Too many guns

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Editorial -

Some morn­ings, it’s es­pe­cially good to wake up in a coun­try where cit­i­zens don’t have a con­sti­tu­tional right to bear arms. That may sound flip­pant, given the num­ber of peo­ple killed and wounded by a lone gun­man in Las Ve­gas Oct. 1, but it’s also sadly true.

Oct. 1 saw at least 58 peo­ple killed, and over 500 taken to hospi­tal, all be­cause of a sin­gle shooter us­ing au­to­matic weapons to tar­get a con­cert.

The shooter killed him­self as po­lice broke into his ho­tel room, which was ap­par­ently filled with weapons.

Weapons in Ne­vada are far from an un­com­mon thing; web­site Ne­vada Carry hails it­self as “Ne­vada’s best re­source for gun laws and gun­rights news,” and lists a se­ries of Ne­vada gun law ba­sics.

“Con­cealed weapons per­mits are-shall is­sue and open carry is le­gal with­out a per­mit. Ne­vada does not ban ‘as­sault weapons’ and there is no mag­a­zine ca­pac­ity limit. There are no pur­chase per­mits, gun reg­is­tra­tion, or gun-owner li­cens­ing. … There is no wait­ing pe­riod man­dated for firearm pur­chases and pri­vate gun sales are okay. Lo­cal gun laws are pro­hib­ited.”

Even fully au­to­matic weapons are al­lowed, if reg­is­tered. Large ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines are not pro­hib­ited.

It’s a very dif­fer­ent world.

Af­ter the shoot­ing, the Ne­vada Carry site had this mes­sage: “This is not the time to talk about gun con­trol. This was the ter­ror­ist at­tack we have long feared com­ing to Las Ve­gas. … Ban­ning this or that gun would not have pre­vented this.”

You can be for­given if it all sounds like the same ar­gu­ments over and over again, ar­gu­ments that keep weapons in the hands of peo­ple will­ing to un­der­take vi­o­lent ac­tions.

Can things change?

Per­haps. But when they didn’t change af­ter 27 peo­ple, mostly chil­dren, were killed by a gun­man at Sandy Hook in 2012, or when 50 peo­ple died in an Or­lando night­club in 2016, or when 32 died in the 2007 Vir­ginia Tech mass shoot­ings, you have to won­der just what it would take.

The Gun Vi­o­lence Ar­chive, keep­ing track of gun vi­o­lence sta­tis­tics since 2013, has counted 11,652 gun deaths this year, and 23,512 in­juries. It lists 273 mass shoot­ings — just for 2017. As Newsweek pointed out, that’s more mass shoot­ings in the United States than there have been days so far this year.

The Mass Shoot­ing Tracker lists even more — 338 in­ci­dents where four or more peo­ple are shot.

Some make the na­tional news in the United States for a day or a week. Some are news only in lo­cal pa­pers. On the same day as the Las Ve­gas shoot­ing, three peo­ple were killed and two in­jured in a mass shoot­ing in Lawrence, Kansas.

A pop­u­lar ar­gu­ment is that guns don’t kill peo­ple, peo­ple do.

But more to the point, peo­ple with guns kill peo­ple.

Peo­ple with more and larger guns kill more peo­ple. Peo­ple with au­to­matic weapons kill even more peo­ple.

We’re lucky here that so few peo­ple have those deadly tools.

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