Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 3 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit 1 Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend (4 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   7 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Guns Now Kill More People Than Cars in 10 States

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 5/31/12

- Advertisement -


Gun violence by http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/gun_7.html

The recent killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in a gated community in Florida has reignited the controversy over gun violence in America.

Whether the shooting was an act of self-defense, as Zimmerman's lawyer claims, or murder plain and simple has been left to a jury to decide. But clearly it never would have happened if the possession of handguns were illegal, or severely restricted, as it is in Europe, where per-capita gun deaths are only one seventh of what they are in the U.S.

Gun fatalities have been on the rise, slowly but steadily every year since 2002, according to a National Institute of Justice survey. In 1975, 60 percent of the homicides in the U.S. were committed using a handgun. By 2005 that number had shot up to nearly 80 percent, with the rise in gang related gun killings even steeper.

This trend gives the lie to the NRA claim that easy access to guns does not pose a danger to Americans. It does. The more handguns there are out there, the more likely they will be used to commit a violent crime. In 2008, 31,593 Americans were killed by handguns. In addition, over 40,000 were injured in nonlethal gun attacks, leaving some victims crippled for life.

Compare these appalling casualty figures to the slightly over 1,000 U.S. Armed Service personnel and private contractors who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the same period. Clearly we gun-toting Americans are our own worst enemies. The violence that we perpetrate on one another with handguns is more than 30 times as deadly as the attacks of Al Qaeda and the Taliban on U.S. service personnel combined!

Not only that, but in ten states (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington) you are more likely to be killed by a gun than in a car accident, according to an analysis just released by the advocacy group, the Violence Policy Center (VPC).

This is surprising given that 90 percent of U.S. households have cars, whereas fewer than a third own guns, VPC's Legislative Director Kristen Rand points out.

- Advertisement -

"Motor vehicles -- unlike guns -- are essential to the functioning of the entire U.S. economy," Rand says, adding, "It is time to end firearms' status as the last unregulated consumer product."

The reason that cars have been getting safer is precisely because they are regulated. And those regulations are getting stiffer every year.

The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act passed in 1966 authorized the federal government to set standards for car safety, which have resulted in a whole slew of new mandatory life-saving features like head rests, energy-absorbing steering wheels and shatter-resistant windshields. Highways themselves are being designed better with clearer delineation of curves, use of breakaway sign and utility poles, enhanced illumination, more barriers separating oncoming traffic lanes, and more guardrails than in the past. And stricter enforcement of laws against drunk driving and mandating seat belt use have also gone a long way toward making our highways safer.

When it comes to guns, by contrast, it is still the wild west out there. In many states, there is no age or background check (at gun shows) for those who want to purchase a handgun. In some places, you can pack a concealed weapon anywhere you wish, including bars where alcohol is served. And there are few restrictions on the types or numbers of guns that one can buy. Sniper rifles, as well as military style assault and automatic weapons -- some powerful enough to shoot down a helicopter -- are sold openly on the internet.

Steve Barborini, a former supervisor for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told MSNBC that the online sales loophole permits what he called "a weapons bazaar for criminals."

There's no background check, Anybody that has a murder conviction can simply log on, email someone, meet 'em in a parking lot, and buy a freaking AK-47.

A bill introduced in the Senate by New York's Chuck Schumer to stop this illicit internet traffic in guns has been tied up in committee for over a year now, thanks in part to the machinations of the NRA. The powerful gun lobby is also active in virtually every state of the union making sure that effective legislation never sees the light of day. Even law enforcement agencies have their hands tied in many states by legislation which prevents them from taking effective action to monitor and restrict handguns.

- Advertisement -

Florida, for example, where the Trayvon Martin shooting occurred, bans its cities and counties from regulating firearms without the state's permission, prevents police from collecting data on firearm sales at pawnshops and forbids adoption agencies from considering gun ownership when looking at placing children, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says that Florida has some terrible gun laws -- but not the worst in the nation, by their reckoning. That dubious distinction goes jointly to Arizona, Alaska and Utah, where restrictions on gun purchases are virtually nonexistent.

What impact do gun laws have? Gun control opponents claim that limiting the availability of handguns does not make us safer, but more vulnerable to criminal gun violence. Their solution: arm ordinary citizens and the bad guys will be outgunned. But this is a prescription for escalating gun violence. The five states with the highest per-capita gun death rates -- Louisiana, Wyoming, Alabama, Montana and Mississippi -- all have extremely high rates of private handgun ownership, according to the Violence Policy Center. They also have conspicuously weak gun laws. By contrast, the five states with the lowest rates of gun-related deaths -- Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut -- have fewer handguns and the toughest gun control laws in the nation.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Richard Schiffman is the author of two spiritual biographies and is a poet based in New York City, as well as a freelance journalist. His passions are his love of nature, studying the world's great mystical traditions and activist writing and (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Dow and Monsanto Join Forces to Poison America's Heartland

Do the Wealthy Lie, Cheat and Steal More Than the Rest of Us?

Guess What Drugs and Illegal Substances Are Showing Up in Chicken?

America Still Hasn't Learned the Lessons of Fukushima

What the Insurance Industry Already Knows About Climate Change

The Truth About Thanksgiving: What They Never Taught You in School

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
6 people are discussing this page, with 7 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Why are Americans so addicted to guns, any thought... by Richard Schiffman on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:34:52 AM
To start with we do not know if the information th... by Jim Prentice on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 1:19:03 PM
The main problem with this article is it doesn't c... by Gweg FromEmptyland on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 3:58:00 PM
This article is berift of a single fact, placed in... by Matt M on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 11:00:10 PM
According to Dept of Justice stats, violent crime ... by Robert James on Friday, Jun 1, 2012 at 10:00:20 AM
This article does not present the facts - it is ju... by Laurence Almand on Friday, Jun 1, 2012 at 4:49:08 PM
Let's all put signs on our front doors saying "No ... by Robert James on Saturday, Jun 2, 2012 at 11:57:26 AM