Thursday, January 27, 2011

Guns by the Numbers

2 In its ordinal form, second, amendment of the constitution giving citizens the right to bear arms
6 People killed by gunfire on January 8th at the Safeway in Tucson
9 The ages of Arizonans Christina-Taylor Green and Brisenia Flores, both killed by gunfire in Arizona
13 people killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999
14 People wounded by gunfire on January 8th at the Safeway in Tucson
18 Years from 1979 to 1997 when more Americans were killed by gunfire than died in all of America’s foreign wars
18 Rate of gun deaths per 100,000 people in Arizona (5th highest) which has a 60.6% gun ownership rate.
20 People arrested in Arizona for trying to illegally buy 700 weapons for the Sinaola Mexican drug cartel
31 Rounds Jared Lee Loughner’s magazine held when he shot Gabriella Giffords in Tucson
32 People killed at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.
59 Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers killed by gunfire in 2010
1994 The year when assault weapons were banned, only to expire by congressional inaction in 2004
6,600 Gun shops along the US-Mexico border
30,000 Deaths per year in America from gun fire
62,000 Guns missing from gun shop inventories over the last 3 years
10,000,000 Dollars spent by the NRA during the 2008 Presidential election
300,000,000 Guns in America
I have always been rather ambivalent with regards to gun rights and gun control.  The Chuck Heston “from my cold, dead hands” 2nd Amendment zealotry cut too close to his Colonel George Taylor “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” that I laughed at its absurdity. Similarly I shook my head in disbelief when liberals believed gun control solved all violent crime problems.  But recently, I have become rather concerned about the rationale being used by gun rights proponents to protect their 2nd Amendment rights.  In the last two years the justification and constitutional explanation has moved from the right for self-defense to the right to overthrow the government.  America has had this love affair with guns, being the hero, shooting the bad guy, and loving Dirty Harry Callahan.  Little boys played, before video games, cops and robbers, army, and cowboys and Indians.  I get that, but I don’t get the need to own 12 handguns or feel you need to own an assault weapon.  At the time of the Gunfight at the OK Corral in late 1880 Tombstone strengthened its existing ban on concealed weapons to outlaw the carrying of any deadly weapons within the town limits. The Earps (who were Republicans) and Doc Holliday were sworn officers whose jobs included enforcement of Tombstone’s gun laws.  It would not be hyperbole to state that the Arizona of 2011 is wilder and more dangerous than the Arizona of 1880.  I hope the President  addresses the growing problems of gun violence and the continuous erosion of common sense controls.  Sadly poor Ralphie Parker’s mom’s warning “You’ll shoot your eye out” won’t seem so funny anymore.  I hope I am wrong about that but right about the President.

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