Gun Violence

If you want to represent all the people, you have to listen to all of them.

I have had some interesting conversations with gun owners of late and have to admit, they have caused me to give this issue further consideration. Let’s look at some facts. In 2016 (the latest data released by CDC), there were approximately 38,000 gun deaths in the United States. Of this total 11,000 were homicides and 27,000 were suicides. Of the 11,000 homicides, the estimate is 2% or roughly 220 were related to the automatic weapon that has become the poster child for the gun debate, the AR15. So there is general consensus that the AR15 should be banned. Here in Oregon there is a voter initiative prop 43, to require registration of all semi-automatic weapons. If you go to the web site for this proposition, again the conversation is almost entirely built around the AR15. I do have some problems with this action. First, what defines a semi-automatic weapon? Merriam-Webster defines it as “able to fire repeatedly through an automatic reloading process but requiring release and another pressure of the trigger for each successive shot”. By that definition, there are many firearms that fit this definition, not just the AR15. I personally own a Remington 22 rifle that I got for my 16th birthday. Now it has not been fired since I was in college 40 years ago but, by definition, it is a semi-automatic weapon as it holds 16 rounds, reloads itself after each shot, and requires you to pull the trigger each time. Under prop 43, I would have to register this, even though I am fairly sure, its shooting days are long past.

So 220 people were killed by the AR15 and we want to ban it. What about the other 10,780 people that were killed. The AR15 gets the attention because it has been used in several horrific mass murders. But the reality is 10,780 people were killed by other guns. Are we reacting based on emotion or fact? As I said to a gathering of the Central Oregon Patriots, I will respect your right to your guns if you will respect my right to want to stop the killings.

And what about the 27,000 suicides. Homeless veterans who give up. Isolated and lonely people due to the new age of “social media”. People doped to the hilt by a pharmaceutical industry whose only concern is keeping America popping pills and their profits high. And the doctors who are clearly in their corner writing the scrips.

I pride myself on being a facts and figures guy. But like many good upstanding Americans, I got caught up in the emotion of the topic, and let that cloud my judgement as to how we tackle this very real and very terrifying reality of gun deaths in our country. People we have over-simplified a serious issue. As one man said to me, if you ban the AR15, will it stop the killings. No I replied, probably not. Then I challenged him with “do you know the NRA has been successful in preventing the CDC from doing further studies on this issue? Don’t you think we should at least study it”? He agreed yes. See. Progress already.

 

So I am modifying my stance. Not to appeal to anyone but, to get back to my common sense approach to things. So here goes:

1) The government to fund and take the hand-cuffs off the CDC to allow them to build a data base on all gun incidents, study the causes, and publish the results.

2) Allow the CDC to detail which firearms are the primary causal factor, show the results and take steps to eliminate those types of weapons.

3) Immediately ban the sale of bump stocks that turn semi-automatics into automatics.

4) Limit high capacity ammunition clips to 10 rounds.

5) 10 day waiting period for ALL gun sales.

6) Background check required to legally buy or sell any firearm, whether commercial or private.

7) Registration required for gun ownership. Come on people. Nobody bitches about registering their car or having to get a drivers license.

8) No exceptions for gun shows, internet sales, or person to person sales.

9) Finally, tell the NRA, whose primary focus is protecting sales for gun manufacturers, stay the hell out of the way. We need facts not BS.