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.