I started writing about gun accidents (negligent discharges) some years ago at this blog for the purpose of highlighting aspects of a certain brand of handgun and its potential for careless discharge. It turns out that while many of the accidental discharge that get reported have involved the Glock brand, Glock has no monopoly -- plenty of other brands get shot unintentionally. And as Glock fans have drilled home, the gun doesn't go off by itself, someone has to pull the trigger.
But here's something that really caught me off guard. From Howard Nemerov, it's How common are accidental firearms injuries?. His conclusion, accidental firearm deaths have declined steadily from 1984 through 2006. The chart you see here was cribbed from that article, and in fact, I had to spot check some of the CDC data to believe my own eyes. I didn't double check each year, but the few I did appeared to be accurately reflected in the chart.
The graph reflects the ratio of the number of unintentional firearm deaths to the total population for each year.
This decline was happening as gun ownership has grown substantially. There's no chart for it, but the years for which non-fatal firearm accidents were tracked show a decline also.
Therefore, we have to conclude that having more guns around has not resulted in more gun related accidents. Why would that be so? I have to conclude that people are more safety conscious around guns than they were in the past. Maybe all the gun training courses available these days, especially the concealed carry classes, have helped make people more aware. And maybe the stricter laws regarding juveniles' access to guns had some part to play, too, at least as to that age group.
Anyway, gun safety is always a good thing.
Post Script: I still think that Glock has a some features that in combination make it very unforgiving for the careless -- a light trigger pull, a hidden striker, no manual safety plus the requirement that the trigger be pulled in order to remove the slide.