Every time gun debate breaks out, the two sides take positions that are simply Alice in Wonderland-like in how far they are divorced from real facts. The NRA argues that the more guns are owned and carried by civilians, the safer we become. It’s errant nonsense, and the same people who believe it and who publish “research” to prove it will also tell you that they can prove that elements in the U.S. government helped bin Laden blow up Towers One and Two. Not to be outdone in terms of flights from reality, the gun control crowd insists that banning semi-automatic rifles that look like AR-15 military weapons will have a significant impact on gun violence, despite the fact that of the 11,000+ people killed each year with guns, less than 300 deaths can be blamed on rifles of all types, let alone the so-called “assault” guns with their high-capacity mags. By the way, since the overwhelming majority of shootings occur with the discharge of only one round, I have never understood the fetish that exists among the gun control advocates to ban hi-cap mags.
- Most (90%) people who use guns in criminal ways have a prior history of criminal behavior.
- Most (80%) individuals who use guns to commit suicide had contact with a medical professional and expressed their feelings of mental distress within 30 days or less of when they killed themselves.
- Most (70%+) of all gun homicides take place in inner-city, minority neighborhoods.
So there you have it or, as Jack Friday used to say, just the facts ma’am, just the facts. Yea, yea, yea, I know all about the importance of gun safety, but if every single gun in the United States were locked up every single night, the overall deaths from accidental shootings would decline by a whopping 3 percent! As for expanding background checks to be sure that guns only moved from good guys to other good guys; people who acquired a gun legally aren’t disposed to give it to a bad guy and someone who acquired a gun “off paper” isn’t about to walk into a gun shop and fill out a Form 4473.
But there are some sensible things we can do to respond to the facts stated above. The cops could stop spending so much time issuing summonses for jaywalking or rousting young teens for hanging out on street corners and instead get in the face of every known felon and ask them if they are carrying a gun. It seems to be working in New York, why shouldn’t it be adopted everywhere else? As for people with mental issues, the NRA should drop its cynical and stupid opposition to the right of physicians to inquire and report on gun ownership in instances where the patient displays a “clear and obvious” threat to himself or others. And what could be a more obvious threat than someone reporting thoughts of suicide who also happens to own a gun? Finally, the gun control folks need to drop their politically-correct attitude towards the individuals and groups who commit most of the felony gun violence and figure out what to do to keep guns out of their hands. It’s just too bad if most of these people belong to certain specific, minority groups since we are always constrained to discuss or even describe things in racial terms. But the victims of these killers come from the self-same minority populations and we certainly shouldn’t be afraid to speak up in their stead.