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More Gun Violence
We Are the Problem
I call days like Saturday - days when mass shootings tragically occur - “NRA Days” because (a) they happen so frequently, and (b) the NRA and its congressional allies do so much to enable them by doing so little to prevent them. I include most of Iowa’s all-Republican congressional delegation among the allies enabling the NRA.
Barry Piatt - “Behind The Curtains”
I like how Barry puts this because it is accurate. I encourage my readers to check out Barry’s column on his substack newsletter. He does a great job of taking our Iowa Republican representatives to task for their cowardly and pusillanimous loyalty to the NRA. It is shameful really.
Please read Barry’s column and I’ll take a slightly different angle on this issue. The shootings like the one that happened this past Saturday are now commonplace and routine in American society. So much so that other countries have issued travel advisories for their citizens who are planning on visiting here.
Yes, travelers from New Zealand are being warned by their government of the risk of traveling to a violent destination like the United States.
Yet Republicans do nothing but spout NRA platitudes about thoughts and prayers and good guys with guns.
By the way, since there are so many guns available in the United States, where are all the good guys with guns when these shootings take place? Bloomberg News reports that there are around 120.5 guns per 100 residents in the US.1 That means there are more guns than people in this country. What do we get for this shameful honor? We have the highest gun violence and death rate of any country in the world. More guns mean more gun deaths.
I’m not sure where all the good guys are.
I keep on waiting for the NRA and the Republicans to come up with some sort of proposal to deal with this issue and maybe find a way to identify who the good guys are. If arming good guys with guns is the answer, then perhaps they should propose putting a check box on a gun application where the buyer can check:
“Are You A Good Guy? ____” or “Are You A Bad Guy?____”
Yeah, that would fix it.
The truth is there is no way to tell the good guys from the bad guys at the point of purchase. So the NRA/Republican answer seems to be, then let’s not have any obstacles to gun purchases at all. And while we’re at it, let’s not have any permits or requirements for training to conceal carry a gun. There are no credible proposals from Republican politicians to remedy or help this national problem.
And by the way, gun deaths are now the leading cause of death for children in the United States.2 These come mostly from accidents, suicides, and murder. Guns killed 4,357 children (ages 1-19 years old) in the United States in 2020, or roughly 5.6 per 100,000 children.3
While we’re at it, let’s just put this chart here:
Is this what the MAGA crowd means by “Making America Great?”
When asked during the Republican Presidential debate what the candidates would do about immigration controls at the southern border, at least one candidate suggested sending armed American troops into Mexico to attack the drug cartels.
The irony of this proposal is epic. We’re going to send armed US troops, using American-made guns from American gun manufacturers, into Mexico to attack drug cartels that are using…wait for it…American-made guns.
As much as 90 percent of all guns recovered on Mexican soil originated in the U.S.; as many as 597,000 weapons slip over the border each year, most from American gun manufacturers.4 Let’s see…who wins in a war on the Mexican drug cartels? Gun manufacturers. In fact, this is the reason the NRA opposes any restrictions on access to guns at all. Here is another very inconvenient chart:
The problem isn’t so much the drug cartels as it is American gun manufacturers that are complicit in selling them the weapons that make it hard for the Mexican government to suppress them.
WE ARE THE PROBLEM!
The American gun manufacturing industry is really calling the shots (pun intended). The gun manufacturers along with their cronies in the NRA use fear tactics to drive up gun sales whenever a Democrat becomes President. So far, in over 200 years, no President has ever proposed taking guns from citizens. But it isn’t about reality. It is about gun sales.
In a statement by a Joint Economic Committee in 2022, chaired by Chairman Don Beyer, gun profits were highlighted. The report said:
…In 2021, the largest publicly traded gunmaker in the United States, Sturm, Ruger & Company, topped $280 million in profits and set a new company record. Similarly, profits for Smith & Wesson Brands, the second largest gunmaker, reached nearly $450 million and reached a new company high. The windfall for gunmakers is occurring at the same time that firearm deaths, gun injuries, and mass shootings are increasing.5
Let’s put this chart here:
What happened in 2020? Well, the election of Joe Biden and he took office in January 2021. Gun sales soared once again.
I’m not sure if the American people understand they are being played for suckers by the NRA, Republicans, and the gun industry. They are making millions of dollars over the fear and polarization they create, and we fall for it.
There is a strong consensus around doing something about gun violence, but because Republican lawmakers are doing so well by supporting the NRA and the gun industry there is no incentive for them to act. In fact, there is a strong financial disincentive to take action.
Until the corporate stranglehold that the gun industry has on Congress and state legislatures, we will continue to whistle past the graveyard on this issue.
I’m going to post another part on this topic later this week outlining the racial and hate elements that are part of the story.