The U.S. has experienced 8 gun massacres in the last two weeks. Things appear to be slowly returning to “normal” in more ways than one as mass vaccinations are beginning to bring the pandemic under control. Unfortunately, the U.S. is the only first world industrial country that is plagued by an epidemic of constant gun massacres. Let’s take a look at the numbers and see how the U.S. compares to other 1st world countries when it comes to mass killings.
Mass shootings, 2019:
UK: Pop. 65 million
US: Pop. 330 million (5x)
UK: Gun homicides (2017): 31
US: Gun homicides (2017): 14,542 (469x)
From the NY Times: “Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns. From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American, according to a 2015 study by Adam Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama.”
Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times: “The U.S. has more than 300 million guns — roughly one for every citizen — and stands out as well for its gun death rates. At the other extreme, Japan has less than one gun per 100 people, and typically fewer than 10 gun deaths a year in the entire country.”
It is obvious that the U.S. is truly exceptional when it comes to gun ownership and mass gun slaughters. The reason why we are so different than other countries is because the U.S. has the worst gun laws in the first world. If more guns made us safer, the U.S. would be the safest country in the world. The reality is that the gun lobby a/k/a the NRA has dominated U.S. gun policy for the last 40 years. The continuing mass murder of innocent people represents the abject failure of the NRA’s policies.
The response of the D.C. Republicans and the NRA to the continuing slaughter of the innocents boils down to two arguments. First, the U.S. needs even MORE guns — we simply don’t have enough guns. The NRA wants to arm teachers and wants more “good guys with guns.” We’ve already tried that approach for forty years and its gotten a lot of people killed.
The second argument is that we’re helpless in the face of this gun violence and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. The D.C. Republicans believe that we’re just simply helpless. That argument is rebutted by the fact that every other 1st world country has largely eliminated gun massacres.
Apparently, Deb Fischer, Ben Sasse, Don Bacon, Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith all believe this is the best we can do. They shouldn’t sell the U.S. short and should have more faith in their country. I thought they were of the belief that the U.S. is an exceptional country.
We aren’t helpless and we can do better. As a matter of fact, gun law reforms that have been adopted in the U.S. have succeeded.
Perhaps the most notable success was the assault weapons ban that was in place between 1994–2004. This law was sponsored by then Senator Joe Biden and was allowed to expire by operation of law by George W. Bush and the D.C. Republicans in 2004.
According to Louis Klarevas of the University of Massachusetts at Boston: “Compared with the 10-year period before the ban, the number of gun massacres during the ban period fell by 37 percent, and the number of people dying from gun massacres fell by 43 percent. But after the ban lapsed in 2004, the numbers shot up again — an astonishing 183 percent increase in massacres and a 239 percent increase in massacre deaths.”
Similarly, state level gun safety laws have reduced the incidence of gun deaths. According to two studies by Boston University: “Analysis revealed that universal background checks, permit requirements, “may issue” laws (where local authorities have discretion in approving who can carry a concealed weapon), and laws banning people convicted of violent misdemeanors from possessing firearms are, individually and collectively, significantly able to reduce gun-related deaths.”
Nebraska’s Congressional delegation supports the gun lobby’s failed policies and has been an obstacle to reducing gun violence and deaths. Don Bacon, Jeff Fortenberry, and Adrian Smith have all voted against a better background check system. All three Nebraska House members have voted to allow the mentally ill to obtain guns. Fortenberry even voted against funding research on the causes of gun violence.
Both Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse have supported McConnell’s past obstruction of gun safety legislation in the Senate. In 2013, Fischer voted against background check legislation shortly after the mass murder of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, Connecticut. In the near future, I expect Fischer and Sasse to block an up or down vote on the background check bill recently passed in the House.
Does anybody think the GOP is fit to govern in these difficult times? Does anybody think the GOP could organize a two car funeral? Are you f*cking kidding me?
The Republicans are the party of the rich, sabotage, mass unemployment, mass illness, mass death and violence. The Republicans will always be the party of Donald Trump. We must never let the voters forget that. History matters. Now let’s get it done!