LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Conscientiously voting for sensible gun laws

The National Rifle Association once upon a time supported sensible gun control measures before becoming opposed to them when competing gun manufacturers began complaining about reduced market share. Isn’t it all too often about the profit motive! No need to question that fact.

The NRA then reversed course by going along with all the gun manufacturers to advertise all the new gun products and accessories that began evolving over the last three decades. Their marketing successfully created a national fetish.

Buying advanced technology rifles, bump stocks to convert them to automatic mode, and high-capacity magazine accessories up to 100 rounds or more is a fetish American’s need to see for what it is. These “accessories of irrational devotion” aka fetishes, began to supersede sales of X-Box video games and point and shoot sophisticated digital cameras.

In contrast to the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and several other countries, have not had a school shooting in a decade or two due to their adoption of sensible gun control laws. I thought we were supposed to be that shining beacon on a hill that was a paragon for all other countries to hopefully emulate? To the contrary, our grievances, too often petty ones, continue to keep us at war with one another.

Statistics illustrate that Americans of high school age are 82 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than teenagers in the rest of the developed world. Mass shootings here, defined as killing and/or wounding four or more human beings, has also been occurring more frequently in the last two decades.

From 1981 to 2000, there were 22 mass shooting incidents in the United States with high-capacity magazines and/or bump stocks that resulted in 84 dead and 219 wounded in various settings. 12 mass shootings were in the workplace, four in eating and drinking establishments, two in outdoor locations, and four in school settings. Source: Violence Policy Center in Washington, DC. www.vpc.org

In contrast, the two following decades from 2001 to 2018 have witnessed 42 mass shootings with high capacity magazines and/or bump stocks, almost twice the mass shootings of the previous two decades, resulting in 457 dead and 814 wounded.

Deaths increased more than five times and wounded increased by more than four times the previous two decades. 13 were in the workplace, six were in eating and drinking establishments, 11 in outdoor locations, five in churches, and seven in schools, including two universities.

School shootings accounted for only 11 of these mass shootings out of the 64 mass shootings with high capacity cartridges and or bump stocks.

Are we going to observe the next two decades of potential increases in mass shootings without blinking an eye? What are our politicians getting paid for? Campaign contributions from the NRA and gun manufacturers should be outlawed so they can start voting with a conscience instead of their pocketbooks.

Bill Clemens

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