Here are the facts: there are Americans who apparently love their guns more than they love their fellow citizens. How can we say that with any certainty? In one year, guns were used to murder, 17 in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in the UK, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9,484 in the U.S.
If you include the accidental deaths and suicides, the number of American deaths in 2008alone was more than 30,000. More, so more in the United States are killed by firearms than ALL of the other developed countries … combined. Anyone with a soul and a brain can do the math, and it is high time that Americans start asserting their right to life more strongly than others assert their right to unlimited quantities of guns and ammunition.
The blogs and PolicyMic pages are littered with many specious arguments about why gun control "won't work." To summarize and refute these claims:
1. "Guns don't kill people. People kill people."
This, of course, ignores the fact that the gun is held in a human hand and that the gun is operated by a human finger. Guns magnify the lethality of a situation and make a moment of anger result not in a black eye or a missing tooth but in a corpse (or multiple corpses) headed to a morgue.
2. "People will just use (insert a lethal implement like a knife or baseball bat here) to kill."
The careful control of guns and ammunition will not of course eliminate murder but will simply greatly reduce the ability of someone to kill quickly, to kill many and to kill at a distance. These are important characteristics of why guns are used so frequently to kill other humans, and there reduction and elimination will have a similar reduction in fatalities. The vast majority of murders are committed with guns, so reducing the number of guns is a good place to start to try to greatly reduce the number of murders.
3. "If you take away guns from lawful owners, the only ones who will have them are the criminals."
Where do most guns in criminal possession start from? The answer is generally lawful buyers, who then either have them stolen or sell them into the black market. Despite the arguments of the anti-control gun critics, there are no secret factories operated by clever criminal geniuses making guns specifically for the criminal market. Illegal guns begin life as legal guns.
4. "If the teachers were required to carry handguns, the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre could have been stopped before it started."
This is perhaps the craziest criticism of the calls for greater gun control, as it puts more lethal firearms into more untrained hands where they can be discharged accidentally, and a classroom is the last place any sane person would want that to happen. Not only does the number of murders by guns trump and overshadow gun deaths in other developed countries, because the vast quantity of firearms now circulating within America is estimated at 310 million (nearly one for every many woman and child in the country), but the number of accidental shooting injuries in the U.S. in 2008 was more than 15,000 with 680 fatalities. Even our accidental deaths dwarf the homicides of most other nations.
The time to make a change is now, while the pain of the Sandy Hook massacre is a stark and raw reminder of the unacceptable situation that we citizens have allowed to develop at the hands of those who put the right to a gun above the right to life.