So what has changed since 1992? For one thing, we've had a lot of mass shootings. This chart shows very well where and when they have occurred. These only include those where 5 or more were shot. One could argue that a mass shooting is when 3 or more are shot. Isn't it amazing that we have to categorize mass shootings?
The NRA is still resisting any attempt to save the lives of our military personnel after returning to America from tours of duty. Shameful. From the article:
The Brady Act was passed and enacted in 1993. That is one of the few highlights after my sister was killed. Since that time, almost 2 million people who shouldn't have guns have been prohibited from purchasing them because Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers are now required to do a background check on all gun sales. Unfortunately, a gaping hole was left in the law. Private sellers can sell their guns to anyone with no background check at gun shows and other venues. Nothing has been done to close the gap. As a result, we have no way of knowing how many prohibited purchasers are buying guns without background checks. So criminals, domestic abusers, drug abusers, dangerously mentally ill people and terrorists can get guns. Where is common sense?The problem, say US military commanders, is that a new NRA-backed law prohibits them from engaging in discussions about weapons and safety."I am not allowed to ask a soldier who lives off-post whether that soldier has a privately owned weapon," Chiarelli says. The legislation took effect at the end of 2010.While commanders are permitted to ask troops who appear to be an imminent danger to themselves or others about private firearms — or to suggest locking them temporarily in a base depot — the law requires that if the soldier denies that he or she is thinking about harming anyone, then the commander cannot pursue the discussion further, he adds.Yet determining whether a service member is an imminent danger to himself or others has been an elusive and frustrating pursuit for the Pentagon."I'm struck by the number of folks who come in for behavioral health counseling and are rated as 'low to medium risk' [of harming themselves or others] and two weeks later commit the irrevocable act of suicide," Chiarelli says."Suicide in most cases is a spontaneous event" that is often fueled by drugs and alcohol. But "if you can separate the individual from the weapon," he added, "you can lower the incidences of suicide."The problem, Chairelli says, is that "we have issues in even being able to do that."
The Assault Weapons ban was allowed to sunset in 2004 after 10 years. That is a national mistake. Most other countries not at war do not allow civilians to own such guns. They are not necessary for anything really- except to kill a lot of people at once.
Since 9/11, a national list of people considered to be terrorists was established. Naturally, we wouldn't want those whose intent is to kill innocent Americans flying on planes. But we do allow them to buy guns and we even know they are doing so but we can't stop them. That is another gap in our nation's gun laws that has not been closed. Why not? Just ask the NRA. They know.
All attempts to stop small arms trafficking around the world have been stymied by the NRA. For years now, there has been a proposed United Nations Small Arms Treaty proposed. It never gets passed. Guess why? If you guessed the NRA, you are correct. This article exposes the blatant lies coming from the NRA concerning this treaty. Why, oh why, are the lies believed? Again, the NRA has created a myth that it so powerful it can stop an international treaty. And the myth turns into inaction. Shame. Women and children all over the world are being shot to death and raped at gun point. We are better than this. The NRA should not be allowed to stop a common sense treaty. Such power and control is obscene.
Any attempts to pass reasonable gun laws, such as one banning high capacity magazines after Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot are languishing in Congress. There is a bill introduced in Congress to stop the sale of such deadly ammunition. Why doesn't it pass? Ask the NRA. They know. There is renewed interest in a bill after the recent shooting at the Aurora, CO movie theater. Will it go anywhere? Ask the NRA. They will know.
Since 1992, 500,000 Americans have list their lives to bullets. Really; about 30,000 a year, give or take, including homicides, suicides and accidental shootings. Let's just look at homicides then if you don't like this number. Gun homicides have accounted for anywhere from 9000 roughly to 12,000 roughly per year. Let's settle on an average figure. So about 10,000 a year since 1992 equals about 200,000 dead from bullets. And we have just let it happen. That's what is alarming. The NRA's extreme leadership has made it possible for gun deaths and injuries to continue almost unabated. There is no talk about reducing gun deaths and injuries because the NRA won't have it. They are in charge, apparently, of our public health and safety policy. Do you find that reprehensible? If so, demand that our politicians stop heeding the threats and lies of the NRA's extreme leadership and stand with the victims and the majority of Americans, including NRA members and gun owners, in favor of common sense.
Since my sister was shot, all but one state ( Illinois) has passed a form of carrying concealed ( or openly carried) weapons laws. Have gun deaths and injuries reduced as a result? No. See the Violence Policy Center report on Concealed Carry Killers for why these laws are not a good idea. In addition, as if passing the laws was not enough for the NRA's extreme leadership and extremists in many states, laws have been loosened to allow loaded guns into more public places.
Since my sister was shot, many states have passed some form of Stand Your Ground laws. Are they a good idea? See this article:
We all know how Stand Your Ground laws work after Trayvon Martin was shot by self professed neighborhood watch gun owner, George Zimmerman.A working paper (PDF) released this week with the National Bureau of Economics Research found that states that have passed controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws, such as the one George Zimmerman is using as his defense to charges that he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida this February, actually ended up seeing more homicides after the laws were passed.Doctoral student Chandler B. McClellan and Professor Erdal Tekin at Georgia State University decided to test the claim that such laws were “making America safer.”“Our evidence and certainly some other studies floating around out there find that these laws don’t work in the way they were intended to work,” McClellan said in an interview with Raw Story. “What we do see is a net increase in deaths.”Passing such laws “with no evidence to back up the logic can lead to unintended results, which is what we see here. We have informed the public policy debate with this,” McClellan said.Using homicide data from 2006 to 2008, the years after a wave of legislatures passed such laws in 2006, the researchers found that “Stand Your Ground” laws, which provide protection for deadly use of force in self-defense in a public place, results in a “significant increase in the number of homicides among whites, especially white males.” The results are found to be specific to “Stand Your Ground” laws and the effect doesn’t extend to other laws passed in the interest of self-defense.“According to our estimates, between 4.4 and 7.4 additional white males are killed each month as a result of these laws. We find no evidence to suggest that these laws increase homicides among blacks,” the researchers write in the paper. “Our findings raise serious doubts against the argument that Stand Your Ground laws make America safer.”“At least some of the people getting killed are bystanders, which is more than enough to raise serious concerns about these laws,” Professor Tekin told Raw Story. He said in research they’re prepping for a published journal article that includes more recent data, they’re actually finding their results will show a stronger effect on net deaths as more data is included.The working paper also finds, “[Stand Your Ground] states have a higher percentage of black population, more likely to have a Republican governor, higher incarceration rates and more police officers. These states also tend to be more urban, and have a higher poverty rate.”
Oh yes, since Barack Obama was elected President, militia groups have increased in number. Scary.
Domestic shootings, similar to the one that took my sister's life, continue. We don't pay enough attention to keeping domestic abusers from getting guns. No one ever thinks the estranged husband or boyfriend would shoot someone. Not him. He'd never do that. People don't pay attention to guns in the home as a possible threat. And yet, from this source:
Far from passing reasonable gun laws, Congress has gone out of its' way to pass laws to allow more guns in more places. See the guns in National Parks amendment passed by Congress recently and the guns on Amtrak amendment. See also the National Conceal Carry Reciprocity act passed by the House but sitting in the Senate. Will they dare pass this law now after the Aurora shooting? Ask the NRA. NRA members don't like to be inconvenienced at all when it comes to carrying their guns. I must say it was pretty inconvenient to go to my sister's funeral. But I digress.American women who are killed by their intimate partners are more likely to be killed with guns than by all other methods combined. (Rothman E. F., Hemenway D, Miller M, and Azael D. Batterers' Use of Guns to Threaten Intimate Partners. Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, 2005. 60 (1): p. 62- 68.)A recent study shows that access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times compared to instances where there are no weapons. In addition, abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners. (J.C. Campbell, Webster J, Koziol-McLain, CR, et al. 2003. Risk Factors For Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From A Multi-Site Case Control Study. (American Journal of Public Health. 93 (7).)Women are twice as likely to be shot and killed by intimate partners as they are to be murdered by strangers using any type of weapon. (Tjaden P., Thoennes N. Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice: 2000. NCJ 18781.) (Rothman E. F., Hemenway D, Miller M, and Azael D. Batterers' Use of Guns to Threaten Intimate Partners. Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, 2005. 60 (1): p. 62- 68.)Firearms- especially handguns- were the most common weapon used by males to murder females in 2003. (When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2003 Homicide Data: Females Murdered by Males in Single Victim/ Single Offender Incidents. September 2005. Violence Policy Center. Washington, DC. Available at: http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2005.pdf.)In homicides where males used firearms to kill females, handguns were clearly the weapon of choice over rifles and shotguns. In 2003, 77 percent of female firearm homicide victims were killed with handguns. (When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2003 Homicide Data: Females Murdered by Males in Single Victim/ Single Offender Incidents. September 2005. Violence Policy Center. Washington, DC. Available at: http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2005.pdf.)Approximately 700 American women are shot and killed by intimate partners each year. (Homicide trends in the U.S Intimate homicide and Homicides by relationships and weapon type. Washington D.C.: U.S Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics; 2002.)The cost of domestic violence is nearly $67 billion per year, roughly 15% of total U.S crime costs. (Miller T, Cohen M, Wiersema B. Victim costs and consequences: a new look. Washington, D.C.: U.S Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice; 1996.NCJ 155282)
The American gun culture is alive and well. Or is it? Since 1992, fewer Americans own guns. The NRA has convinced everyone that they have 4 million members. Do they? I have recently spoken to a man who is a hunter and joined the NRA many years ago when it was an organization to support hunters and teach gun safety. As the organization changed and became too extreme, this man tried to stop his NRA membership. But they still send him the magazine and act as if he is still a member. He can't quit! I have another friend who belongs to a local shooting club. He likes to target shoot but he is fully on board with common sense gun laws and supports what I do. He hates the NRA and is not one bit interested in its' extremism. But to become a member of the shooting club, he has to become an NRA member. The NRA counts him yet he does not believe in its' agenda. We have only to look at the most recent Frank Luntz poll to know that this is true. The NRA leadership is extreme and does not represent even its' own members let alone the public in general.
And after all of their legislative successes, what is the NRA's response? Here is just one from Executive V.P. Wayne LaPierre:
Shame on Congress and state legislators for allowing themselves to be manipulated by this extremist group of cynical people. It doesn't have to be like this. We are better than this. Nothing will change if we don't make it happen. When our country is run by an extreme group of people who put the Constitution ahead of human lives, we are not living in a democracy any more. When those who peddle fear and paranoia to get their way, the public is damned to living in communities fraught with stray bullets and shootings in public places. Women's lives are at risk from domestic shootings. Children are dying at 8 per day because of bullets. In what other country is this happening?
Demand the change that will make us safer. If I have learned anything since my sister was shot, I have learned that the NRA is not to be feared. I also have learned that the public is way ahead of the politicians on this issue and are just waiting for common sense to break out.
In my sister's name and her memory, I will continue advocating for common sense. I will continue speaking up and speaking out. I will continue to demand change. I will continue to remind our politicians that we are better than this and we can do better than this. I will continue to educate the public on the many misperceptions and lies pushed by the NRA. Please join me in my efforts. Join one of the many state and national organizations working to reduce and prevent gun violence. Write letters to the editor. Sign petitions. Call your legislators and Congress members. Volunteer to help out and donate so that those who work on the issue can continue their work. Demand change. Remember the victims.
I forgot to add that the NRA's leadership has become more extreme over the years which may explain why they do not represent many of their own members. See Meet The NRA for biographies and quotes from the NRA leadership and Board, including, of course, the ever crazy and dangerous Ted Nugent.
And one more- follow the money. The NRA and the gun industry have become more and more cozy over time. They serve on each other's boards. They protect each other. As more laws are passed allowing more people to carry more loaded guns into more public places, the industry manufacturers more small concealable guns. The industry targets women with small pink guns. The industry has even targeted children in ads showing kids holding guns. As more of the guns come onto the market, more people buy them and more people want to protect their guns and their rights. It's a vicious circle and a sick relationship that keeps our country from being able to pass reasonable gun laws. They are trying to normalize the carrying of guns by everyone. What else is new? Our country is now pretty much run by big money interests but when lives are at stake, the game changes.