(Update: Origionaly published after the Arizona shooting, the Colorado theater shooting makes this even more relevant)
From 1999 through 2007, in Great Britain, 473 individuals were killed by firearms. During that same time period in the United States, 106,125 individuals were killed by firearms. What is the difference? In 1997 it was made illegal for a civilian to own an assault weapon in Great Britain. No one owns guns, except for firearms that fall into the category used for hunting, and so far the government has not taken over. There has been no need for their citizens to rise up against a government trying to oppress them, and the argument that now only the criminals will be the ones with guns, simply has not come true. In 2008, gun related deaths in Britain dropped 18% to 42, from 51 the year before, and no, that’s not 42 per 100 people, or 42 per 100,000 people. That’s 42 people total! In 1997 Britain disarmed. They disarmed because of a massacre that occurred in their country. Their politicians took charge, passed legislation and did whatever had to be done to make sure that no one else would die because of a firearm. Imagine that, they actually did something. What a novel idea! People with guns, killed lots of people without guns, so to stop people getting killed by guns, they got rid of guns! That’s fucking genius! So I suppose that is what will happen here now. Monday morning the House and the Senate will all get together, forget about their party lines, and with a collective outrage at the events that have unfolded in Arizona, will passing sweeping legislation that will make all assault weapons illegal for civilians to own, finally putting an end to the extraordinary bloodshed that we have witnessed at Columbine, Virginia Tech, in countless schools and workplaces across our country, from inner-city gang violence, and most recently outside a supermarket in Arizona during a peaceful gathering of Senator Gabrielle Giffords and her constituents. I’m certain that in the name of the victims that fell that day and the others that were wounded, including the death of a nine year old girl, our politicians will finally ignore the gun lobby and the NRA and pass the necessary laws that will ensure that violence of this magnitude will never happen again. And then monkeys will fly out of my ass! Seriously, because that is about as likely as our politicians doing something about this.
Just once I would like to see our politicians forget about getting re-elected, forget about the millions given to them by the gun lobby, and instead do whatever has to be done to save lives. There is no reason for anyone in this country to own an assault weapon of any kind. It’s pure and simple. Make all guns illegal except for ones used for hunting, disarm all civilians, including the criminals and no one will need a gun to protect themselves because there will be no guns for a person to be protected from. This is not rocket science people! It is illegal for a civilian to own a grenade launcher. I don’t need to own my own grenade launcher to protect myself from crazy people with grenade launchers. No one has grenade launchers so that threat does not exist. The fact is gun control laws as they exist today do not work. The criteria required to declare a person insane is too strict. The fact that the laws are different from state to state make it that much easier for any person no matter what their background to obtain an assault weapon. The fact that gun shows do not require a seller to perform any kind of background check, and any person, no matter their criminal record or how insane they may be, can walk into these gun shows and walk out with enough fire power to arm a small country, is simply beyond insanity. The fact that you can buy bullets for these weapons at the same place you can get toys for your kids or your tires rotated is beyond my comprehension. I have a hard time understanding how the executives at Walmart can sleep at night knowing that the bullets used to kill and wound these innocent people in Arizona, were purchased at one of their stores. After the tragedy at Columbine, Kmart, where the bullets used in that massacre came from, had enough sense to discontinue the sales of ammunition from all of their stores. I only hope that the officials at Walmart follow their lead. The fact is that during the shooting that happened in Arizona the individuals who stopped the man with the gun were all people who were unarmed, and the one person who had a gun for his own “protection” almost shot an innocent bystander, had he not been stopped from doing so.
Tonight on Nightline they interviewed five children who had all left letters as part of the makeshift memorial for those that were killed and wounded outside the supermarket with Senator Giffords. This nine year old boy read his letter. He hoped that Gabrielle Giffords would get well soon because, as he put it, “what will we do without her”. Then the reporter asked him if he has been thinking about this since it happened, and the boy asked, in a way that only a little nine year old boy could, “What is the government going to do, what are they going to do?” This time it can’t be nothing. This time it has to be something, because somewhere in Arizona there is a little boy who is scared that a man with a gun, using bullets that came from the same store where his mom and dad buy his toys, is going to shoot him, and all he wants to know is “what is the government going to do? Well…what?
On this, you can do something. Call your Senator and your Representatives and leave them a message stating that in the wake of the tragedy that happened in Arizona you would like them to support stricter gun control laws. Believe it or not, they do listen. To find the direct phone numbers for your representatives in Congress go to http://www.contactingthecongress.org/.