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Stop Gun Violence!

There have been 1.4 million firearm deaths in America since 1968, compared to 1.2 million deaths in war in our entire history.  There are 30,000 deaths each year from gun violence. This horror is made possible by easy accessibility to guns. And that is made possible by the power of the gun lobby in Washington.


Picture above: Grace McDonnell - died at Sandy Hook
Our country is being devastated by the needless deaths of the innocent. All in the name of profit. That must change.

We have an epidemic of gun violence in America
  • More than 30,000 people are killed by firearms each year in this country (source)
  • More than 30 people are shot and murdered each day; 1/3 of them are under the age of 20 (source)
  • Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year-olds; And the primary cause of death among African Americans of that age group (source)
  • U.S. lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries total an estimated $2.3 billion (source)

Mass shootings are on the rise

Since the '70s mass shootings in the U.S. have been on the rise, according to data compiled by the Congressional Research Service. CRS defines a mass shooting as "a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms." Here are the average mass shootings per year since the 1970s:

  • one (1.1) incident per year during the 1970s (5.5 victims murdered, 2.0 wounded per incident),
  • nearly three (2.7) incidents per year during the 1980s (6.1 victims murdered, 5.3 wounded per incident),
  • four (4.0) incidents per year during the 1990s (5.6 victims murdered, 5.5 wounded per incident),
  • four (4.1) incidents per year during the 2000s (6.4 victims murdered, 4.0 wounded per incident), and
  • four (4.5) incidents per year from 2010 through 2013 (7.4 victims murdered, 6.3 wounded per incident).

Guns are devastating our communities:

  • 89 people die every day from guns. (source)
  • "For decades, the most dangerous piece of machinery was an automobile. But now, it’s a gun."

  • On December 14, 2012, 20 children died at the hands of a lone, young gunman. He had obtained the guns from his mother, whom he murdered. She obviously believed those guns made her safe. The laws made it easy for him to obtain and kill many people.
  • ...while some 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, more than 5,000 people have been killed by gun fire in Chicago during that time, based on Department of Defense and FBI data. (source)
  • If the president does nothing, Mr Bloomberg notes that some 48,000 Americans will be murdered by guns during his second term—several times more Americans than died on September 11th 2001 and in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. (source)
  • "Since the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, CT, there have been at least 126 school shootings in America — an average of nearly one a week. How many more before our leaders pass common-sense laws to prevent gun violence and save lives?" (as of June 2015)

Guns do not make us more safe:

  • "Having guns in the home triples the risk of suicide and doubles the risk of homicide, researchers reported on Monday." (source, 1-20-14)
  • "7,391 American kids and teens under age 20 were hospitalized from firearm injuries in 2009, according to a Yale School of Medicine study. That means, on average, a child or teen is shot almost every hour." (source)
  • "For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a
    NRA and gun dealers
    home." (source)
  • According to Mother Jones' analysis of U.S. mass shootings in which four or more people were killed from 1982 to 2012, none of the 62 incidents studied was stopped by an ordinary citizen carrying a gun. Additionally, since 2007, according to data collected by the Violence Policy Center, individuals with permits to carry a concealed weapon have been responsible for 28 mass shootings where at least three people were killed. Mass shootings have also occurred at schools despite the presence of armed security or law enforcement who presumably are better equipped to stop shooting incidents than students carrying guns. (source)
  • In terms of deterrence, a recent study found that states with higher levels of household gun ownership have higher levels of firearm crime and do not have lower levels of other types of crime.

    Another study, in 2003, found that counties with higher levels of household gun ownership have higher rates of household burglary, not lower. Burglars like to steal not only cash and jewelry but also guns. A homeowner with a collection of firearms may not want to advertise that fact.

...More than 42% of the time, the victim took some action — maced the offender, yelled at the offender, struggled, ran away, or called the police. Victims used a gun in less than 1% of the incidents (127/14,145). In other words, actual self-defense gun use, even in our gun-rich country, is rare.

It is sometimes claimed that guns are particularly beneficial to potentially weaker victims, such as women. Yet of the more than 300 sexual assaults reported in the surveys, the number of times women were able to use a gun to protect themselves was zero.

Indeed, a study of 10 previous years of crime survey data found that of more than 1,100 sexual assaults, in only one did the victim use a gun in self-defense.

...In addition, hundreds of thousands of household guns are stolen each year. Gun theft is a main pathway by which guns end up in criminal hands. The public health costs of gun ownership are very high. (source)

Guns are too easy to obtain:

  • Around 40% of all legal gun sales involve private sellers and don't require background checks. 40% of prison inmates who used guns in their crimes got them this way. (source)
  • An investigation found 62% of online gun sellers were willing to sell to buyers who said they couldn't pass a background check. (source)
  • 20% of licensed California gun dealers agreed to sell handguns to researchers posing as illegal "straw" buyers. (source)

The NRA prevents sensible gun legislation by dictating to the Congress and White House what laws it passes:

  • Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell decried federal lawmakers for failing to pass a permanent ban on assault weapons, such as the one used in Friday’s deadly Colorado movie theater shooting.
Rendell said it was an “act of cowardice by the Congress” not to renew the ban, which expired in 2004, and blamed lawmakers for being too “terrified” of the National Rife Association, which has lobbied against the ban, to actually do it. (source)

Public Supports Gun Control

  • "According to the new poll, 49 percent of Americans want gun laws made more strict, while 27 percent want no change and 18 percent want them to be less strict."(May 2014)
"92 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents and 72 percent of Republicans support tightening background check laws. Support for states taking guns owned by mentally ill people wasn't quite as unanimous, but was supported 76 percent to 10 percent among Democrats, and 46 percent to 25 percent among independents. Republicans were about evenly divided, with 40 percent in favor and 38 percent opposed."

Even some Republicans think that restricting the use of assault rifles makes sense:

  • Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a strong ally of the National Rifle Association and its legislative priorities, told CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday that she could support tighter regulations of high-capacity magazines in the aftermath of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

    “You know, I think we ought to be looking at where the real danger is, like those large clips, I think that does need to be looked at,” Hutchison, who is retiring from the Senate, said. She added, “it’s the semi-automatics and those large magazines that can be fired off very quickly. You do have to pull the trigger each time, but it’s very quick.” (source)
  • Last month, I sentenced Jared Lee Loughner to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in
    correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths
    federal prison for his shooting rampage in Tucson. That tragedy left six people dead, more than twice that number injured and a community shaken to its core.
  • Loughner deserved his punishment. But during the sentencing, I also questioned the social utility of high-capacity magazines like the one that fed his Glock. And I lamented the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban in 2004, which prohibited the manufacture and importation of certain particularly deadly guns, as well as magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
  • [...]I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos. I say it as someone who thinks the Supreme Court got it right in District of Columbia vs. Heller, when it held that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to possess guns for self-defense. (That's why I have mine.) I say it as someone who, generally speaking, is not a big fan of the regulatory state. (source)
  • Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) told The Republican/MassLive.com on Wednesday that he now supports federal action to ban assault weapons after the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Brown, who lost reelection in November to Elizabeth Warren, was once a darling of the National Rifle Association, which awarded Brown a lifetime ‘A’ rating during his first senate campaign for 2010′s special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s senate seat. Brown had supported the state’s assault weapon ban but remained opposed to any federal action until last week’s tragedy changed his mind. “As a state legislator in Massachusetts I supported an assault weapons ban thinking other states would follow suit. But unfortunately, they have not and innocent people are being killed…As a result, I support a federal assault weapons ban, perhaps like the legislation we have in Massachusetts,” he told the news organization. (source)
  • During an appearance on CBS’s This Morning on Wednesday, GOP pollster Frank Luntz starkly admitted that the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) widely-panned proposal to put armed guards in public schools in the wake of the tragic shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School is out of touch with public sentiment and the American people. (source)

Parents of Victims Speak out

"That's what the [National Rifle Association] is thinking right now," Parker said. "The NRA is saying, it will go away. And, you know, they are the most
Alison Parker
powerful lobby in the country. And someone has got ... to take them on. By God, I am going to do it."
  • "The father of one of the California shooting victims eviscerated politicians for not enacting stricter gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting."
'“Where the hell are these people we elect to congress that we spend so much money on? These people are getting rich sitting in Congress, and what do they do? They don’t take care of our kids. My kid died because nobody responded to what happened at Sandy Hook.”' (Source)

Solutions:

We need a Ban on Assault Weapons and large capacity gun clips:

  • It worked before. From 1994 to 2004 we had a ban on assault weapons. And during that period the homicide rate declined where previously it had risen.
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