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It's Time for Gun Control

It's Time for Gun Control

As the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut return to school, albeit in a refurbished former middle school in a neighboring Connecticut town, for the first day since the horrible events, and as the 113th Congress begins, and as President Obama is about to start his second term in office, it is time for gun control in the United States. Real gun control.

Since 1982, there have been sixty-two mass shootings in the United States. Interestingly, of the 142 guns used in these mass shootings, more than three-quarters were obtained LEGALLY. And the vast majority of the guns used in these horrific events were automatic and semi-automatic weapons.

Gun control can work, is appropriate, and should be enacted in the United States. Some historical perspective and context:

In 1996, at Port Arthur in Tasmania, in Australia, a gunman opened fire in this tourist spot killing thirty-five people. Two weeks later, the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) was passed in Australia. As a part of the gun control law, 650,000 automatic and semi-automatic weapons were bought back by the Australian government, and were destroyed. TWO WEEKS LATER.

In the ten years before Port Arthur, there were eleven mass shootings in Australia. There have been no mass shootings in Australia since then the NFA was enacted in 1996. In Australia, between 1996 and 2006 (available data), gun related deaths dropped by 59% and suicide by gun dropped by 65%.

In 1996, there were 34,040 deaths from guns in the United States.

If you want to own a gun in Israel, you have to prove a "genuine reason". There is an official gun register of gun ownership. There is a government record of civilian gun owners. You have to be twenty-seven (21 if you served in the Israeli military.) There are background checks: health, mental and criminal behavior are all investigated. Gun owners have to reapply for their right to own a gun every three years. There is a limitation on the amount of ammunition you can have - 50 bullets. And there are strict storage rules if you become a gun owner.

In the United States, it is easier to legally own a gun than obtain a driver's license.

Let's use 1999 as a point in time - on April 20, 1999 in Columbine. Colorado, fourteen students and one teacher were killed. Since then, there have been more than FIFTY mass shootings in the United States. Thirty-nine mass shootings in schools. THIRTY-NINE school mass shootings since 1999.

The NRA wants you to believe that only good guys with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. The NRA wants you to believe that these events happen everywhere in the world and that gun control does not work.

There were sixteen mass shootings throughout the rest of the world from April 1999 to the present. Over fifty mass shootings in the same time period in the United States alone. This does not include the epidemic of gang violence in the United States that the media routinely ignores: 2,020 gang related homicides in 2010; 2,083 in 2009; 1,659 in 2008; 1,975 in 2007; and 2,058 in 2006.

Look at what Australia did within two weeks after Port Arthur. The United States Congress can't pass a bill to fund aid to victims of hurrricane Sandy over two months hence.

The NRA wants you to believe that armed teachers, school secuirty guards, or armed police in schools, will stop a madman with a gun. Do we want that atmosphere in our schools?

And what about Fort Hood, Texas?

On November 5, 2009, thirteen were killed and twenty-nine were wounded at Ft. Hood when a psychologically damaged military officer opended fire. There were alot of good guys with guns around who could not stop the bad guy with the gun before the massacre.

Let us arm Americans with knowledge, understanding, access to mental health services, community outreach and prevention services.

And if you believe you must own a gun in America, let's have effective and meaningful gun control.

Categories: Child's Rights


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