The tragedy that struck Newtown, CT over a month ago touched many of us more than most gun deaths in the United States. Seeing 20 first graders die at the hands of a monster is something many find absolutely horrifying.
And yet gun violence is not foreign to this country. The United States has the most gun-related deaths of any industrialized nation. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Violence, the United States had over 10,000 gun related homicides in 2009. That makes a ratio of 10 people dying from guns for every 10,000 Americans in the U.S.
Now some may think that is not very high but the next developed nation had about 4.5 people for every 10,000. Canada had 2.5 and the U.K. had .25. Mexico, a country in the midst of a drug war, had 2,000 less gun-related homicides in 2009 than the U.S.
I don’t believe violence in the media has any more effect on us than it does in other industrialized nations. The fact of the matter is that we shouldn’t be letting people in this country have weapons of war. It’s absolutely ridiculous that anybody can go to a gun show and get a Bushmaster (the gun used at Newtown), or carry an extended magazine without a background check, because at gun shows you don’t need to check out someone to see if they might be a former felon or mentally unstable. If you have the money, you have yourself the same weapon you might find in our armed forces.
Speaking of which, do you know how difficult it is as a member of the armed services to use a weapon? When my brother, a first Lt. in the Marine Corps, visited this past break, he explained the process to me. You need to check out your weapon, have your ID checked, followed by an explanation of why you need your gun, how many bullets you need, where you are using it and only after all of that will you get it for a period of time and need to return it. My brother, someone who is paid to protect us, has a harder time getting a hold of his weapon than someone who may want to cause harm and decides to buy a weapon at a gun show.
So you can imagine how it felt seeing President Obama taking a stand to combat violence; particularly gun violence, in this nation. His plan is comprehensive and a bold step toward curbing the potential for another tragedy. We are foolish if we think we can fully prevent gun-related homicides, but, in the words of President Obama, “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.”
Anybody who actually reads his proposal will see it goes about trying to tackle the problem from all angles. From reinstating an assault weapons ban, to providing funding to help with mental health, to banning high capacity clips, to universal background checks, President Obama is willing to stand up and say enough is enough.
Yet for some people like Senator Paul it screams of tyranny. I have wanted to say to the NRA and people who think making any sort of law that may slightly infringe upon the right to own any sort of weapon whenever you want and carry it wherever: go f!@# yourself. Had we had stronger laws, maybe a few more parents would have their kids.
A few more families’ lives wouldn’t be destroyed. No one needs such a weapon and to argue otherwise is ridiculous. We may never know why every other industrialized nation has less gun violence but they all have stronger gun laws than us. And I get the feeling there is a correlation there.
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