Friday , October 06, 2017 - 5:00 AM
When the smoke clears in Las Vegas, after the shooting deaths of 59 people, can we find a reasonable approach to reducing gun violence in America? It isn’t just the 59 lives lost and the hundreds injured in Las Vegas; it is the reality that more than 33,000 people are killed in America from gun violence every year.
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” This bumper sticker rhetoric has been the mantra of the National Rifle Association crowd for decades. Simply stating “Grenades don’t kill people, people kill people” exposes this simple-minded logic.
It is clear that the statement in the Second Amendment, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” has been restricted. In America, the right of the people to keep and bear a grenade, a bazooka or a nuclear weapon has been infringed and is against the law.
The Supreme Court has blocked the ability of the people to own “arms” like grenades, bazookas, nuclear weapons and so forth. I want to ask you, where would you draw the line? Do you think citizens have a practical need to own assault rifles, semiautomatic magazines capable of holding 20, 50, or 100 bullets? I simply want to ask the NRA to clearly state where it draws the line.
I don’t think assault rifles capable of holding more than 10 bullets are necessary or practical. If you can’t hit your target with 10 rounds, maybe you should take up track and learn to run faster.
If a car manufacturer like Ford or a drug company like Johnson & Johnson produced a dangerous car or drug that injured and killed people, legal action would quickly follow. We clearly recognize the liability created when bad drugs are produced or unsafe automobiles are manufactured. When over 33,000 Americans are killed with firearms each year, does the NRA have any liability or even a sense of remorse?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest annual data points out that 33,594 people in America were killed with firearms in 2014. Put the current emotion created by the recent shooting in Las Vegas aside for a moment and focus on the reality that over 33,000 Americans are killed each year in the United States with firearms. Think for a moment that in the full eight years of the Iraq War, 4,484 U.S. military personnel were killed. Clearly recognize that six times more people are killed with firearms each year in America than the number of soldiers killed during the entire eight years we were at war in Iraq.
Creating fear of unknown criminals is the NRA’s bread and butter. The NRA encourages citizens to be armed for their protection when in reality most firearm deaths are accidents, suicides, and murders that occur between family members and friends. Stranger-to-stranger murders are few and far between, yet the NRA encourages people to be armed for self-protection. Does the NRA have any liability for giving bad advice? If your doctor advised you to take up smoking to cure a chronic cough and you died from lung cancer, would your family take legal action?
More than 33,000 Americans will pay the ultimate price this year for our commitment to the Second Amendment, while the NRA forces Congress to maintain an ostrich mentality and stick their collective heads in the sand. The NRA has President Trump’s support.
Mass shootings are just a nuisance to the NRA. Our cowering Congress will continue to do nothing while another 33,000 people lose their lives to gun violence this coming year.
Robert Wadman is an emeritus professor of criminal justice at Weber State University. Previously, he served as police chief in Orem, as well as Omaha, Nebraska, and Wilmington, North Carolina. He lives in Eden.
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