Anyone catch the NRA press conference today?
It was disturbing to me as I caught a taping online. A week after one of the worst school shootings in our nation's history, the head of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Wayne LaPierre, said we shouldn't be talking about limiting access to guns. He says we need to have armed guards in every school.
And then he had the nerve to say that calling for stricter gun control laws was politicizing the Newtown strategy. So wanting to protect children and the public from semi-automatic assualt rifles with high capacity magazines (More than 10 bullets) is politicizing, but calling to arm more people is not?
The man even said that assault rifles are not really a problem, and many are not military weapons. Nope, guns are not the problem. The problems, according to LaPierre, is that we have violent video games and movies.
While I agree that video games and movies have more violence than is necessary, this is just a smoke screen to try and shift the blame from guns that serve no purpose in a civilian's hands other than mass murder.
Japan is the video game capital of the world. They have all the same shooter games the United States has. They have "God of War", "Resident Evil", "Mortal Kombat" and all the gruesome games that rely on extreme violence for popularity. Japan had 11 gun-related homicides in 2008 compared to the our country's 12,000+.
But Japan has serious gun control laws that make owning, let alone carrying them, illegal. Even the guns your allowed to own in Japan are very hard to get permits for.
So here is a culture with very violent video games and media, yet they have practically no gun related homicides. It is in direct contradiction with LaPierre's statements that more guns would make us safer and it's the violent media that makes people want to shoot others.
I also have read and heard several pro-gun individuals cite that the 1994 assault weapons ban didn't work. While it's true that the study concluded that it could not say that the ban resulted in viewer gun related incidents, there are specific parts of the study of the University of Pennsylvania study that they conveniently leave out.
What pro-gun advocates fail to mention is that the study says the ban was in place long enough to draw full conclusions. It also found that while the number of gun assaults were not drastically changed, the results of the gun assaults were. The study says in the conclusion section that attacks with assault weapons and high capacity magazines resulted in more shots fired, more injuries and greater severity of the injuries.
The major problems with the past assault rifles ban was that it had more than 600 exemptions, manufacturers could alter assault rifles to become legal while still incredibly deadly and it couldn't do anything about the millions of guns and high capacity magazines already on the streets of the US.
You can read the full study here: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/jerrylee/research/aw_final2004.pdf
It's time to get serious about making our country safer from guns. Australia got fed up with guns after a 1996 mass killing. As a result, the pro-George Bush prime minister of Australia, John Howard, banned assault weapons and shotguns, and created a buy back program to get previously purchased guns off the street. Accoroding to this study, gun homicides fell by 59 percent and gun suicides fell by 65 percent after the law was introduced. They still have violent video games and movies in Australia, so I'm pretty sure that's a poor argument.
I'm not saying we need to eliminate the Second Amendment. I respect hunters and that for some it is a way of life. There are very responsible gun owners out there who are not hurting society. But assault rifles don't serve a purpose when hunting.
The Second Amendment is outdated and vague. It was drafted before the 19th century, before our ancestors could fathom assault rifles. It was drafted before there were police departments, phones to call the police, the majority of the population was rural, there were no cars to get to a crime scene quickly, and there were serious threats of England waging war or Native Americans attacking.
Times have changed, and we need to realize that assault weapons should not be protected under the Second Amendment.
If President Obama and our lawmakers are serious about keeping this country safe from guns, they are going to have to man-up and take on the NRA. It won't be an easy battle. Many pro-gun people will be upset. But some battles are worth the fight, and this is one of them.