close to 100,000," The Guardian newspaper reported. "In absolute terms, around 33,500 lives are lost each year. That's roughly one every 15 minutes — about the same number ... killed on America's roads."

Leaving politics aside, the facts tell us we are safer not having firearms at home. If you are contemplating buying one, take Nancy Reagan's famous advice to heart: Just say no.