When are Americans going to say enough is enough? There was yet another shooting yesterday, this time at a mall in Maryland; as usual, it was a murder-suicide. And at the end of the day, three people are dead. Thanks NRA. Thanks Wayne LaPierre. Thanks GOP.
Indeed, thanks to anyone who was foolish enough to buy into the asinine arguments we’ve gotten in the past year since Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut. Arguments like: “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Or “If you stop someone from getting a gun legally, they’ll just get one illegally.” Or, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”
In sum, these, among other equally weak idioms not to stop the veritable epidemic of gun violence in this nation, as well as a general outcry from gun owners and rural Americans who were gullible enough to believe the government was on their way to take everyone’s guns, meant that we didn’t get a federal law mandating universal background checks on gun buyers in 2013. It would have been a modest step, but there’s no doubt it would have already saved lives. Even better: over 80% of Americans supported the law.
So thanks again, idiots. Blood is on your hands. It’s because of everyone mentioned above that we have around 30,000 gun-related deaths per year in this country.
Now, would universal background checks stop every gun-related death? No, of course not; nor would any one law or cadre of laws. However, increased regulations on firearms can significantly decrease that number.
Take Australia, for example. A gun buy-back program there dramatically decreased the number of suicides, and the data suggest that there’s a strong correlation with increased firearms regulations “down under” and a 60% decrease in homicides since 1996. The reason researchers can’t be more certain: the number of gun related homicides in Australia each year is so low (25 in 2011), that it’s hard to tell if the data are statistically significant.
Here in the states, however, the numbers are impossible to ignore. In 2011, for example, 11,101 people were murdered with a gun, and another 19,766 committed suicide using a firearm. Are we really supposed to believe that if we had universal background checks to make sure gun buyers weren’t either criminals, insane, or both, that those numbers wouldn’t be lower?
And let’s be clear: no reasonable person is suggesting the government should send out black helicopters to gather up all the guns. Gun ownership is an American tradition and a Constitutional right.
But what responsible gun owner would flinch at allowing a few extra days processing to make sure that every legal gun purchase is made by someone like themselves, properly trained, licensed, sane, and not a criminal? Moreover, why not go one step further and mandate that firearms other than handguns be safely stored under lock and key?
Again, let’s be clear: if you are against universal background checks, then you believe that criminals, terrorists, and crazy people HAVE A RIGHT to buy, possess, and discharge firearms. And remember, no one is saying that law abiding citizens who are mentally stable should not be able to own guns. No one.
Sure, even with background checks, criminals will still be able to steal guns or buy them illegally, and those who are mentally ill may be able to find another way to hurt people without using a gun; but if we make them take those extra steps, then there’s at least an increased chance that the police, FBI, ATF, or some other branch of law enforcement can catch them prior to the next blood bath. Isn’t that worth it? Isn’t that worth making people wait just a few more days to get the gun they just bought?
It is, and for anyone who answers no to those, or any of the other rhetorical questions posed here—I’m horrified that you have a right to vote OR own a gun, because both carry awful consequences for this country.
This needs to stop now, and politicians who refuse to act, or worse, stand in the way of reasonable firearms regulations, ought to lose their jobs in 2014. Enough is enough.