Yes, NRA, guns ARE the problem

The slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary in a small, safe suburb in Connecticut, by a deranged 20-year-old toting nearly a half dozen of his mother’s cherished guns (one of which he used to kill her), has led us to once again, with great passion and futility, debate whether we should debate enacting stricter gun laws. Well enough of the debate already. And enough of the silly false equivalencies about cars and knives and throwing enough hardened loaves of bread at people to kill them just as dead. Because while it’s true that guns don’t kill people, people with guns DO kill people. And they do it a lot. And the more people with guns are around, the more people die.

Check out the firearm death rate by state and notice that with the exception of the deadly District of Columbia, ALL of the top ten deadliest states when it comes to getting shot are in the south or west. And those just happen to be the places with the loosest gun laws.

Just how strong is the correlation between loose gun laws and getting murdered, increasingly by a mass murderer rather than a regular one? Well, let’s just say that you are, right now, safer from getting shot in New York than in Vermont. And safer even in Illinois, with all its problems, than you are in Arizona. Those aren’t Democratic, bleeding heart liberal talking points, those are facts. Because while Chicago may be Murder City, the whole state of Illinois, with its relatively tight gun laws (at least for now, since the NRA is working diligently to roll those laws back) is only middling in terms of its dangerousness to its inhabitants. Same with California, despite the existence of Los Angeles and all those gangs.

But Louisiana? Well, with almost no restrictions on guns, a tight right wing stranglehold on everything, and lots of guns, it’s quite a deadly delight, New Orleans’ gorgeous French Quarter notwithstanding.

The map above is from Ezra Klein’s WonkBlog, which lists 12 facts about guns and mass shootings that you should really read.

And let’s not hear the bloviation about how Israel and Switzerland have lots of guns, because that has been debunked too. Both those countries have tightened their gun laws in recent years, and seen gun violence and suicide by firearm decline.

So what is the debate about? Americans need to name the enemy: the N.R.A., which let’s face it, represents the interests of gun manufacturers and their need for profits, not individual, responsible gun owners. And they need to fight them like they fought ALEC. Only then will scaredy-cat politicians from either party grow enough stones to enact sane legislation like renewing the Assault Weapons Ban.


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23 Responses to Yes, NRA, guns ARE the problem

  1. majii says:

    The NRA knows it is the problem, and the proof is that it has taken down its Facebook page and no tweets have been sent by the organization since Friday. I read on Charles Johnson’s site, Little Green Footballs, that RW bloggers are out in force providing the usual lousy, empty reasons for not banning assault weapons. I’m hoping that since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary snuffed out so many young, innocent, promising lives, that Americans are motivated to ignore the the NRA and RW bloggers who think there’s nothing wrong with a gun nut taking a semi-automatic or automatic rifle (or any type of weapon) into a school and killing innocent kids. I’m a retired teacher, and the deaths of these kids and school officials hit me very hard because I’ve been thinking that, but for the grace of God, it could have happened at the school in GA from which I retired in 2009.

    I continue to enjoy your insightful, commonsense and very factual input on MSNBC, Ms. Joy-Ann Reid, and I love the way you swat down misinformation from the RW pundits. Way To Go! Thanks!!!

  2. Guns are a big part of the problem, but not the whole thing. Add the availability of guns (the shooter’s mother was a law-abiding citizen, as far as I know, but does anyone need weapons that can fire *that* much?) to a diminishing respect for life and increasing narcissicm, and this is what you get.

  3. btheboss says:

    There IS a quick fix to our current gun safety issues. Fortunately, the fix can be accomplished relatively quickly (while we wait for other changes to background checks/psychiatric support and entertainment law that can take some time):
    The Steps of the Fix -
    1) Start treating gun operation like vehicle operation. The license to purchase and operate a gun or guns should not just include a background check but a PSYCHOLOGICAL evaluation as well. Any red flags could then lead to a full psychiatric evaluation, if purchaser still wants to continue the process of obtaining a gun or guns. [This screening tool would almost certainly have stopped the shooters of VIRGINIA TECH. and AURORA – who purchased their own guns while having no previous criminal record.]
    2) The license to own and operate a gun or guns should also involve a short formal training course in the safe use of the gun or guns covering, i.e., shooting, storage, cleaning and special considerations — like the presence of vulnerable persons in the home such as the mentally challenged and young children, etc. [Question - Does society allow citizens to obtain vehicle licenses and not train and test their ability to safely operate those vehicles? Answer - No.]
    3) The license to operate a gun or guns should only last four to five years and be re-evaluated, as is the license of a vehicle driver. [Question - Would society allow a vehicle driver (operator) to be licensed once at the age of eighteen and not again in his or her lifetime? Answer – I think not. Vision, hearing, reflexes and mentation all can change in five years let alone seventy or eighty years.] [Initial and/or periodic licensing of gun operators likely would have saved NEWTOWN from its recent horrific school shooting massacre. Officials would have pointed out to the mother (i) the folly of training mentally ill son to shoot; (ii) the problem with having guns and ammo in same house with mentally ill son; (iii) the tools to cope with feelings of guilt as she came to grips with the decision to commit her mentally ill son; and then (iv) the how to safely accomplish the committing process sooner rather than later.] [The two shooters at COLUMBINE used friends to purchase their guns. It is quite likely that the initial licensing process, in particular the psychological evaluation, would have picked up some red flags (for example likely unease of young purchasers hiding their intent to present recently purchased guns to another for nefarious reasons or reticence of purchasers to go through new gun operator training or even the possible revelation that one or both of the purchasers had a prior psychiatric history.]

    N.B. Gun owners who collect solely or mainly inoperable guns for the most part will not affected by the fix.

  4. JoyAnn Reid…my husband and I LOVE you! Just watching you subbing for Melissa Perry Harris and felt compelled to jump up and race to my laptop to write a note. You seem to be everywhere on MSNBC commenting and, boy, are your comments brilliant! You talk so fast, and thankfully so, that Chris Matthews can’t cut you off like he does to so many others [and I like him...he just interrupts too much.]

    So I wanted to reach out and say how much we admire your intelligence and common sense. I hope you will get your own show on MSNBC soon.

    Merry Christmas!


  5. chris says:

    The people who think guns are the “problem” should practice on a different, less emotional issue, identifying the difference between a problem, the symptom of a problem, and other factors. Also, take note of the difference between correlation and causation. The people who think the gun is the problem are actually part of the reason this country isn’t agreeing on a solution. Words matter, and the gun, an inanimate object, is not the problem. If a man kills me with an axe, is the axe the problem? If a woman drowns her child in the swimming pool, is the pool the problem? I’m dead either way, I don’t really care what type of weapon is used. I’m in favor of more stringent background checks and waiting periods, but the some of the people on the left are JUST as irrational. Anyone who thinks the gun is the problem demonstrates the logic of a child and will never contribute to a viable solution.

  6. Flo says:

    Don’t hear about too many mass drownings. The type of weapon does matter if you care how many get killed.

  7. chris says:

    the process of identifying the problem is not different if they were killed one at a time versus a “mass” killing. That’s silly. if someone chained the doors on a school and burned it down would the problem be the padlock, or the fire? Answer the question why are people violent and you will start to uncover the problem or root cause. The tool used to carry out violence is not the problem, and it is a simple mind that believes that it is. If the tool is the problem then we should stop burdening our police force with so many problems. As I said, I’m in favor of better, logical regulations, but there aren’t many well-reasoned comments coming from either side. The best solution will come from a measured approach to identifying the real problem without emotional and false rhetoric.

  8. Flo says:

    You can type a lot of words, but that doesn’t mean you’re not the one with the simple mind. It’s rather obvious that the guns AND the people using them are the problem.

  9. Khaidji says:

    Guns Kill People
    (Protect Your Home From A Killer)

    Growing national concern but still the NRA
    Unequivocally would want to say
    Not guns but people, bad people kill
    So don’t outlaws their gun with any Firearms Bill

    Killings are more rampant when there is a gun close to hand
    In the house, all guns should be immediately banned
    Look at the statistics and the horrors they tell
    Lots of domestic disputes triggered gunfire and innocents fell

    Protect your home from a killer, keep guns away
    Every child that killed another with a gun at play
    Or the accidents in homes, murders and suicides
    People using guns in domestic disputes ending in homicides
    Lots of the guns in the home are turned upon the owner
    Eliminate the deaths by guns, Protect Your Home From A Killer

  10. chris says:

    Your logic is the problem here. Nobody thinks the baseball bat is the problem when it’s used in an assault. It’s a tool. However when the tool is a gun, suddenly some people erroneously believe the tool is the problem. A gun in the hands of a law abiding citizen is not a threat. Calling a gun the problem will not make it so, neither will bad poetry.

  11. chris says:

    “I continue to enjoy your insightful, commonsense and very factual input on MSNBC, Ms. Joy-Ann Reid, and I love the way you swat down misinformation from the RW pundits.”

    @Maji – you have to be kidding! Common sense and this blog are strangers. Is the NRA the problem, or is the gun the problem? Make up your mind, but either way, you’re wrong. In the world of intelligent people the problem is violence and the weapons used are many. Do we only care about violence that involves a gun? I think that all murders matter, because either way the victim is dead and not coming back. To find out the cause of the violence problem we need to answer the question, “why are people violent”. In my opinion solutions start with mental health of our citizens. One of the solutions may indeed be more gun restrictions, but let’s please have a logical conversation where we don’t frivolously toss around words as was done in the blog post. Anyone who thinks the gun is the problem lacks the ability to identify a problem, a cause, and a symptom. Adults should be smarter than that.

  12. Flo says:

    longwinded, but not too bright.

  13. chris says:

    good decision on your part. It is better for you to be brief and say little than actually attempt to have a point and be further exposed as being high in feelings and low in logic.

  14. Morgan Brown says:

    As a person living in the South, I fear the possibility of disproportionate disenfranchisement of African Americans when the issue of gun control is linked to “mental health”. A number of citizens–often in the minority sectors–have been recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance payments, or what is commonly referred to as a “crazy check”. Economic factors such as low income, poor job prospects, and inequalities in educational opportunities have contributed to the use of the “crazy check” as a form of family supplemental income. There are now quite literally 100s of thousands of African American men, women, and yes young children who could find themselves barred in the future from purchasing firearms while their “sane” white neighbors are allowed to do so. Events such as “Rosewood” in 1923 are examples of how pitifully armed African Americans were subject to vagaries of white public opinion, leading to death by firearms, burning and hanging. In spite of individual attempts at self protection, the inability to fight back was evidenced in the unequal distribution of firearms. Minority populations at some future date could face similar persecution if they are disarmed. Examples would include the treatment of Jews in Germany, Armenians in Turkey, and our own history of race relations in the United States. For this reason I feel–and am not alone in feeling–that efforts toward gun control represent a step back and a potential political minefield in years ahead. Thank you.

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  16. joe common says:

    guns are not the problem. PEOPLE + GUNS + PROMOTION + PROLIFERATION = REALLY BIG PROBLEM. That guns should be any sort of focus in living life is also a sign of premature insanity.

  17. Brooke collins says:

    If the gun had not been in the home the person would have found another way to kill his mother and do what he did. This is rediculous to believe that taking away guns will be benifitial. This guy could (and may have if guns were illigal) got a gun from the black market. What we as citizens of the United States should do is police the schools with an officer that has or gun or give teachers a gun to protect themselves. NOT take them away that would not be good for the United States. Because then only criminals would have the guns. Examples are rapists, robbers, and mass murders.

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  20. Proud Californian says:

    If you really think guns are the problems over mental illness and pharmaceutical. Drugs… Then not only are you delusional but you drank the Kool aid as well. Do you folks even pay attention to the actually details or do you just believe everything cbs and cnn feed you? The only reason they are feverishly working on banning assault style weapons is because the us dollar may tank overnight and this will lead to mass civil unrest.. Did you know there are Google Earth images of tens of thousands of white UN vehicles in California and Florida… As well as the department of homeland security buying over 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. Which is 20 times more bullets then we’re bought for marines in Iraq war. I really hope you will put the pieces together… The general public is sheepish.. But we are not blind.

  21. Proud Californian says:

    I want you to take a look at places where there are already gun control laws… Places like Chicago… With extremely high homicide rate… How about Mexico… They count bodies by the dozens down there.. I see gun control worked for them right… Pay attention. Folks we are being duped

  22. kiss my A$$ says:


  23. Henry Bowman says:

    Sure, if we disarm all law abiding gun owners then the criminals will just throw theirs away because they will no longer need them and the world will be a better place.

    Can we group hug and sing Kumbaya now ?

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