Take a look at the projected electoral map on Nate Silver’s website. Now take a look at the map which shows state-level gun-violence rates constructed by our friends at the Center for American Progress (found on Page 6 of their report, America Under Fire.) Notice anything? I’ll give you a little hint: The states with the highest levels of gun violence are also the states that will probably end up voting for the GOP. And if you want to talk about the elephant in the living room when it comes to guns, this is it. Simply put: red states are where most gun violence occurs.
You won’t ever see this elephant if you listen to Gun-nut Nation, because as far as they are concerned, gun violence is only a problem in minority neighborhoods, and many, if not most of those neighborhoods are located in cities (Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles) within states which contain relatively few voters who back the GOP. So when The Groper stands up at one of his Klan rallies and says that violent crime will go down if we make sure to be armed when we walk around those crime-infested spots, he’s pandering to the racist mentality of the lunatic fringe, but he’s also saying something that simply isn’t true. Gee – what a surprise that Groper Trump would say something that isn’t true.
What is true is that gun violence appears to correlate most of all with lax gun laws, which is a polite way of saying that in many red states that there are no gun laws at all. Or if there are any laws covering guns, they tend to be laws that actually give people more, not less legal use of guns. The worst in this respect are ‘stand your ground’ laws (SYG) which allow people to use any level of lethal force if they believe they might otherwise face imminent harm, and they do not have to retreat or otherwise try to avoid the problem before yanking out a gun. These laws now exist in 22 states, of which The Groper will probably win 17 or 18 of those states unless he screws things up a bit more. And what happens when an SYG law is put into effect? According to a very comprehensive study from Everytown, the justifiable homicide rate goes up by more than twice.
Why are red-leaning states so resistant to passing laws that reduce gun violence, in particular laws which in other states appear to work? Why is it so hard, for example, to get extended NICS-background checks in these states when all the polls show that even a healthy majority of gun owners believe that requiring background checks for private transfers would be a good thing? It would be tempting to put it down to the fact that since these are the states where most people own guns, therefore Gun-nut Nation can easily rally the troops, so to speak, whenever a new gun is being discussed. But the issue goes deeper than that, and here is what it’s really all about.
The most powerful argument that Gun-nut Nation puts forth to block any kind of gun regulations is the ‘slippery-slope’ argument; i.e., if you let ‘them’ have any new law at all, then they’ll take another bite here, another bite there, and sooner or later there won’t be any guns at all. And there happens to be a bit of truth to this argument, if only because most gun-sense activists, no matter how much they claim to ‘respect’ the 2nd Amendment, would be just as happy if all the guns really did go away.
Because the truth is, and here’s the real elephant in case you didn’t know, there’s one thing and one thing only which accounts for every act of gun violence, and that’s the existence of a gun. I apologize for putting it in such clear and uncompromising terms, but if you pull the trigger of a loaded gun, it’s going to go – bang!