It’s becoming abundantly clear that gun control is going to be one of the most important issues during the race for the presidency – along with how we are going to deal with radicalized Islamic terrorist groups. Obviously, the NRA wants purchasing a gun to be as easy possible. You know who else wants obtaining firearms in the U.S. to be as easy as possible? Radicalized Islamic terrorist groups. Last week, Congress voted down a bill that would have required more stringent background checks for potential terrorists to purchase firearms. Why? Because the NRA spends a lot of money buying politicians. In exchange for $$$, G.O.P. candidates tout pro-gun ideology and use fear to galvanize their base. These are some of my faves.
“Obama’s coming for your guns!”
No, he isn’t. There is no practical way to round up the incredible amount of guns (estimates say over 300 million) floating around our nation – also no one in Washington has ever proposed anything close to as drastic as this. Even if the government wanted to take on this impossible task, citizens would have feds and cops out gunned by about 79 to 1. So rest easy, gun lovers. You can keep what’s yours.
“People kill people – don’t blame guns!”
I guess this is technically true. It takes someone to pull the trigger and you can’t blame utensils for obesity, right? However, states with the highest gun ownership rates have a gun murder rate 114% higher than those with the lowest ownership rates. Additionally, gun death rates are higher in states with higher rates of gun ownership and generally lower in states with restrictions such as assault-weapons or safe storage requirements. Furthermore, for every one percent increase in a state’s gun ownership rate, there is a one percent increase in its firearm homicide rate. More guns = more gun related deaths. Period.
“Good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns.”
Over the past 30 years, there have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 65-75 mass shootings the United States. Want to take a guess at how many of those were stopped by an armed civilian? Zero. Not one. In reality, a good guy confronting a bad guy usually ends up with things going poorly for the good guy. (Exhibits A, B, and C).
“You’re safer with a gun in your home.”
You might feel safer but you aren’t. A gun in the home is linked to higher risks of homicide, suicide and accidental gun death. There are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts and 4 gun related accidents in or around a home for every one time a gun is used in self-defense. A 2010 experiment found that 33% of 8 to 12 year old boys who found a handgun pulled the trigger.
“Carrying a gun for self-defense keeps you safe.”
Studies have found that that the odds of an assault victim being shot were 4.5 times greater if was carrying a gun with his odds being killed 4.2 greater. In a survey from 2000, 1%of Americans reported using their to defend themselves or their property compared with more than 50% claiming using guns in an aggressive manner. Additionally, 10 times more people were shot and killed in arguments than by “good guys” trying to stop a crime.
“There’s no need for more gun laws – let’s just enforce the ones we have.”
The gun lobby backs weak laws and loopholes that make it easier to get guns illegally. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not have a permanent director for 7 years, due to an NRA backed requirement that the Senate approve nominees. An investigation found that 62% of online gun sellers were willing to sell to buyers who said they couldn’t pass a background check. Approximately 40% of all legal gun sales involve private sellers and don’t require background checks.
I’ll be the first to admit that access to firearms isn’t the only reason for the amount of gun-related deaths in the United States but it’s negligent to say that it’s not a problem at all. It’s a problem when we can’t even get Congress to pass amendments to make it more difficult for potential terrorists to purchase guns. The NRA has waaaaaay too much power.