Cars don’t kill people…..Drivers kill people. Makes sense. So much sense that in the 1960’s when America was experiencing an epidemic of deaths from car accidents, especially among younger men, the government realised that it couldn’t ban people from driving, nor could they ban the sale of cars; so they decided to invest significant resources in trying to make cars safer.
7 The result. The average number of motor vehicle deaths in the 1960’s hovered around 25 per 100,000. In the last 10 years that number has more than halved to around 10 per 100,000. That effort, led by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and funded by the government, is estimated to have saved over 600,000 lives.
Yet in the last 20 years, under both Democratic & Republican majority Administrations, there have been over 500,000 gunshot deaths. In the same period, federally funded research into improving gun safety has declined by about 90%. Despite the fact that roughly the same number of people die each year from gun shots as they do in car accidents, it will surprise no-one that the NRA has lobbied hard against any efforts to look at ways to make guns safer, and it is the NRA’s financial lobbying muscle that is literally weaponizing gun control as a divisive and destructive (literally) political issue.
This is madness, and surely immoral. Improving gun safety is not the same as banning guns.
No reasonable human being would argue against setting age limits on who can buy and use guns, just as there are age limits on who can drive a car. Yet in some States, there is no age limit on who can buy a ‘long gun’ – that would include a semi-automatic rifle!
Nobody argues that insisting people who want to drive a car take tests and submit to physical and mental examinations is unreasonable, let alone unconstitutional. Yet the gun lobby insist such tests for those who wish to own a gun are a violation of American citizens’ rights.
No reasonable human being would argue that making seat belts mandatory, setting speed limits, regulating for higher safety standards in design and manufacturing like appropriate lighting, impact reduction, emission standards etc. is a sensible direction of travel. So what is wrong with regulations around how many bullets a magazine can hold (it will be more than a single round musket ball)? Or a minimum delay between each round fired? Or the velocity at which a bullet can travel?
Yet those who wish to weaponize the Second Amendment wont even countenance any research into ways we could make gun ownership safer. The perpetrators of this weaponization are not just the NRA or the partisanship of the political elite. They include the mainstream media as well. Depending on their target market, the media paint the issue of gun control as a partisan issue.
It isn’t, or at least it shouldn’t be. Even 55% of Republicans are in favor of some form of gun control measures or have no opinion; and 70% support banning assault style weapons. Indeed, anyone who believes in the principle of democracy cannot in good faith ignore the fact that 7 out of every 10 Americans support greater gun control legislation.
My bet is that if you changed the phrase from “gun control” to “gun safety”, support would inch closer to 100%.
Sadly, the real weapons here are not in the hands not of deranged shooters, angry spouses, suicidal depressives, criminals or unattended children. They are in the hands of political zealots and corporate interests.
We need to change the conversation from one of ‘Control’, to one of ‘Safety’. The political and economic class wont like it; but, as in many matters, it is time for common sense to takeover and sanity to prevail.