Should there be more restrictions on gun ownership?
Guns, it turns out, actually do kill people. Despite the protestations of the National Rifle Association and gun-huggers in this firearms-loving nation, study after study has shown what should be obvious: The more guns that are present, the greater the likelihood of someone being shot.
One study published in April in the journal Injury Prevention, for example, found that for every 1 percent increase in gun ownership, there was a 1.1 percent increase in the firearm homicide rate.
Americans kill themselves and others around them with guns at rates well beyond those of any other industrialized nation.
There are reports daily— yes, daily— of toddlers shooting siblings, of spouses shooting each other, of friends accidentally shooting friends, of road-rage incidents and workplace gunfire, of “responsible gun owners” misplacing, misfiring and mistakenly shooting others ... and the carnage continues unabated.
We now identify the high-profile mass shootings simply by their location: Newtown. San Bernadino. Roseburg. Charleston. Colorado Springs. Those are just from this year— 353 of them in all, according to the website Shooting Tracker.
You probably don’t remember Scott Westerhuis, who shot and killed his wife and four children before setting his Platte, S.D., home on fire and shooting himself in September. In this firearms-loving country, 63 percent of people subscribe to the mythology that guns make them safer, double from 2000, according to a Gallup Poll.
In Colorado, firearms sales continue at furious rates. On Black Friday— the day that a shooter killed three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs— gun sales nearly matched the record for a single day set the year before.
Since 2011, about 1.6 million background checks have been done on potential gun owners in Colorado, a state with 5.4million people.
Here’s the irony: Even with all of the discussion of gun safety and gun rights, violent crime actually is decreasing, and the increasing arming of the nation is fueled mainly by irrational fear intentionally stoked by gun organizations and gun-rights politicians.
The thing is, those in favor of “reasonable” gun control continue, day after day, to lose the battle against the vocal minority of gunrights absolutists, who refuse to play by the rules of intellectual honesty.
More laws won’t keep the bad guys from getting guns, they say, even though 1 percent of potential gun purchasers are rejected in Colorado due to background checks— nearly 3,000 possible bad guys this year alone.
The number of times that a “good guy with a gun” actually stops a “bad guy with a gun” is vastly outnumbered by the times a typically untrained good guy with a gun accidentally shoots an innocent bystander, or has the gun turned on himself, or simply is unwilling or unable to engage in a shootout.
I would propose a simple change to the Second Amendment: Clarify that the oft-ignored phrase “well-regulated militia” means that you have to receive training in the military, National Guard, law enforcement or elsewhere to qualify for firearm ownership.
Additionally, gun owners should be required to meet the same standards that we require for vehicle owners, including registration, passing a licensing exam and mandatory liability insurance for each weapon. It wouldn’t end gun violence in this nation, but it would go a long way toward that goal.
Guns line the walls of the firearms reference collection at theWashingtonMetropolitan Police Department headquarters inWashington, D.C. Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press file