Monday, July 5, 2010

Guns! Yippee!

No matter how you turn this one around, it’s a bad idea.

My home state of Virginia recently enacted a law allowing concealed weapons in bars and restaurants. Let me simplify this. It means the next time you belly up to have a brew at your favorite establishment, the guy—or lady—next to you may be packing. Now here’s the deal: said pistol packing papa or momma is not supposed to be drinking alcohol, but then, you ask quite logically, why is s/he at a bar? For the ambiance? The sarsaparilla? The juke box? Or maybe to try out a new pick up line: “Hey, see this bulge? It’s not what you think it is…”

The US has by far the highest number of gun deaths in the world, about 100,000 a year. That’s a lot. As a matter of fact, it’s about half the total of all gun deaths in countries not at war. The rest of the world cannot comprehend the country’s attachment to firearms, nor can it fathom how a “well-armed militia” translates into a guy in a bar.

Lets see now… There have been the assassinations of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, and of Presidents James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy, as well as Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.. More recently, the Columbine High School massacre, the Beltway sniper attacks, and the Virginia Tech massacre, have pretty much demonstrated that guns, indeed, do kill people. It’s hard to convince that any of the above tragedies would have occurred if the shooters had had knives instead.

Guns, basically, are cowards’ weapons, allowing someone to deal death from a distance, to kill without getting bloodied or even disheveled. I’ve never heard of a drive-by stabbing…

Most people who own guns to protect their families are probably well-intentioned and ill-equipped to handle armament. Sure, some people are well-trained, but that’s a minority. There’s an excellent reason for the frightening number of accidental shootings that leave innocents dead and maimed…

As it stands, during a national gun survey held in 2004, 38% of households and 26% of individuals reported owning at least one firearm. This corresponds to 42 million US households with firearms, and 57 million adult gun owners. Sixty-four percent of gun owners or 16% of American adults reported owning at least one handgun. Almost half (48%) of all individual gun owners reported owning four or more firearms. Men more often reported firearm ownership, with 45% stating that they personally owned at least one firearm, compared with 11% for women. The otal numbers of firearms in the US is 223 million. Yes, million…

Now here’s some fun stuff:

Number of federal safety standards that apply to the manufacture of teddy bears:
Number of federal safety standards that apply to the manufacture of firearms:
Number of guns federal firearms licensees have reported stolen or missing since Sept. 13, 1994 when the Clinton Crime Bill made reporting a requirement:
Average number of firearm thefts that occur every year in the US:
Number of federal firearms licensees in the US:
Number of ATF agents to regulate them:
Number of handguns produced by US manufacturers every minute:
Percentage of Americans who agree that "companies that manufacture guns with no hunting or sporting purpose should be held financially responsible when these guns injure or kill people":
Number of violent crime victimizations committed with a firearm in 1993:
1.3 million
Number in 1995:

You, know, despite the number of guns out there, I just don’t feel all that safe. Or maybe it’s because.

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