Archive for February, 2013
Most people may be surprised to learn that gun control has been around in some form or another for nearly a century. Since first being installed in places like New York City decades ago, gun control has evolved to take on many different forms. Despite the wide variety of gun control statistics, people still cannot seem to agree on what level is acceptable. Finding an appropriate level of control for firearms that saves lives, but does not infringe on the 2nd Amendment is tricky. Some people believe that any time a new measure of gun control is instituted, it is a blatant attempt to take away the right to bear arms. Those on the other side of the fence try and argue that here in the 21st century, it is nearly impossible to know what the Founding Fathers meant when they included the 2nd Amendment into the bill of rights. When two groups approach each other from such opposite sizes of the spectrum, it sometimes may feel as if it is impossible to find common ground. Gun control has tended to vary from state to state. While some states like Illinois and New York have incredibly tough laws on the books, they still are plagued by gang violence and murders within their inner cities. Other states, such as Texas and Florida, have looser laws, and enjoy a slightly lower crime rate. Gun control is typically one of those subjects that is so touchy it even scares most lifelong politicians. No one wants to be seen as the person who allows crime to continue, and no one wants to be perceived as the one person who wants to infringe on one of the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. All things considered, practical and effective gun control measures will probably not come to pass until both sides are able to compromise.
In almost all pro weapon gun control articles you will find reference to the 2nd amendment expression, “The right to bear arms.” In the majority of gun control articles the rational for this right is related to the idea of having guns to fight the government. It is rare to find a gun control article that takes a different view. This one does. While gun fanatics might want to take up arms against a properly elected democratic government doing so would be an act of treason. Therefore the notion that the right to bear arms means the right to violently rebel is an obvious problem. If the 2nd amendment allows violence against the government then the 2nd amendment is approving and protecting treason. The” right to bear arms” does not give any protection to acts of treason. But let’s examine this idea a little more. Most gun control articles carefully avoid any legitimate gun control statistics. Some will offer false or distorted information but few will face the harsh realities of factual gun control statistics. For example few if any pro gun articles will feature the facts that over 2200 gun deaths, in the US alone, since the massacre at Newtown. Most anti gun control articles will avoid the hard fact that far more women than men are murdered by guns in America. No, most gun articles are little more than an outraged whine about losing imaginary freedoms. The 2nd amendment argument in particular ia annoying because of some other TRUTHFUL gun control statistics. Here is the most important one: While the true number of guns in America is unknown (largely due to the efforts of the gun lobby in Washington), what we can access is terrifying. How’s this to justify the idea that the right to bear arms is under attack or that the government is “coming to take your guns:” by the best assessments available there are… 37 MILLION guns in private hands in America. Ok, so what? Well, the entire US military only has… 4 MILLION guns! That’s right. There are 9.25 private weapons for every one held y the military! The right to bear arms? The 2nd amendment? The government coming to “take away your guns?” Who is really crazy here?
There is about to be a war in America. The war will be waged in gun control articles and those will often be fearsome, exaggerated and occasionally hostile. This gun control debate will be conducted as the majority of Americans demand our leaders pass legislation banning assault weapons, requiring background checks for gun buyers and generally strengthening our gun laws. The opposition to the majority will be a small fraction of irrational citizens who are blind to the facts of gun violence. The debate will often be steered to the 2nd amendment. It is fair to call these folks irrational because any gun control debate must be based on facts. The facts of the issues are well established but they have been deliberately distorted, mischaracterized or lies substituted for truth. In addition, all manner of illogical argumentation techniques will be used in the coming gun control debate. For example, gun control statistics will be responded to with claims about the 2nd amendment. It is irrational in a gun control debate to respond to the facts of gun violence with an argument about the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms. The Supreme court has ruled many times on the 2nd amendment. They have found that gun ownership is legal and protected. However, they have found that the 2nd amendment also protects the government’s right to regulate guns. What is gun control? First, it is not about taking away people’s guns. This would likely be impossible. Rather, it is about changing American culture to end the perverse worship of guns and gradually make their use understood to be a symptom of a social disorder rather than a point of cultural pride. Gun control is also about making the acquisition of guns more difficult and ensuring that anyone who should not have a deadly weapon does not get one. Finally, it is about banning weapons that are most effective when used to massacre groups of people and reducing the number and ease of handguns. Why are these worthy goals? Any sound gun control debate must include relevant gun control statistics. Here are some from a recent gun control article on gun violence toward women in America: * In 2010, nearly six times as many women were shot by husbands, boyfriends, and ex partners than were murdered by male strangers. Guns do not make women safer. * A woman who has been a victim of an abusive partner is more than seven times more likely to be killed by her abuser if he has access to a gun. Access to guns is a terrible risk for women in abusive relationships. *Women in states with higher gun ownership rates were almost five times more likely to be murdered by a gun than women in states with lower gun ownership rates. The more guns; the more gun violence.
Gun control statistics are regularly looked at by people on both sides of the debate. Some individuals may used them to defend the 2nd amendment. Others may believe that they give more than enough reason to further restrict the right to bear arms. One of the reasons why gun control statistics are used by both sides is because like most kinds of statistics, they can be interpreted in different ways. It all depends on who is looking at them, and what they are using them for. Some people who look at gun control statistics to argue for the continued ownership of “assault rifles” will go on about how the highest percentage of gun crimes in the United States are committed with handguns. After that, they will point out how so many of them take places in cities like Chicago, which already have some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation. Like so many other kinds of stats however, people can take gun control statistics and turn them right around, and still seem to make sense. Recent gun control statistics have also shown a high concentration of shootings taking place in suburban schools and colleges over the last decade. While these represent a relatively low percentage of overall gun injuries and deaths in the country, most people will agree that even one such incident is too much. Whether someone gets their gun control statistics from an independent researcher, or from the FBIs own website, the one thing they will see is that there are thousands of gun deaths each year. In order to put things into perspective, people should always make sure to separate violent crimes and murders from accidents. With new gun control statistics coming out every year, only time will tell if the new laws coming on the books will be enough to make an impact for good.
In the sincere effort to reform gun laws in America, the effort to have open, honest conversations about gun control have been consistently and aggressively undermined by the gun manufacturing industry and their lobbying agency, the NRA. Irrelevant issues, such as the right to bear arms in the 2nd amendment, have been raised as smoke screens to confuse meaningful gun control debate. So, what is gun control? At present, gun control is a debate on how to change American society so that there are fewer homicides, shootings, mass murders, and gun violence. The approaches include changes to our entertainment industry, improved offering of mental health care and laws that both outlaw certain weapons and restrict ownership of others. What Is Gun Control? It is an effort to search for answers. It is national soul searching to find ways to ensure that the horror of the Sandy Hook school massacre never happens again. What Is Gun Control? It is a national self examination as to why America is so much more violent, especially with guns, than every other civilized western nation. What Is Gun Control? It is the search for truth against a well organized lobby that has had years of practice in creating fear, telling lies and distorting gun control statistics. It is a process by Americans to stand up to the liars and demand the truth. What Is Gun Control? It is every American gaining the courage to say we don’t want to be considered a violent and crazy nation by all the other modern countries of the world. It is about demanding the truth, the facts of gun violence and then acting to bring it to an end. What Is Gun Control? It is each of us looking in the mirror and saying, “This has to stop. People don’t need guns. We are a better people, a better community, a better nation without them.”
In the struggle to bring sane, civilized gun control in America, the debate has long been poisoned by the lobbying efforts of the gun manufacturing industry. Headed by the NRA, an organization that was once a sportsman’s association but is now funded by the gun industry to the tune of about $20 million per year, the conversation about rational laws has been muddied by irrelevancies such as the 2nd amendment. Truthful gun control statistics are hard to find. The fact is, “the right to bear arms” is well established and often protected by the SCOTUS. However, so has the government’s right to regulate guns. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive. The NRA has been very successful in disseminating all manner of disinformation. Here are some truthful gun control statistics: The Federal agency charged with the enforcement of gun law violations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has not had a permanent director for over six years because of a rule, snuck into legislation unrelated to guns and sponsored by the NRA, that requires the Senate to approve nominees to the position. The result? No nominees have been approved! The gun industry has claimed that more Americans are becoming gun owners. This is false. Even as far back as 1973 only half of Americans said they had a gun in their homes. That per cent has steadily declined. Today less than 32 percent of American households have guns. The NRA has consistently tried to present gun ownership as non gender based. This is contrary to truthful gun control statistics. 80 percent of gun owners are men. More disturbing is that they now average 7.9 guns per person. Two hands, eight guns. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. Truth about gun control statistics is essential for an open, honest dialogue on gun control. Let’s demand the NRA tell the truth!
Gun death statistics do not lie because these are figures compiled by government and non government agencies including the United Nations Organization. So, we can rely on gun death statistics to understand the reality of the situation arising out of unrestricted gun control. People who are against gun control have been using an argument that owning guns will make life more secure for people. But gun death statistics have exploded this myth. Gun control facts indicate that in the United states, there are about 90 guns for every 100 people. This high gun ratio is what is advocated by the anti gun control groups as an insurance against crime. But has it given security to the people? Gun death statistics show that in areas that have a large number of guns, a much larger number of children and women get killed by guns. Gun crime statistics, by thus showing that the reality is opposite of what was projected by the gun control lobby, have exploded the myth that gun ownership gives more protection to people. Gun death statistics also show how the reach of gun crime has affected the country’s economy as well. As a result of gun deaths, the US economy suffers an annual loss of about 4 billion dollars. Whenever facts supporting a particular argument are revealed in a debate, we will normally expect the other side to respond by refuting them or otherwise dealing with them appropriately. But this does not happen with gun control debate. The pro gun groups have nothing to say about gun crime statistics. So, they raise sentimental issues like protecting the right of gun ownership given by the 2nd amendment. The fact that about 99 percent of the second amendment was written on the basis of inputs given by people with no college education and hence no legal education does not appeal to them. People who oppose gun control legislation routinely treat gun death statistics casually, since the scenario presented by these figures cannot be comfortable to them. The anti gun control movement is led by the NRA (National Rifles Association) which functions more like a lobby than like a political organization. Some legislators supporting the NRA are making rules which will be impractical to follow and stymie the efforts of organizations like the CDC involved in studying gun violence. Perhaps, they expect that compiling more gun death statistics will be prevented.
Can gun control articles play any role in bringing about a strong gun control regime? Yes, they can. The written word has a power of its own. Gun control articles are doing a great service to the cause of controlling gun ownership in two ways. Firstly, these articles discuss the issue in great detail by using gun control facts and put the issues involved in proper light. Secondly and more importantly, gun control articles help in mobilizing public opinion in favor of the right side by making people aware of the facts. Since many people do not have the time, knowledge or inclination to study the issues involved in gun control and make up their minds, they depend on gun control articles published in the newspapers, periodicals and the internet. Gun control articles thus enlarge both the scope of and the level of participation in the gun control debate. They do it both by bringing gun crime statistics to the knowledge of their readers and making the readers understand the picture presented by these statistics. Without gun control articles making the issues clear to them, most of the readers may have only a superficial understanding of the subject. Let us see how gun control articles present some of the facts relating to gun control. People who oppose gun control laws claim that allowing people to have guns will help prevent crime. Gun control articles present evidence to disprove this claim. Studies have found that if there is a gun in a house, the women and children living in that house have a greater risk of falling prey to gun violence. Another finding is that states that have high gun ownership have a higher number of children becoming victims of homicide. A third fact that corroborates these two data is that the number of gun deaths for 100,000 citizens is higher for the United States than it is for South Africa, resulting in the US getting ranked below South Africa in controlling gun crimes. The one group that seems to have ignored all these facts presented by gun control articles is the National Rifles Association (NRA), which is leading the fight against gun control. By following a policy of not compromising on its stand, the NRA has reduced itself from the status of being a club to that of a highly paid lobby.