As a modern society, we cannot just throw up our hands over mass killings at the hands of angry, disenfranchised and crazy people with simple and easy access, often convenient access, to assault weapons and ammunition. We cannot give reasons as to why it is unsolvable. We cannot try to assuage our guilt by thinking the numbers are not that large or important in the whole big scheme of things. That’s just a bunch of malarkey.
If one of your children, or grandchildren or other loved ones, is murdered, which can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime … all of a sudden, the numbers become very large and very important.
It’s been a part of my life’s mission to inspire and educate kids to live a healthier lifestyle, and of course, that’s hard to do when they’ve been shot. But, this is America. We put a man on the moon. We can solve this problem. We just have to be honest with ourselves, work together, compromise and do it.
Let’s look at some statistics. In 2019, gun violence deaths are projected to be close to 40,000. I read an argument that this is only .00925% of all American deaths, so it is “statistically insignificant.”
It’s typical that when one wants to make a point, they can use the truth and then twist it to fit the point they are trying to get across. There are so many claims to unpack, falsehoods and half-truths, but I’ve outlined below some of the more egregious examples on how I think our gun violence statistics are being twisted.
First and foremost, saying the percentage of gun deaths a year is statistically insignificant is an incorrect use of that term. Statistically insignificant means you are doing a poll or something based on a subset or segment of the population, or testing a correlation of two things. Because it’s not testing the entire population, you can say something like: We tested this group and we tested that group and because the difference was only .00925%, we cannot make a conclusion that one is better than the other. The difference is statistically insignificant. In our case, the number of gun deaths was not from a poll or an experimental test; it was an actual number. What if one of your children or grandchildren were in that population of people who were shot and killed? Would you then think it was insignificant? Every death is significant. Is it worth trying to enact laws that would almost certainly reduce the deaths?
We don’t need assault weapons on our streets, period. No one needs them. Do a buyback. Ban ammunition for them. Will criminals still keep them? Yes, but eventually they’ll start to run out of ammunition. It will most certainly decrease mass shootings over time.
Regarding suicides: The use of firearms in suicides is the most common method. Therefore, gun control (like a Red Flag law) would most likely decrease suicides.
It’s beyond stupid to use city-by-city numbers to make an argument against gun control. For any gun control to be effective it has to be nationwide. Bad people in Chicago can just drive a few hours to Indiana and get all the guns and ammunition they want. I’ve used this argument a hundred times with gun enthusiasts and they just keep trotting out this same stupid argument. Further, if you really want to look at what cities have the highest murder rates, you should look at it per capita. As a matter of fact, Chicago, with its strict gun control laws, is far from the “murder capital” of the country. Pew Research published a report in November, 2018, which showed that St. Louis, Missouri has the highest per capita murder rate.
Keep in mind also that we don’t know what the murder rates would be in Chicago if we didn’t have strict gun control laws.
Of course, you are going to have a lot more deaths in giant urban areas and states with the largest cities. It’s one of the disadvantages of living in a city. The percentage of bad people and crazy people is just so much higher in big cities, because there are so many more people. Duh. See my above argument for per capita calculations. And I feel, like many other urban dwellers, that the pros outweigh the cons.
It’s absurd to say that because people die in other ways, (hospitals) somehow we shouldn’t try to save the lives of our citizens and children that die from gun violence. Are those things mutually exclusive? How about we work on reducing hospital deaths as well as deaths from gun violence? Actually, in my business, Bloomers Island, I am working on getting kids to eat healthier, and eat more vegetables by growing their own food. That doesn’t mean we can’t try to prevent deaths of our children by firearms. Yes, eating too many cheeseburgers can lead to heart disease and death, but at least by eating a cheeseburger we aren’t hurting anyone but ourselves. People aren’t killing other people with cheeseburgers.
I understand why people have guns, because I’ve asked them. I’ve talked to gun collectors and people who feel unsafe in their mansions (even when they’re in a gated community). People hunt. It’s fun to shoot a gun. I get that, I had a hunting license when I was young. I had to go through a gun safety course, learn how to shoot and clean it. Get a certificate and get a license.
How about we start on a few things — Universal Background Checks and Red Flag Laws? What if that saves 50% of the people that die from gun violence? Wouldn’t that be worth it? People say — just enforce the laws we have. Well, of course, we should enforce the laws we have. But there is no law against private citizens selling each other guns. And if you’re selling your cousin a gun, probably okay. But if you’re at a gun show, and a stranger comes by your booth, and wants to buy one of your AR-15s and you don’t know this person — who is to say? He could be mentally ill. Or he could be buying it for a friend who has nefarious intentions. He could be beating his wife every night and she finally left him. Who the heck knows? Why can’t we force these sellers to plug into a national database on bad people? We force registered gun dealers to do it.
I say, let’s regulate guns the way we regulate cars. Think about what you have to do to drive a car. Get your learner’s permit. Train for a few months. Take a test — written and driving. Get a license. Then you can drive a car. But first!!! You have to get insurance. You have to wear a seat belt and you can’t drink or take drugs and drive. Not even a little bit. You risk a ticket if you speed. You have to follow the laws. You have to get your car inspected every so often. You have to renew your driver’s license occasionally — re-take the test sometimes. If you get old and you can’t see well anymore, or if you, sadly, develop Alzheimer’s, you lose your license.
How about if we implement those kinds of restrictions? The second amendment is still intact. You can still own, collect, hunt with, shoot guns. You just have to jump through some (reasonable) hoops to do it.
I’m pretty sure anyone could come up with rebuttals to my statistics and logic, however, we are trying to reduce deaths. Remember that. These are not ironclad rules that would eliminate murders or suicides or gun violence or mass shootings. These ideas are to reduce deaths from these occurrences.
I have some statistics for you. Isn’t gun control worth even 10,000 lives? What if your loved one was one of those 10,000 lives?