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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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When it comes to the misuse of guns, are we pro-gun or pro-life?

When it comes to the misuse of guns, are we pro-gun or pro-life?

With the latest shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Oregon, it’s time once again to reexamine our country’s position on guns. Why are we the most violent nation in the world? What can we do to stem the tide of violence in our country? Do we just repeat the National Rifle Association (NRA) propaganda without examining the reality? Or do we challenge the paranoia and respect all life?

A report published by the FBI last year, studying active shooting situations between 2000 and 2013, found that mass shootings have increased over the years. The first seven years of the study found an average of 6.4 active shootings a year. The last seven years of the study found that number jumped up to 16.4 incidents per year. That’s a big jump!

The NRA has lobbied congressional representatives to cut off federal funding for research on gun violence thereby hindering the data collection that shed light on our national problem. The NRA is in the business of selling guns and has made gun ownership the only absolute constitutional right. Meanwhile, families continue to bury their love ones.

Some gun advocates use scare tactics to prevent Americans from having realizable gun control laws. They say: “The government wants to take away your guns.” No one has ever proposed this and no one ever will this because there’s no practical way to retrieve them. We can rest assured knowing that America’s roughly 80 million gun owners with 310 million guns have the feds and cops outgunned with its 4 million guns by a ratio of 79 to 1.

Another NRA mantra is “Guns don’t kill people – people kill people.” The truth is that people with more guns kill more people – with guns. The states with the highest gun ownership have a gun murder rate 114% higher than those with the lowest gun ownership.

Gun death rates are generally lower in states with restrictions such as assault-weapon bans or safe-storage requirements. A recent study looking at 30 years of homicide data in all 50 states found that for every one percent increase in a state’s gun ownership rate, there is a nearly one percent increase in its firearm homicide rate.

Another NRA mantra: “The more good guys carry guns the better chance we have of stopping the bad guys.” The truth is the number of mass shootings stopped by armed civilians in the past 30 years: 0. The chances that a shooting at an ER involves guns taken from guards: 1 in 5.

NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre said this after the Newtown shooting: “Vicious, violent video games” deserve more blame than guns. Let’s compare U.S. use of video games with Japan. The amount an average citizen spends on video games: U.S. $44/Japan $55. Civilian firearms per 100 people: U.S. 88/Japan 0.6. Gun homicides in 2008: U.S. 11,030/Japan only 11.

Another mantra: “We don’t need more gun laws. That will only harm the good law-abiding citizens.” The reality is that weak laws and loopholes backed by the gun lobby make it easier to get guns illegally. Around 40% of all legal gun sales involve private sellers and don’t require background checks. 40% of prison inmates who used guns in their crimes got them this way.

An investigation found 62% of online gun sellers were willing to sell to buyers who said they couldn’t pass a background check. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives did not have a permanent director for seven years due to a NRA-backed requirement that the Senate approve nominees.

All Constitutional Rights come with some limitations. Most Americans want some restraints on the use of deadly weapons: thorough background checks, safe storage, banning guns from the mentally ill, and registration.

Let’s be pro-life, not pro-gun!