Here’s a fact that should give us pause: “Crime in Japan has become so rare that police often have nothing to do. In 2015, there was just one gun homicide. Guns are virtually illegal there.” (“News,” The Week, October 27, 2017 pg. 16.) No wonder the Japanese have so many festivals. They have much to celebrate.
In other countries, where guns are restricted, the death rate from firearms is lower than in the United States. (Click) The National Rifle Association (NRA) argues against what seems to be statistical fact. They insist more guns in a society keep it safer. But they are wrong. “In the past 50 years more Americans have been killed by guns than all the wars in the nation’s history.” (“Armed and Dangerous,” The Week, October 27, 2017, pg. 22.) What’s more, in states where gun control laws are lax, like Alaska and Louisiana, death by firearms is higher than in states where they aren’t, like Massachusetts and Hawaii. (Ibid, pg. 11.)
So far, the NRA has succeeded in blocking legislation to control even the most dangerous firearms, those designed for the military, guns with high-powered magazines that fire as many as 100 rounds without needing to be reloaded. Government’s failure to pass modest restrictions has left us with nearly 6,000 children shot each year. In the general population for 2015, 36,252 firearm deaths occurred. (Ibid, pg. 11.)
The NRA supports policies that have turned our streets into war zones and sent more citizens to morgues than soldiers from the battlefields. We lost 3,000 citizens on September 2011. We lost ten times that number to home-grown violence in 2015. If the NRA were declared a terrorist organization, we’d be forced to admit it was more effective at destroying the nation’s peace than are our enemies from abroad.
Of course, the NRA isn’t a terrorist organization. My father was a lifelong member. He loved guns and he served and loved his country. Had he been alive, he would have wept for me had I been murdered at a music concert in Los Vegas.
So how do we, who want stronger gun regulation, dialogue with those say we need more guns in our society? How do we address their suspicion of government, which is at the core of this national debate, and show them their fear is tearing this country apart? We didn’t succeed in reaching hearts and minds about slavery. We had to go to war. On the question of gun control, is that what we want for our future? Russia will be happy. But what about us – we-the-people?
(Originally published 11/6/17)