Archive for January, 2013
Most American are familiar with the basic gun crime facts, at least the most important one: How many gun deaths occur in the US each year. In case you don’t know, the number is about 30,000 people. Of these about 8500 are homicide and the rest are suicides. These are shocking gun death facts.
Perhaps even more significant is that almost three times that many people are wounded, grievously, by gun shots but don’t die. This is an appalling gun fact. Added to this shock is that Americans cannot get an exact number of gun injuries because the agencies charged will collecting this data are prohibited from doing so regarding gun crime facts.
Our national health agencies, specifically the National Institute of Health and the Center for Diseae Control have been subjected to regulations that restrict them from collecting facts if those facts will cast gun ownership in a negative light!
Naturally, the prohibition on gun facts inhibits conversations on gun control. How can American have an open sensible gun control debate if gun crime facts are prohibited from being collected? Gun control is a burning issue in America and yet gun crime facts are intentionally kept from us.
How did it come to pass that in the United States of America basic data like gun crime facts are prohibited from being collected? Blame the NRA. The NRA and a few unethical legislators who worked quietly outside of public scrutiny to shield gun manufacturers from having to confront the facts of the harm their products do in our society.
Here are the facts in a gun control article from journalist Anne Landman: “Why? Because the National Rifle Association (NRA) has long worked behind the scenes to block laws allowing the collection and dissemination of data about the impact of gun ownership on Americans’ safety. The NRA quietly pushed a provision that was inserted into the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) restricting the data doctors can collect from their patients about their ownership and use of firearms. From 1986 and 1996, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control conducted peer reviewed research into the impact of the presence of guns in people’s homes. While there is a widespread belief among gun owners that the presence of guns in their homes makes them safer, the CDC found the opposite — that having a gun in the home creates a 2.7 times greater risk of homicide and a 4.8 greater risk of suicide for the occupants. The NRA took action to prevent CDC from publicizing these results, and blocked continued funding of government research into the impact of firearms on citizen safety. An NRA congressional lobbyist got an amendment slipped into an appropriations bill cutting $2.6 million from CDC’s budget (the amount CDC had been spending on firearm research annually) along with a clause that says say “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” What’s more, the federal agency responsible for regulating guns in the U.S. has been without a permanent director for six years…by design. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was split off from the U.S. Treasury Department nine years ago and since then Republican elected leaders, beholden to the gun lobby, have blocked confirmation of a director.”
Americans have the right to all gun crime facts so that we can make the best gun law!
Gun death has been assuming more and more serious proportions and this issue cannot be treated lightly any more. Perturbed by the gun death statistics, the average American is more concerned about gun crime today than anytime in the past. Anyone who considers gun control pros and cons with an open mind will see the urgent need to bring in tighter gun control laws, if we want to arrest gun crime. If this is not done, gun death will become as common a crime as is a petty theft.
Let us look at some of the most horrifying gun death statistics. People who oppose gun control legislation claim that possessing a gun will give the best protection to the owner and his family from becoming a victim of crime. Going through gun crime statistics, one does not find any evidence to support this strange assertion. On the contrary, gun control facts show that countries which have implemented strict laws on gun ownership have reported a significant drop in gun crime incidents like murders. In sharp contrast to the assertion made by the anti gun control groups, the real picture shows that murders and other gun crimes can be brought down by reducing the number of guns available with the people. Moreover, gun death statistics collected from these countries also show that gun control laws are effective not only in preventing murders but also in preventing suicides.
Another danger of gun ownership is also brought out by gun death statistics. It has been found that about 40 percent of children living in the houses that have guns know where their parents keep the guns. This fact points to the danger of the guns passing into the children’s hands. Such a development can have disastrous consequences by way of gun deaths due to accidental or improper use of the guns.
Some people challenge the case for gun control by invoking the 2nd amendment on the plea that the right of gun ownership given by this law is sovereign and cannot be subject to any control. But if we consider the fact that almost 99 percent of this amendment was created on the basis of information provided by people with no legal education, we can understand the weakness of this argument, especially when we are dealing with a serious problem like gun death.
The gun control debate is one of the oldest and one of the longest running events of our times. Though it may be difficult to point out when exactly the gun control debate began, we can say that the debate gained momentum after President Kennedy was killed by the bullets fired from a gun in 1963. Since then, the gun control debate has been becoming more and more intensive, with new gun control facts added every day, making the debate dynamic and vibrant
Since gun control pros and cons have already been discussed in detail, the gun control debate should take up new issues. These issues are new data relating to gun crime statistics that will make the debate more meaningful and the attitude of the people who have been vehemently opposing gun control. By way of presenting the situation indicated by gun death statistics, the control debate should highlight how the US stands in comparison with other countries, when the number of gun deaths in a country is expressed as a ratio to the population of that country by showing that the US is ranked worse than South Africa in the number of gun deaths for a population of 100,000
Another fact to be covered in the gun control debate is that in places where gun ownership is high, a larger number of children become victims of gun violence. Another related fact to be presented is that in homes that have guns, the chances of women and children getting killed by guns are high. These two facts presented in a debate will make people realize the urgent need to bring in a strong gun control legislation. Gun control debate can also reveal that the gun control issue is not only about controlling crimes and maintaining law and order. The issue has an impact on the economy as well in that the US economy suffers a huge loss amounting to 3.7 billion dollars annually, as a result of gun crime.
Apart from listing facts and figures, the gun control debate should also look at the approaches of the pro gun and the anti gun control groups. The fact that the NRA (National Rifles Association) does not function like a political organization but like a lobbyist body should be revealed by the gun control debate.
Gun control facts are constantly being updated by events unfolding every day. People who read gun control articles frequently will find that these articles are replete with gun death statistics. What is the message conveyed by gun control facts? Do they support the case for a stronger gun control or strengthen the arguments of the anti gun control people? We will look into a few gun crime statistics to find an answer to this question.
Research on gun crime shows that every year about 30,000 deaths are caused by guns in the United States. We may wonder whether this figure is large or not but when we express the number of gun deaths as a ratio of the population figure of our country and compare this ratio with the figures for other countries, we will find that the US ranks worse than several other countries, for example South Africa. This is the picture presented by gun control facts.
Gun control facts also show that there is a direct correlation between the number of guns in a region and the extent of gun crime in that region. Countries that have a smaller number of guns owned by people witness a smaller number of murders. Thus the data extracted from gun control facts clearly point out the need for restricting gun ownership.
But this course of action clearly indicated by gun control facts is not to the liking of some groups that have been opposing gun control reforms. Principal among these groups is the National Rifles Association (NRA). The NRA has been using the 2nd amendment as its weapon to oppose gun control. But it is ignoring the fact that nearly 99 percent of the 2nd amendment was based on the inputs provided by people with no legal background. Some legislators supporting the stand of the NRA also seem to be turning a blind eye to gun control facts. Some of these legislators are even working towards preventing more gun control facts from coming out. They do this by writing some rules that will have the effect of preventing independent bodies like the CDC and the National Institute of Health from even studying gun violence.
When did the gun control debate begin? It may be difficult to answer this question. But we have been witnessing that the gun control debate has been going on for too long with absolutely nothing happening on the gun control debate. When gun control pros and cons have been brought out so extensively by the gun control debate, the question arises whether there are new issues to be discussed in these debates.
I think the issues that have to be discussed in any gun control debate are provided by gun death statistics. We have gun crime statistics that show the havoc being caused by uncontrolled gun ownership and gun control facts that show the positive results seen by countries that have implemented strong gun control facts. Let us review some of the issues that can be covered in a gun control debate.
1) One startling information that will have the effect of unsettling people watching the gun control debate is the ratio of guns available in the United States to the population of our country. There is approximately one gun for every American citizen including children. If you are interested in accurate figures, there are 89 guns for a population of 100 people, which works out to about 0.9 gun per each American!
2)A study of homicide crimes reveals that in about 60 percent of these crimes, guns have been used as the murder weapon. People participating in a gun control debate should judge whether gun should be a protective weapon or a destructive weapon.
3)A third fact that should be invariably revealed in any gun control debate is that women and children are likely to be victims of gun death if the houses they live in have guns. This is another data damaging to the claims of the gun control opponents.
4) What are the results of gun control measures in other countries? Australia which has brought in stronger gun laws has witnessed a steep fall in gun violence, by about 60 percent.
There are certain lobbies who do not pay heed to this kind of information revealed in a gun control debate and keep persisting with their anti gun control stand. The NRA (National Rifles Association), though considered to be a gun club, functions like a lobby and is not perturbed by the facts brought out by the gun control debate.
There are many gun control articles that talk about the second amendment. One recent gun control essay completely ignored gun death and gun death statistics and focused instead on the idea that more guns in the hands of the public reduces crime. That’s absurd; there isn’t any evidence that more guns reduces crime in the America. However, the reverse is true. In 1996 strict gun control laws were instituted in Australia which reduced gun violence by 60 percent ! FACT!
Many on line gun control articles ignore the economic damages caused by gun deaths which are estimated at$3.7 billion a year. That is $3.7 BILLION! One is more likely to read about an “assault” on the constitution than the fact that there are about 30,000 deaths every year from guns in America! Pro gun lobbyists who don’t care who gets killed ignore the fact that children and women are much more likely to die if there’s a gun in their house. These are gun death FACTS!
How can there be any rational discussion of gun control pros and cons when gun death facts are ignored? Sometimes a person might believe that the gun control debate is only about gun owners loosing the privilege of buying assault rifles while ignoring important facts such as there are presently about 89 guns for every 100 people in the USA! Gun owners need to stop crying about themselves and think of the greater good.
Why aren’t there more gun control essays about the harm of guns? It’s because of the NRA. The NRA gets most of its funding from weapons manufacturers. it spends millions in every election trying to defeat gun safety candidates. It raises the question: is the NRA a sports organization, a political organization or lobbyist for the gun industry?
Clearly the answer is political organization and lobbyist. Why else would pro NRA legislators pass write rules that block the National Institute of Health and CDC from even studying gun violence?! In a national debate on public health and safety the NRA has no place at the table. It’s interests are those of weapons makers not citizens.
Gun control is a matter of public safety not gun sales.
The picture presented by gun control facts may seem incredible. It may be difficult for people to realize that the gun crime scene as shown by gun crime statistics is so grave. There may even be a tendency to dismiss gun control facts as being exaggerated and unreal. But these statistics are collected by people who have high credibility associated with them. Gun death statistics are results of studies made by various agencies, both government and non government. Even the United Nations Organization has involved itself in compiling gun control facts.
Some gun control facts may not give you much information if you look at them in isolation. For example, what can you infer from the fact that every year 30,000 people in our country are killed by guns? Not much. You cannot even judge whether this figure is high or normal. Gut if you look at this data along with a couple of other gun control facts, you will be able to see a clear picture. Take another fact that there are 89 guns for every 100 people in our country. This fact is bound to disturb you since it shows that gun ownership is abnormally high in our country. Looking at these two data along with one other gun death information that if there is a gun in a house,the chances of women and children living in that house falling prey to gun violence are high will make the picture complete.
The obvious conclusion presented by the above gun control facts that more guns will lead to higher incidence of gun deaths does not dawn on some people. The National Rifles Association (NRA) has been in the forefront of the anti gun control movement. Its activities will make you doubt whether the NRA is an association of sportsmen as it claims. It looks more like a highly paid lobby of gun owners, not willing to join the gun control debate since they have nothing to counter the gun control facts.
There cannot be two opinions about the suggestion that gun control pros and cons should be considered by our legislators before they make up their minds about the need for a stronger gun control regime. But the question is whether they are doing this. Studying gun control pros and cons will be possible only if we have gun control facts updated. But some legislators have been doing everything they can, to stop independent bodies like the CDC from even making a study of gun violence. The legislators who do this seem to owe their allegiance to the National Rifles Association (NRA) which is known to be in the forefront of the anti gun control campaign.
If people are willing to look at the gun control pros and cons, keeping their minds free of prejudices, they will come across some shocking figures revealed by gun crime statistics. One study reveals that in a large number of homicides, guns are used to commit murders. The share of gun death in homicide killings is 60 percent. Anyone weighing gun control pros and cons will interpret this fact to be a definite indicator of the havoc unrestricted gun ownership can cause. People who take the side of the anti gun control campaign in a gun control debate should ponder over this fact.
Apart from gun death statistics, other issues to be covered under gun control pros and cons is the evidence presented in support of either side. While the pro gun ownership groups make out a case for unrestrained gun ownership on the plea that equipping people with guns will save them from becoming victims of crimes, there is no evidence to support this. This kind of assertions are assumptions with no basis. Another argument presented by this group invokes the principle of democracy to claim the right of gun ownership. They fail to understand that restrictions on gun control have the aim of arresting the tyranny caused by misuse of guns and that gun control is needed even to protect democracy.
On the other hand, people who support strong gun control measures are able to give concrete evidence to bolster their position. For example, Australia has demonstrated that crime can be reduced by making gun control laws stronger. This is a fact that should be included in listing gun control pros and cons.
I think that there is a need for one more gun control article. When there are hundreds of gun control articles doing the rounds in the print media as well as in the web world,what is the need for one more gun control article? I have a good reason for asking for this. The need for another gun control essay is that I want to enhance the quality of the ongoing gun control debate.
I know that gun control pros and cons are not being discussed in the gun control debates. But I find that there are two shortcomings in the campaign being carried on through gun control articles. One is that gun control facts are not being properly presented and the other is that some of the arguments put in by the anti gun control people are not being effectively countered.
How could the new gun control article overcome these two shortcomings? I have a few suggestions. Let me start with the gun death statistics. When statistics are presented on a serious issue like gun death, it is not enough to just quote some figures. The statistical data has to be analyzed and the summary of the analysis should be presented in a simple way. People may not be inclined to read the figures they see in the newspapers. But people will be interested in reading the analysis reports that appear in gun control articles. For example, instead of giving the death toll caused by gun violence, the article can report that a larger number of children are killed in gun violence in regions that house a larger number of guns. This kind of an analysis will help the readers to understand the correlation between gun ownership and gun crime. Another kind of analysis can point out that the US has the highest ratio of guns to population in the world, with 89 guns for 100 people.
The second task to be taken up by gun control articles is to deal with specious arguments advanced by the gun lobby. For example, the National Association of Rifles (NRA) which, whatever its name may suggest, is but a lobby, has been harping on the right of gun ownership sanctioned by the 2nd amendment. The gun control article should put the issue in perspective by revealing the information that 99 percent of the 2nd amendment was prepared by people who had no legal education.
I would like to share the contents of a gun control essay I have read recently. This well written essay had two types of contents. One was gun crime statistics showing how gun ownership had been contributing to an increase in gun related crimes. The other type of content dealt with gun control facts organized in a simple and intelligible way.
What I liked about this gun control essay was that unlike some other gun control articles which had treated the issue in a partisan way, this essay dealt with the gun control pros and cons. That was what made this gun control essay not only balanced but also interesting. By presenting both sides of the issue, this essay had assumed the form of a lively gun control debate.
This gun control essay quoted various figures from gun death statistics. I will confine myself to only two sets of statistics. One was about the number of gun deaths expressed as a percentage of the population, for various countries. What made me sad was that the figures for the United States, one of the greatest nations of the world were worse than the corresponding figures for South Africa. Another set of gun control facts listed had to do with Economy You may wonder about the connection between gun control and the Economy. Surprisingly, there is a connection. The economic loss suffered by the US every year on account of gun crime is estimated to be a staggering figure of 3.7 million dollars.
The second category of content on gun control facts presented by this interesting gun control essay consisted of two conclusions arrived at by studying the situations in different countries. One was that countries that had strong laws for controlling guns had smaller number of crimes. The other was that gun control measures not only prevented murders but also succeeded in reducing the number of suicide deaths.
This gun control essay also dealt with the arguments made out by the anti gun control lobbies. By way of countering the oft repeated argument that the US citizens were granted the right to own guns by this law, this gun control essay brought to light the fact that this amendment for its most part was the work of people with no education or training in law.