The Truth about Gun Control
Death by handgun in the United States is a social disease unmatched in severity in other industrialized countries. For example, according to Handgun Control Inc., in 1996, handguns murdered 2 in New Zealand, 13 in Australia, 15 in Japan, 30 in Great Britain, 106 in Canada, and 211 in Germany. But the United States held the respectable commanding lead at 9,390 deaths.
In 1997, 32,436 people were killed by guns, 4,223 of those were young people ages 0-19. That is nearly 12 children every day.
It's no wonder, then, that local moms came to demonstrate on the steps of the SLO County Courthouse this past Mother's Day for reform of gun-control laws.
"We have a solution and we aren't going away," yelled one marcher at the Million Mom March demonstration.
The Million Mom March Foundation wants Congress to pass sensible gun legislation and promote gun safety. Their current agenda is to pass the bill SB 52, requiring a handgun safety license. They are currently rallying in Sacramento.
In the past, some SLO County residents, failing to acknowledge the epidemic of gun violence across the land, wrote letters to our local newspapers arguing against any form of regulation. Thankfully however, many see the issue differently. Gunfree Home, Handgun Control, and Center to Prevent Violence offer solutions to one of Americas most destructive social ills. These progressive, yet constitutionally concerned, organizations propose handgun regulation.
Still, many won't acknowledge the problem guns cause in our society. This is a result of excessive American ethnocentric thinking. One SLO resident wrote of gun regulation, "The government is slowly and deliberate taking away our freedoms." Yet again this underdeveloped view fails to understand that in a democratic system like ours, the government is of the people and by the people. America is changing, and her citizens want some form gun regulation. Sarah Brady, her supporters, and her bill are just one example.
Another resident wrote of gun regulators, "They also ignore statistics showing a significant reduction of violent crime after states adopt laws permitting law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons." Of course, this is one of the NRAs most flawed arguments.
First, studies have also shown that the decrease in crime in some states is attributed to several factors, not to concealed-weapon permits. Second, according to several other statistics, toward which the NRA conveniently turn a blind eye, the person most likely to kill you with a gun already has a key to your home! People living in households where guns are kept have a 3 times higher risk of homicide and a 5 times higher risk of suicide than those in homes without guns (New England Journal of Medicine). Furthermore, most incidents of children killing themselves or other children happen while they are playing with a gun found in their home or in the home of a family member or friend (Journal of the American Medical Association). Third, the belief that more available guns prevent gun deaths is simply false. Canada, our neighbor, stands as a shinning example. According to Handguns in America, Canada has .67 gun deaths per 100,000 population, the United States has 6.4. "Gun control in Canada is as Canadian as ice hockey and the Mounties."
The vast majority of the citizens from the countries mentioned above support gun regulation in their country because the social benefits far outweigh the simplistic equation that guns equal liberty. Freedom and liberty, despite the NRAs stance, is exercised more through speech, press, literacy, and voting than through the barrel of a gun.
One of the arguments supporters of the Million Mom March make to gun-advocate residents is this. "There is something wrong in this country when we can require child-proof caps on aspirin, along with car seats and bike helmets for our kids' protection, but we don't require safety devices on deadly weapons. There is something wrong in this country when along with fire drills and tornado drills, our youngest children also have to practice lock-down drills by crouching in a darkened closet to hide from a gun. There is something wrong in this country when we can require the licensing and registration of drivers and cars, but not of gun owners and guns."
This grass roots movement to establish stricter gun control laws continues to gain momentum. Million Mom Marchers will be on the courthouse steps next Mother's Day. They view our escalating gun violence as a serious problem, to which they propose solutions. What's your solution?
Anthony Halderman is a patriotic American who exercises his constitutional rights through voting, literacy, and the press.