Yesterday we discussed why the extreme right needs to pipe down the venomous vitriol. The massive shootings in Tucson was a festering pimple ready to pop.
We also disclosed other reasons for this shooting, while the angry nut cases from the right certainly own their portion to this tragedy, guns and how they are managed is another.
First off let me say I am both a proponent of the right to bear arms and the constitution, but both are not free of errors and or flaws.
Words, policies, and personal Rights, all have consequences.
The constitution while a phenomenal document has flaws. It was written when a time was different. And in some cases time has passed the document by. Republicans cling to this document like it was there soul. If Americans where as loyal and resolved about the bible like they where with the constitution, halleluiah all the worlds woes would be gone. Certainly we can agree (if your a progressive) that gun laws need to be modified.
Human rights is clearly defined in the First Amendment. For the less than educated republican, here is the first amendment:
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law "respecting an establishment of religion", impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as erecting a separation of church and state.
Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests. The right to freedom of association is recognized as a human right, a political freedom and a civil liberty.
The second amendment goes like this:
The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Where does the rubber meet the road with regards to guns and control?
Right's - While the gun slinging republican is screaming about their right to bear arms, we in our infamous wisdom forget that Congresswoman Giffords had rights' as well, that right, a part of the first amendment that enabled her to gather at corners, That right we speak of, "the freedom of assembly". So the congresswoman and 20 others lost their right, and in some instances lost their lives so that others had the right to carry a weapon for mass murder. Some how the scales of justice didn't equalize here.
Most Americans are a after-the-fact, downstream, reactionary society, three terrible qualities for success. If businesses, space flight, and military troops used these methods of operation, they wouldn't be in existence.
We can know longer sit idly back and allow congresswomen and precious nine year old daughters to die in vain, in the "right to bear arms" vain.
Some astonishing facts about guns:
Guns were used in 12,632 homicides in 2007, comprising over 40% of all gun deaths, and nearly 69% of all homicides.
On average, 33 gun homicides were committed each day for the years 2002-2007.7
Regions and States with higher rates of gun ownership have significantly higher rates of homicide than States with lower rates of gun ownership. Where guns are prevalent, there are significantly more homicides, particularly gun homicides.
For the five point seven year run (2001 -2007.7) that's 72,002.4 deaths.
Costs of Gun Violence
Firearm-related deaths and injuries result in estimated medical costs of $2.3 billion each year – half of which are borne by U.S. taxpayers.
Once all the direct and indirect medical, legal and societal costs are factored together, the annual cost of gun violence in America amounts to $100 billion.
Americans own an estimated 270 million firearms – approximately 90 guns for every 100 people.
In 2007, nearly 70% of all murders nationwide were committed with a firearm.
In 2007, 385,178 total firearm crimes were committed, including 11,512 murders, 190,514 robberies, and 183,153 aggravated assaults.
Wikipedia also has a plethora of information on Gun Violence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States
There are a variety of ways of dealing with the problems caused by guns in society, and legislation is one of the methods most commonly used.
Attempting to legislate for the complex realities of gun-related violence is a daunting task. The ideal gun control measure would be one that would "prevent all crime and violence involving guns without interfering with their legitimate use in contemporary life." In reality, the best we are likely to achieve is to reduce the problems caused by the illegitimate use of firearms while "minimizing the restraints on the legitimate uses of guns".
Constantly we continue to debate the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition. Various federal laws have been enacted since 1934 to promote such regulation.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, data from 1987 to 1992 indicate that in each of those years, roughly about .01% used guns to defend themselves, yet republicans maintain the need for the weapons as a means of self-defense. Your chances are greater for being struck by lightning than for you to use your weapon in self defense.
It should be noted that no right is absolute, even those supposedly granted by God and guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
NFTOS' has a proposal for a rational gun control system:
Although we would personally like to see as many civilian-owned guns eliminated from mainstream society as possible, we realize that this is not a politically realistic goal. Thus, we present our own plans for gun control that we would consider a valid compromise. Perhaps policy discussions can start from these.
1. A national system for registering guns and ammunition. Part of the reason New York City has stiff gun laws and high gun death rates is that anybody can go from New York to a state with less restrictive laws, get a friend who lives in the state to buy the guns for them, and take those guns back to NYC. (Yes, I am aware this is illegal, but it happens.) First, a national system would prevent this by scaring those "friends" into not buying the guns legally and selling them illegally, for if the guns are used in an illegal crime, that person can be held accountable. Second, a national system would be more helpful in tracking crimes after they have happened, to bring the perpetrators to justice.
2. Instant background checks on people attempting to buy guns or ammunition. Brady is still patchwork, and does indeed have its flaws in tracking felons. Felons and ex-cons should not have access to weapons, and many misdemeanors and juvenile crimes should also count against a person's record.
3. Stiffer sentences for gun crimes. This has been the position of the NRA for quite some time, and it is certainly one with which we agree.
4. Gun education. Many guns are involved in accidents that could easily have been prevented by a little care or forethought. Perhaps gun purchasers should be required to take lessons in gun safety, at the purchaser's expense. Again, the NRA has long been a proponent of gun education.
5. General education. Study after study has concluded that there is a direct correlation between lack of education and violent crime. Every dollar spent on education now will prevent countless dollars worth of crime damage in the future. Think of all the private and public funds used to pay for gun violence -- hospital bills, funerals, insurance bills, the actual cost of buying firearms. Now invest that money in education, and watch the crime rate drop.
6. Hand grip ID tagging. This is technologically probably still in the future, but it would be a good goal to work for. The theory is, each gun is "registered" to one's person palm prints (the legal purchaser of the gun), and only that person can fire that gun. If another person tries, the gun simply will not fire. Thus, stolen guns become useless, and cannot be used to harm anybody in the course of a crime. Biometrics is used everywhere and certainly has a place with weapons.
7. Ammunition coding which allows police to trace and solve crimes.
8. End gun-show loop hole
9. Limit ammunition capacity
These nine steps towards gun control are only the beginning. Much work is needed to be done, and until we do so, any further death that is a product of gun violence is on our hands.
** Gun information provided by Legal Community Against Violence.**