WAIT, why are we still debating gun control?

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation ran the numbers on violent gun deaths per 100,000 people for countries around the world for 2016. They found that U.S. numbers are far above that of other similarly prosperous countries, and even above that of middle eastern countries including Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Libya and Iran–meaning, per 100,000 people the U.S. has more violent gun deaths.

The U.S. violent-death numbers were similar to Iraq’s, with Iraq at 4.28 deaths per 100,000 people to the U.S.’s 3.85 per 100,000.

WordStirs took on the gun ownership debate here and–despite gun incidents occurring nearly once a week at schools across the country–not much has changed.

Let’s talk about why.

We aren’t ready for gun control legislation.

Americans don’t feel strongly enough about gun control to provoke government action

A Gallup Poll revealed the way people feel about gun control.

When gun owners were asked: Are you for or against a law which would make it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles?
48% were for (a law to make assault rifles illegal to sell, possess, or manufacture)
49% were against (a law to make assault rifles illegal to sell, posses, or manufacture)

One thought on that: gun owners will be biased in favor of fewer laws, but an assault rifle ban has been on the books in the past.

And, below, a few more Gallup Poll questions that illustrate how entrenched we are with our guns–despite the rash of school shootings.

Same poll: Do you live in a household with guns?
42% of U.S. citizens responded “yes” that they live in a house with guns.

Same poll: In terms of gun laws in the United States, which of the following would you prefer to see happen?

Enforce current laws more strictly: 47%
Pass new laws in addition to enforcing current laws: 51%

besides, we can’t have a data-driven debate without CDC (Center for Disease Control) research

From the CDC, we know a lot about the dangers of diabetes, obesity, driving without a seatbelt and unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. We don’t have much information on gun violence. And, without information, it’s easy for Congress not to have constructive debates about gun use in America.

There’s a reason we don’t have that information.

The Dickey Amendment prevents it.

Back in 1993, the National Rifle Association lobbied hard against what they viewed as unfair attacks on gun control (a 1993 study that found that guns in the home were associated with an increased risk of homicide in the home).

Partly because of NRA efforts, in 1996 an amendment by Rep. Jay Dickey, R-Ark. was packaged into a congressional spending bill that said “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” In the same bill, Congress pulled $2.8 million aimed at gun injury research and re-assigned it.

Since then, Washington and the CDC have stayed away from the topic.

Enter Barack Obama.

In 2013, Obama directed the CDC to research gun violence. They responded by funding a project but a CDC spokeswoman told the Washington Post that “It is possible for us to conduct firearm-related research within the context of our efforts to address youth violence, domestic violence, sexual violence, and suicide. But our resources are very limited.”

In 2015, 110 members of Congress signed a letter calling on Congress to reject the Dickey Amendment. It was ignored.  The amendment remains.

Rep. Dickey had a change of heart on the amendment that bears his name. “Since the legislation passed in 1996, the United States has spent about $240 million a year on traffic safety research, but there has been almost no publicly funded research on firearm injuries,” he wrote along with Mark Rosenberg, President and CEO of the Task Force for Global Health, “As a consequence, U.S. scientists cannot answer the most basic question: What works to prevent firearm injuries?”

and, guns make us feel safer

Sixty percent of gun owners report that keeping a gun in the house makes them feel safer.

And that means, if gun owners feel unsafe, then gun control legislation makes them feel even more unsafe.

The time for gun control legislation is NOW.

Maybe the most important and compelling point to add to this side of the argument is this calendar. The x’s indicate the dates of school shootings in 2018.

 

 

 

Pink X’s represent a school shooting in the U.S.

 

Red X’s represent a school shooting that resulted in injuries.

 

Black X’s represent a school shooting that resulted in death.

 

 

 

 

Back to the News Made Simple article here.

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