Watch the NRA go ballistic. Boston Mayor Walsh plans a gun buyback in the city after a 14-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 9-year-old brother. Will the NRA now say that “guns don’t kill people”? Will the gun lobbying group now say that 14-year-olds kill people—accidentally, of course?
Last Friday, the teenager, unidentified because of his age, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and unlawful possession of a firearm. The police found the teen after he fled the scene, possibly in panic. The boy was described as remorseful and frightened.
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley urged action:
“Part of our investigation in the days to come will be determining how this weapon got into the hands of a 14-year-old. In the meantime, I want to make something crystal clear: if you know about an illegal firearm in this city, help us prevent another tragedy like this one. Boston Police are doing a tremendous job of taking guns off the street, but they aren’t mind readers. They need tips and information about these weapons before they’re used.”
Walsh’s plans in coordination with newly appointed police commissioner William Evans occur at the same time that Boston has had a spike in gun-related homicides. The eight killings by gun since February 2 are four times as many as in the same time period last year.
Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign and founder of the Center to Prevent Youth Violence, writes:
“Most simply, too many tragedies occur because guns are purchased or owned without giving proper weight to the risks of bringing guns into the home and unsafe access to those guns.
“This isn’t a gun issue. It’s a responsibility issue. Thousands of tragedies, in homes across our country could be prevented every year if parents and others had more responsible attitudes and behaviors, based on the real risks around guns in the home.
“And to address this responsibility issue, we need major public awareness and education campaigns. We need to start a new national conversation that makes responsible choices about guns part of what it means to be a responsible parent, spouse or friend.
“We need to change social norms just like we’ve seen on those other issues like drunk driving and tobacco where campaigns like, ‘Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,’ and ‘Second Hand Smoke,’ have changed dangerous and irresponsible behavior that was considered not only acceptable, but glamorous a generation ago. Just watch one episode of Mad Men and think about how far we’ve come on those issues. We believe we have the exciting potential to create the same kind of sea change around guns through the same kind of public health and safety campaigns.”
This buyback plan, as all other gun-control plans, will be attacked. Thomas Nolan, a former 27-year Boston cop who teaches criminal justice at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, described the gun buyback as “gimmicky” because people who use weapons in violent crimes won’t surrender their weapons. The question is whether he was talking about the family of the 9-year-old dead boy.
On the other hand, John Firman, director of research for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, supports Walsh’s actions. He said that gun buybacks are to raise community awareness for people who want to turn in unwanted guns and added that these programs are highly important for people in domestic violence situations who want to remove guns from their homes.
The argument that people won’t turn in guns has become very tired. Law enforcement campaigns to find people who aren’t wearing seatbelts and who are driving under the influence of alcohol don’t expect to totally eradicate traffic fatalities. Not every accident can be prevented, but the number of traffic fatalities is shrinking because of restrictions. The number of deaths by guns in the United States continues unabated.
Those in opposition to the gun buyback will also rant that the Second Amendment in the U.S. Constitution is the only one that should have no restrictions. Free speech is limited to protect human life, and the right to assemble has controls. In many cases, the protection against search and seizure is abridged, and other amendments have restrictions. Legally, gun ownership can have the same accountability.
After Tucson tried to destroy guns obtained through a buyback program, the NRA succeeded in persuading the state legislature to pass a law preventing any destruction of weapons obtained by state law enforcement and other government agencies. Instead, these guns that were taken off the streets must then be sold to a federal firearms licensed dealer. At this time, however, guns obtained through private buyback programs can be destroyed.
In desperation, the NRA is pushing sales to women and children because the organization benefits financially from every gun sold in the United States. The result is thousands of shootings by children as shown in the website, http://kidshootings.blogspot.com/. Just one example is three-year old Temorej Smith who was playing with a pretty pink gun in Greenville (SC) after he and his 7-year old sister found it in the bedroom. Temorej fatally shot himself in the head.
Another blog reports many of the shootings across the United States including one by a Utah police officer. In January, Joshua Boren, 37, shot and killed his wife, Kelly; his 7-year old son, Joshua; his 5-year old daughter, Haley; and his 55-year old mother-in-law, Marie King, before he killed himself. They had just come back from Disneyland.
Most people who continue to glory in their gun ownership and promote the myth that their guns will protect them cannot be persuaded that changes must be made. They suffer from the delusion that all gun owners are responsible people and would never leave their guns lying around and available to children. They would never admit the possibility that their guns could be stolen by criminals. Thus they will continue to write their pathetic responses to the pleas for making the country safer for all. Hard-core gun owners who collect large numbers of weapons may not change their need to own these personal “toys” until they lose those important to them through shootings. Even then, they may become more embittered, convinced that more guns would have stopped the losses.
Hatred, racism, paranoia, and selfishness fuel the people who want to allow everyone in the country to own guns, the people who think that felons and the mentally imbalanced should have the right to purchase guns. These are the people who fight background checks and legal restrictions on gun ownership. Some of them are the people who plan to use their arsenals to overtake the government if they don’t like the laws that legislature passes.
In many cases their arguments come from a “fact sheet’ to fight any gun control. A person who attended a recent Ceasefire Oregon meeting commented that the six men opposing Oregon’s proposal of universal gun background checks had brought printed copies of talking points for their arguments. These are the same people who accuse the opposition of being “sheep,” merely the ignorant following the ignorant. The “fact sheet” shows where they get their ideas.
An advertisement for a book in the document begins, “Everyone lies.” This statement was a major argument those at the meeting who opposed background checks. It’s a simple tactic because it stops all discussion.
The document begins: “There is no such thing as an assault weapon.” Again, this statement is designed to get people off the topic of background checks or other gun control.
The vast majority of the sources in the document are between one and three decades old. Most of them come from the 1990s, including the statistic on school shootings. The rationale for not having gun buybacks is dated 1997—sixteen years ago. The statement that only five children died from accidental shootings in 2001 has no relevance in 2014 when that number has occurred in fewer than two months.
In combating evidence that background checks stop suicides, the document cites the fact but not information that refutes it. Maybe the worst was comparing homicide rates in the United Kingdom between 1919 and 1986 to prove that the country doesn’t need gun control.
Documents like this one do a disservice because it lies to the readers, readers who then use these invalid statements to respond to blogs–including this one.
Randi Kreiss has written a call to action:
“If there were killers wandering America, randomly shooting kids in their classrooms, stalking our sons and daughters on their high school and college campuses—and if the government refused to help— surely we would rise up and march on Washington, demanding action. If the shameful toll of gun violence in our country is any indication, it is time to rise up, in fact way past time….
“We all know the rap of the National Rifle Association folks: Second Amendment rights are sacrosanct; guns don’t kill people; better enforcement of existing gun laws would solve the problem. This mantra is repeated ad nauseum, stonewalling any effort to pass reasonable laws that would keep guns out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill….
“For the love of our children, we need to move beyond bumper sticker thinking…. Guns do kill people when they’re in the hands of people who buy them without background checks, people who may be delusional, and people who may have a history of criminal behavior. Guns kill people when anyone with a few dollars can buy a gun illegally but easily on the streets of any American city.”
It’s time that reasonable, responsible people take the country back from the NRA and its mindless followers.