Nel's New Day

December 14, 2012

Today Is the Day to Begin Gun Control

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:05 PM
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A few months ago, 12 people died when one man took several weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle, into a movie theater and fired off 50 shots a minute. The AR-15 is Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) favorite gun “because you can be so accurate with it.” A few days ago, three people died in a popular Portland (OR) shopping mall when a man shot into the crowd with an AR-15.

Earlier this week, a federal appeals court struck down Illinois’ ban on carrying concealed firearms in public. Illinois is 43rd out of 50 states in the number of gun deaths per capita, fewer than half the rate as in Mississippi. Yesterday the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature passed a bill that would allow people to bring guns into schools.

Today, at least 28 people, most of them children in an elementary school, died in Newton (CT), just 60 miles northeast of New York City, when a man opened fire on them.

Politicians join the rest of the country in mourning these disasters. Flags are  lowered. There is an outcry for a few days. Soon, however, conservatives in Congress and state legislatures will go back to business as usual, working to move money to the wealthiest and make the United States less safe for people while most of the Democrats trying to prevent his. Stalemate.

I have questions. And spare me the mantra that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Once again, I say, “People who don’t have guns can’t shoot people.”

Why do we allow such websites as KSL.com, owned and operated by the Mormons, to sell firearms, no questions asked?

Why do we think that the Founding Fathers meant people to have arsenals of assault weapons in the 21st century? The Second Amendment cites “a well-regulated militia.” We’re not fighting the British any more, yet people can own an unlimited number of weapons only because of a grammatical misunderstanding.

Why isn’t there a hue and cry to support Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) in her work on legislation to ban assault weapons?

Why doesn’t the public hold responsible the Congressional elected officials who are beholden to assault weapons manufacturers and the NRA from their donations?

When will the media concentrate on how these killings can be stopped instead of analyzing what kinds of people commit these crimes?

Why do people always fight any gun control with the excuse that they need their guns to hunt for food? Do they use automatic assault weapons for hunting? (That’s a rhetorical question. Of course, they don’t.)

Why aren’t there more class-action lawsuits against the people responsible for the proliferation of high-powered weaponry in our society? Lax gun laws and inadequate security checks in Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky and 7 other states mean that they supplied nearly half the 43,000 guns traced to crime scenes in other states in just one year.

Why do we glorify gun ownership? Firearms are used in 300,000 crimes a year in the United States.

Why do people keep saying stupid things?

After Aurora, Mike Huckabee said, “We don’t have a crime problem or a gun problem – or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem.” Today, his script read the same, that there is violence in schools because “we have systematically removed God from our schools.”

Bryan Fischer said that God could have protected the victims of this massacre, but didn’t because “God is not going to go where he is not wanted.”

People in the United States have a love for killing. In 2010, 31,513 people died in the United States from guns; another 200,000 were injured. The United States is responsible for over 80 percent of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined. The movies and video games in Japan are more violent than ours, yet fewer than an average of 20 people a year are killed there with guns. In 2006 the number was two. Great Britain has fewer than an average of 40 gun murders a year.

Canada’s culture is similar to ours, but that country averages fewer than 200 deaths. Switzerland has the third-highest number of guns per capita on earth but a low murder rate. Three-quarters of the states execute criminals, but the states with no death penalty have lower murder rates.

On the morning of 9/11/01, 2,996 people died. Every year, ten times that number of people die of gun-related deaths. Although the death of 2,996 people caused the United States to declare preemptive war on two countries, wars that resulted in additional hundreds of thousands of people dying, nothing has been done about the 300,000+ people who died from guns during the past decade.

Gun-related deaths are more likely in states with a high percentage of working class jobs, rates of high school students carrying weapons on school property, and a majority vote for John McCain.

Gun-related deaths are less likely in states with higher levels of college graduates and creative class jobs, higher levels of economic development, higher levels of happiness and well-being, and more immigrants.

Gun-related deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation such as banning assault weapons, requiring trigger locks, and mandating safe storage for guns.

When I think about all the people who fight a federal registration list of gun owners, I think about the same people who bitterly fight to mandate a government-issued photo ID before people can vote. I also think about the mandatory registration for both driving and owning cars. No one has said that these registrations are a “slippery slope” toward the seizure of all private vehicles by a totalitarian government.

The NRA incessantly lobbies for looser and looser gun laws, but their members don’t agree with its leadership. In over 30 states anyone can purchase a firearm from a “private seller” without any background check, including a .50 caliber sniper rifle that can take down a helicopter. Sixty-nine percent of NRA members want this loophole closed.

People on the U.S. terror watch list cannot fly commercially, but they can buy guns and explosives. Eighty-two percent of NRA members want this loophole closed.

Laws limit the ability of law enforcement to access, use, and share data so that they can enforce federal, state, and local gun laws. Sixty-nine percent of NRA members want this loophole closed.

Some cities and townships have passed laws that lost and stolen guns must be reported, but the NRA threatens to overturn these laws. Seventy-eight percent of NRA members approve of laws that mandate the reporting of lost and stolen guns.

Last August, six Sikhs were killed in their temple. A month later, a man killed five people at his former workplace after he was laid off. Politicians paid little attention to these events. The image of 20 dead children under ten years old would hopefully shock them into thinking that there is no marker identifying a mass murderer, that the deaths are caused because of easy access to firearms.

Today is the time that the people in this country should rise up and demand accountability. It might save their own lives.

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