The Aurora, Colorado movie killings bring up once again the second amendment and right to bear arms issue. The first 10 amendments in the US Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, are like the 10 Commandments in the Bible. They are etched in stone in our history just like the 10 commandments in the Bible. And the 2nd amendment protects the right to bear arms.
The National Rifle Association (“NRA”) is the ultimate defender of the 2nd amendment since their organization’s inception in 1871. The NRA is also a powerful political entity whose gun industry members are worth more than $60 billion a year. Their political contributions help to lobby against any gun control in this country. And persons like the Aurora killer are legally allowed to buy assault weapons, with the NRA’s blessing. Assault weapons can kill multiple persons at a time and terrorize a nation.
A recent Al Jazeera article printed some interesting facts on the background of guns in the US:
- The US gun industry is estimated to be worth more than $60 billion a year
- There are roughly 300 million firearms owned by civilians in the country, which has a population of 311 million
- There are at least 88 guns per 100 residents in the US, making it first in the world in gun ownership per capita
- By contrast, Serbia, which is second on that list, has 58 guns per 100 people
- 2/3 of all murders in the US are committed with firearms
- In 2010, that amounted to 8,775 out of nearly 13,000 murders
- 13 people were killed in the Columbine High School shooting in April 1999
- 10 people were killed by DC Beltway Sniper in 2002
- 6 school girls were killed in Pennsylvania Amish country in 2006
- 32 people were killed by a student at Virginia Tech University in 2007
- 6 people were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was wounded in 2011
- 3 students at Ohio’s Chardon High School were killed in March 2012
Another comparison of guns in the US and in the world in one year found:
- 17 killed in Finland
- 35 in Australia
- 39 in England and Wales
- 60 in Spain
- 194 in Germany
- 200 in Canada
- 9484 in US ( 8,775 in 2010) (11,493 in 2009 per US government statistics)
Sales of guns are on the rise as if buying a gun is the solution to our problems.
Last year’s Arizona killings and wounding of Gabrielle Giffords failed to bring about any meaningful dialogue to the gun issue. The recent Trayvon Martin killing has also done little to spark a real debate on guns. And I suspect the Aurora, Colorado movie killings and shootings will also not have a real impact on debate. And the real reason is that politicians are not willing to address the issue. The issue of gun dialogue is like the racial conversation in this country. I guess you could say it’s complicated. Over half of the states with Stand Your Ground laws make it almost easy to kill—by asserting a fear of someone taking your life.
The powerful NRA and its contributions to politicians is the main reason that guns are not going away in this country; Democrats don’t want to address the issue and most Republicans are beholden to the NRA—just like the recent vote against Health Care Act in Congress showed. And neither party will address it in an election year. And since we have elections every two years, it’s difficult to see when is a good time to bring up the topic. If the issues are to be addressed, it will have to be a grass roots effort.
We’re able to control foreign terrorist bomb attacks better in the US than controlling gun laws because the NRA has nothing to do with terrorist bomb attacks. We cannot control domestic terrorist attacks involving assault weapons and guns because the NRA will not allow it. And guns killing people in mass attacks are an act of terrorism. Emotionally unstable people are not the problem—guns are the problem. And owning more guns is not the solution.
Republicans are sleeping with the NRA with their political contributions and many Democrats are hiding in the closet from them. And with those political attitudes, I don’t see how gun laws will change in this country. Yet, somehow we need to take our country back from the NRA. The NRA, just like Osama bin Laden once did, is helping to hold us hostage to terrorism. And as long as they hold us hostage, there will be more gun terrorism in our midst.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She also writes for the Huffington Post.