Archive for March, 2013
Recently, in a small suburban town a woman was returning home from the Post Office pushing her two year old in a stroller. As she passed a stand of trees a 17 year old and a 14 year old stepped out and demanded money. She refused, pleading that she had none. She told them that caring for a baby took all her money. The 17 year old drew a gun and shot at her four times. He grazed her ear and hit her in the lag. He then walked around to the front of the stroller and killed the child, shooting it in the face. These murderers were caught and will be prosecuted. Were these assassins operating under the 2nd amendment? Despite the terrifying gun control statistics in America most gun control articles are still dominated by gun supporters who complain relentlessly, and falsely, about “the right to bear arms” allegedly protected by the 2nd amendment. Where in the 2nd amendment is the call for compassion? Where among the fanatic’s gun control articles is the rational recognition that America’s gun culture is actually a culture that condones murder? Gun control articles are dominated by supporters of the NRA. But this denies the fact that gun control statistics demonstrate a shocking, heartless society. The number of negative gun control statistics far outweigh the alleged importance of the 2nd amendment. Yet the debate is dominated by gun fanatics. The NRA is now recognized for what is so obviously is, the lobbying arm of American gun makers. The gun makers have no sympathy. Gun makers have no compassion. Gun makers desire profits and it doesn’t matter who is killed in the process. When American’s learned that the makers of cigarettes had known for decades that their product killed people they didn’t say, Cigarettes don’t kill people; People kill themselves.” They didn’t because they knew how stupid it was. Yet those who defend murder by gun are not held accountable. Cigarette makers were prosecuted; the gun lobby had a law passed making them immune from prosecution! We have the facts, the gun control statistics, to right matters. What is gun control even about? Right now the gun control debate is dominated by a sideshow, an irrelevant argument about the 2nd amendment that evades the point. Gun control statistics are astonishing. By 1964 more Americans were killed by guns in America than ALL the combat deaths in all the wars the country has ever been in. Almost FIFTY YEARS AGO! Let’s make the debate relevant!
Gun fanatics, who dominate the gun control debate, complain loudly about the Right to Bear Arms and their privileges under the 2nd amendment but there is a significant opposing viewpoint held by many Americans: Gun laws are not strong enough. Gun control statistics support the contention that guns are a major public health issue in America. Deaths caused by guns are nearly equal to those by car accident. In 2010, the last year for data, there were 33,687 traffic deaths and 31,672 gun deaths (CDC.) This is a serious problem. Some claim that the new laws (SAFE) passed in New York State are the nation’s toughest. SAFE is a weak effort to address it. Beyond banning evil military weapons and requiring background checks the legislature could have done much more. They should have spiked the tax on guns and ammunition. This tactic was successful reducing another public health issue, smoking. Gun taxes should equal forty or fifty per cent of the sale price. This money could then be used for a buyback program to remove guns from circulation. SAFE should have required that every gun and shell be “micro stamped.” This technology identifies individual weapons and stamps that gun’s ID onto every shell. Arnold Schwarzenegger made this the law in California in 2007! Additionally, every bullet and shell can also be made identifiable…with existing technology. Gun control statistics show that this is of enormous help to police. Gun control statistics suggest that SAFE should have broadened the exclusions of people who cannot own a gun. These would include people convicted of multiple DWIs, those who were charged with violent felonies but plea bargained down to a lesser misdemeanor. Gun control statistics support the idea that chronic lawbreakers, with any history of drug or alcohol abuse, should be barred from getting a gun. SAFE should have required mandatory safety inspections for any home with children and or more than one gun. These inspections could be carried out by local building inspectors and a nominal inspection fee paid by the gun owner. The purpose of such inspections would be to ensure that the weapons are properly locked up. Gun control statistics show that there are almost 20,000 gun inflicted suicides in America annually demands this regulation. We stand today where America stood the day after 9.11, we are vulnerable and confronted by a dangerous, well organized enemy: the NRA. They control the gun control debate. The overwhelming majority of Americans want an end to gun violence. To reach that goal we must act with intelligence and courage. We can defeat this scourge if we have the fortitude to act.
The question whether we need gun control laws at all is sometimes posed by people who are opposed to making the present gun control laws tighter. These people argue that the concept of gun control will be an anomaly in a democracy. If we accept this logic, we cannot have any law at all in a democracy because all laws seek to impose some kind of control on the people. Such a situation will only lead to anarchy. Democracy has the responsibility to prevent anarchy. The objective of gun control laws is not to prevent people from owning guns but to prevent anarchy. Placing reasonable restrictions on gun ownership cannot be considered an infringement on the freedom of people. Anyone who looks at gun control facts will understand the need for making the task of gun control more effective by making the laws tighter. Everyday, we come across gun death statistics in the newspapers which make us feel disturbed. If we make an honest effort to weigh the gun control pros and cons, we can only conclude that gun control is the need of the hour. Gun crime statistics show that the United States has a proportionately higher number of guns. The fact that the United States which contributes only to 5 percent of the population of the world has about 50 percent of the privately owned guns of the world is enough to settle the gun control debate in favor of stronger gun control. The information that countries that have fewer guns also have fewer murders and other severe crimes adds strength to the case for gun control. People who are in favor of unrestricted gun ownership but are against any kind of control on gun ownership use the right given by the 2nd amendment to own and bear guns as a point in their favor. What they fail to see is that 99 percent of this law was created based on the inputs received from people with no college education. A right based on such a weak foundation cannot be considered absolute. Unfortunately, opponents of gun control are resorting to unethical means to further their cause. For example, some legislators who are loyal to the NRA (National Rifles Association) are found to be creating rules that will have the effect of preventing organizations like the CDC even from studying gun violence. these people are not willing to accept gun control.
Those opposed to effective gun control always seem to dominate the discussion. The internet, TV interview programs, gun control articles and opinion pages look as if the majority of Americans are rabid about “gun rights” or “the right to bear arms.” This is a false impression. Over two thirds of American households have no guns. The overwhelming majority of us doesn’t like or don’t care about guns. Only one in ten women owns a gun. The angry rhetoric about the 2nd amendment is irrelevant to most Americans. Equally significant is that most guns in America are owned by a tiny minority. About 6.4 percent of the population owns 65 percent of the guns! If only 6 percent of the population are fanatical gun collectors then why is our national dialogue dominated by their angry, persecuted opinions in one gun control article after the next? The answer is the NRA. The NRA is not a sportsman’s association. It is the lobbying arm of gun and ammunition manufacturers. Despite claims to independence, the NRA’s financial support overwhelmingly comes from gum makers not gun owners. With an annual budget in excess of $300 million and only about 4.1 million members paying $25 a year it is easy to see who the NRA serves. In 2010 they received $71.1 million in donations. In 2012, the biggest NRA donor was Midway Corp an ammunition producer and maker of high capacity magazines. The founded the “Round UP” program where gun buyers round up their purchases to the next dollar the difference going to the NRA. At least 50 other companies in the gun industry have joined the program. They sponsor of the pro gun control articles across America. The NRA proclaims that its mission is to defend the 2nd amendment. However, its efforts have consistently focused on legislation that benefit weapons makers. According to a recent gun control article, in 2005, it lobbied to pass a law that gave gun manufacturers and distributors immunity from lawsuits from victims of gun violence. Cities, such as New Orleans, had also filed suits seeking damages for health care costs and other expenses resulting from gun violence. The NRA also speaks against the sentiments of its own membership. In a recent gun control article, Republican pollster Frank Luntz sited gun control statistics showing that very few members agree with the organization’s stances on gun control. According to Luntz’s survey 82 percent of all gun owners, and 74 percent of NRA members, support requiring criminal background checks for gun purchasers. The NRA does not. The NRA is transparently the voice of weapons makers and has dominated the public’s perception of the issues regarding gun control. It is time for the majority of Americans to stand up against the NRA message. Learn the facts and advocate for safety not violence.