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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Paul Rawlings: Gun Violence

  • Gun violence has killed more than ALL Americans killed in battle in ALL wars since 1775 according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
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  • 651,697 Americans were killed in their homes, on the streets, in parking lots, in schools and other public and private places by gun violence in the 18 year period 1979 through 1997.  This was more than ALL Americans killed in battle in ALL wars since 1775 according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
     
     
    A partial list of recent gun killings in the U. S with locations: Naval Yard and Army base protected by trained armed guards, 2 restaurants , 2 universities, street, movie theater, place of worship, sign company, shopping mall, elementary school, parking lot, beauty shop, beer distributor, nursing home and immigration center.
     
    The dates and the number of people killed at the above locations: September 16, 2013-- 12, December 14, 2012 --27, December 11, 2012 --2, September 27, 2012 --5, August 5, 2012 –6,  April 2, 2012-- 7, March 30, 2012 –5,  October 12, 2011—8, September 6, 2011—5, January 8, 2011—6, August 3, 2010—8,  February 12, 2010—3, November 5, 2009—13, May 5, 2009—13, March 30, 2009—4, March 29, 2009—8, March 10, 2009—10.
     
    The NRA and the gun industry have offered two solutions to reduce the number of gun killings (1) “The only thing that that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” (2)”Train and place armed guards at all schools.”
     
    There are 331 million people in America.  Mr. LaPierre did not tell us the number of  “good guys”  but if 90% of the population  (280 million) are considered good guys, 280 million “good guys” needing guns to stop the “bad guys” would create millions of dollars in gun sale profits for the gun industry.
     
    Would taxpayer be willing to pay the additional millions of dollars necessary to train 3.3 million teachers to be armed guards, buy over 3 million guns to protect 30.1 million students at over 135,000 elementary and secondary school buildings?
     
    If armed guards would make schools safe or reduce gun killings why should armed guards be limited only to schools?  Why should Americans not be safe from gun killings while at a restaurant (616,000) at a beauty shop (289,000), at the theater (38,605) and senior citizens while in a nursing homes (16,000) and hundreds of other locations.
     
    Armed guards did not keep12 people killed from being killed at the Washington D.C Naval Yard or 13 people from being killed at Fort Hood Army Base?
     
    If more guns made a country safer from gun killings the U.S as the leading country in gun ownership with 8.8 of every 10 citizen owning a gun the U.S would be the safest country in the world.  And Japan with less than 1 gun (0.6) per 100 citizens would be the leading country in gun deaths.  In 2011 the U.S had 32,163 gun killings and Japan had fewer than 100 gun killings that year.
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    261 congressional candidates in 2011, 236 Republicans and 25 Democrats, accepted contributions from the NRA.  Follow the money and see if those 236 Republicans and those 25 Democrats vote with/against the NRA on gun issues.
     
    One month after 20 6 and 7 year old children were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School gun sales were UP 400% and membership in the NRA skyrocketed.
     
    Sandy Hook and other mass gun killings is the goose which lays golden eggs worth millions of dollars for the gun manufactures and the NRA.
     
    For over 30 years Americans have attempted to enact reasonable, common sense laws and regulations relating to guns.
     
    For over 30 years the NRA and gun industry have  spread fear which caused many good Americans to believe they would lose their guns and politicians to believe they would be defeated at the next elections and EVERY effort to enact reasonable, common sense laws and regulations has been defeated.
     
    Many people believe the large numbers of Americans killed by guns is a national tragedy. For the gun industry and the NRA gun killings are an opportunity to make millions of dollars.
     
    What will America do about gun killings in the future?  Continue with more guns, more killings and millions of dollars for the gun industry and the NRA or will we all work together and enact reasonable laws and regulations relating to guns and have fewer guns and have fewer gun killings as in other countries such as Japan, Canada, and  England.
     
    Auto manufacturers worked with the American People and politicians to reduce the number of people killed in auto accidents and equip cars at the time they are manufactured with seat belts and air bags.  In 2007 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated 15,147 lives were saved by seat belts and had seat belts been used 100% of the time an additional 5,024 lives would have been saved and 2,788 lives were saved by airbags.
     
    How many American lives would be saved if the NRA and the gun industry, like the auto industry, would work with the American people and politicians to equip guns at the time of manufacture with safety locks, with technology that would prevent anyone other than the owner being able to fire the gun and requiring gun owners to equip the guns they now own with safety locks and keep their guns in a secure place accessible only to the owner?
     
    (Paul Rawlings of Heber Springs contributes each week to the editorial pages of The Sun-Times)
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