"That our elected representatives continue to enact firearm market expansion policies, without implementing tougher regulatory restraints on gun sales to curb firearm deaths in minors, represents the worst of special interest-driven politics and is nothing short of a dereliction of duty in governance."Well put, Dr. Kamm. One would think that elected official would realize that implementing stricter policies on guns and who can have them, etc. would just make common sense. There is nothing about reasonable gun laws that interferes with the second amendment. But there is everything about the misuse of the second amendment arguments perpetrated by the gun lobby to thwart reasonable restrictions that makes common sense. And what's more, Kamm accurately reports and concludes that the U.S. high rate of firearm deaths among children and teens is alarming in that it actually reduces life expectancy of American children.
The US experiences a grossly disproportionately higher rate of firearm deaths in children than other industrialized countries (ref). According to the CDC, the rate of firearm deaths in children under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the US than 25 other industrialized countries combined. American children are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die in a firearm accident than children in those other countries.Yikes. This is amazing. If you don't believe that these things are happening, I suggest that you check out a new blog called Kid Shootings. The latest post is a photo of a 4 month old baby who was kidnapped by a father who then shot a relative. At least he didn't shoot the baby for goodness sake! Some days there are multiple postings of children either shot and injured or killed or kids shooting themselves or someone else. This should be a big fat red flag for our elected officials and anyone who cares about the health and safety of children in America.
Back to Dr. Hamm's article. He provides graphs just to make sure we get the picture. There is just so much to think about in this article that it's hard to know which sections to highlight. But here is just one of the stunning paragraphs about the risks of guns for our children:
So, no, more guns do not and, in fact, have not made us safer. That myth needs to be popped post haste. I don't know how the gun lobby has gotten away with that one for so long. Shame on anyone for believing it. And remember when the NRA tried to put a gag order on Florida Physicians who know the risks for guns in the home and think it's wise to keep their patients safe and healthy? Here's more on that.As reported in a University of Michigan Health System report (ref), “when researchers studied the 30,000 accidental gun deaths of Americans of all ages that occurred between 1979-1997, they found that preschoolers aged 0-4 were 17 times more likely to die from a gun accident in the 4 states with the most guns versus the 4 states with the least guns. Likewise, school kids aged 5-14 were over 13 times more at risk of accidental firearm death in the states with high gun ownership rates. The findings indicate that gun availability is associated with accidental death by shooting”. Additionally, it was noted that more than 90% of suicide attempts with guns are deadly and teens in homes with firearms are at higher risk for committing suicide.
And despite the role physicians have played in counseling families and patients on risks to children (e.g., household poisons, unsupervised swimming pools, riding bikes without safety helmets), the law prohibited physicians from even asking parents whether they have a gun in the home (unless the doctor has a “good faith” belief that it is “relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety”). Represented by lawyers from The Brady Center and the law firm of Ropes & Gray, three Florida physicians organizations, as well as several individual doctors, filed suit to strike down the law as a violation of the First Amendment; a preliminary injunction was granted by US District Judge Marcia G. Cooke, Southern District of Florida – Miami (ref).I have written about this one many times. The whole thing is so ludicrous that if you didn't scoff at it, you would cry for the mean and self serving nature of a measure such as this one. But it won't go away. The gun lobby would love to introduce this ridiculous and dangerous bill in other states. Good luck to them. This one is a step way too far. It exposes the NRA for the extreme organization it is. It is not representing its' members when bills like this are pushed. So who is the NRA representing? The gun industry, of course, and their own existence. More from Kamm:
This activity represents a 180-degree turn from the organization’s position as noted in Americans and Their Guns, an official history of the organization published in 1967, which stated that the NRA “…is not affiliated with any manufacturer of arms or ammunition or with any jobber or dealer who sells firearms and ammunition”. Such a link of a not-for-profit organization to profit-making corporations raises valid concerns regarding the objectivity of the organization, such as the effectiveness of its Eddie Eagle “gun safety” program (the effectiveness of such programs in children is questionable as was discussed above).Kamm also discusses the nonsensical National Conceal and Carry Reciprocity bill that, in effect, would put more guns in more places, thus endangering more lives, and some of them children. Stupidly, the bill passed in the U.S. House in November. Let's hope that Senators have more common sense than to make guns more available everywhere we go. In addition, Kamm aptly discusses the fact that gun ownership is actually lower now than in many years in America making the NRA and its' members and associates desperate to gin up gun sales by getting stopping any sensible gun laws and supporting laws that will loosen up who carries guns in which places. Though Kamm does cite the hype about increased gun sales that Josh Horowitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence recently disputed. There is also the paranoia about "gun grabbing" so famously shouted by any attempts to pass reasonable laws. The gun blogs are full of this sort of talk and they regularly inhabit the blogs and articles written by those in the gun violence prevention movement, accusing us of wanting their guns and much more. ( much of what they say can't be repeated). This paranoia has led to some pretty scary stuff, including the stock piles of more militaristic weapons ( study by the Violence Policy Center) owned by average citizens and by a small group of militia groups and gun rights extremists.( I will be exploring this more later) From the article:
NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre issued the following: “But it’s a big stinking lie, just like all the other lies that have come out of this corrupt administration. It’s all part – it’s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in this country…Before the President was even sworn into office, they met and they hatched a conspiracy of public deception to try to guarantee his re-election in 2012″. This was followed by another statement from La Pierre that a “second term by President Obama would break the back” of the Second Amendment. As was noted by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “The NRA says the way you can tell Obama is coming for your guns, is that he’s not coming for your guns. It’s genius! That is the insane paranoid message from the NRA this year”. The article delves into other such manipulation of fear and paranoia by the organization.And after examining what the uber influence of the NRA means for our country, especially in light of abrogating responsibility to our children, he offers some conclusions. Here is one:
Although it is well-known that special interests buy influence in our government, our legislators should find themselves in a particularly troublesome position in advocating legislation that expands public exposure to guns without addressing the substantial loss life with which the product is associated, especially in minors. We enact laws to protect minors in this country, and yet in this case our legislators are failing to take legislative action that could help prevent unnecessary loss of life. In fact, they are moving in the opposite direction. I submit that it was not the intent of the Second Amendment to justify the unnecessary loss of American lives. And for our legislators to be engaged in enacting market expansion policy for gun products, without implementing tougher regulatory restraints on gun sales to curb firearm deaths in minors, represents the worst of special interest-driven politics and is nothing short of a dereliction of duty in governance.I can hardly say more. This article and the research it contains, speaks for itself. Once again, we need to understand how policy is made, or not, in this country. If we just but follow the money, we will find out. Where is common sense?