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Letter: Guns Don’t Kill, It’s The Bullets That Do?

Opinion - Gun Control

I realize I will most likely receive backlash for this however it should be noted that at the time my writing this the media is reporting that at least 26 people (20 children) are dead at a school in Newtown, CT due to the latest episode of gun violence in our country. 

Since 2000, there have been no less than 18 episodes of gun violence (mass shootings) carried out with a total of 176 dead and many more injured in the US.  I think it is important to note that since from 2000-2005, there were only 3 of these crimes and from 2005 until 2012 there have been 14.  All of these killings have been carried out by men and there are a few other interesting trends.  (Source Los Angeles Times)

* 53% were carried out by men under the age of 30. 

* 29% were carried out by students (high school or college)

* 82% occurred between 2005 – 2012 (The Brady Bill which on assault weapons was allowed to expire on September 13, 2004)

* 31% occurred between 2010 -2012

* 18% occurred between 2000-2005

The NRA

From 2000 – 2008 lobbying by the National Rifle Association spending for the most part was essentially flat due to what I would assume was a more firearm friendly Republican atmosphere in Washington and a war time environment.  You will note that from 2008 –present, the spending has almost doubled which again leads me to conclude is due to a Democratic and traditionally anti-gun environment. Note that 2012 totals are not complete however they are included through June of this year below and suggest the same aggressive spending pattern.

Mental Heath Services

Since fiscal year 2009 (most recent data available), states have cut more than $1.6 billion in general funds from mental health agency budgets (source NAMI).  The state cuts also coincide with recent declines in federal Medicaid funds which all but eliminate any mental health safety net. 

Based on these facts, I wanted to ask 3 questions:

  1.  Does it make sense as a society to allow guns to be readily available given our track record?  Personally, I think the time has passed and we need a new model of ownership.  Interestingly, I am not anti-gun.  Instead, I feel that we have not looked into other options for ownership or been creative about it assuming that an all or nothing model applies.
  2. Is the NRA helping or hurting the cause by throwing money at our lawmakers with the hope to dampen or eliminate laws that “might” otherwise serve the general public to lessen these crimes?  While I believe that those who belong to the NRA truly believe in responsible gun ownership, I also believe the NRA is hurting the society at large through their lobbying.
  3. How will cutting or eliminating an already frail safety net serve the general public in proactively detecting some of these men before it is too late? 

As a society, I do not understand how we can turn our back and assume that if we ignore mental illness and lax gun control laws these scenarios will simply go away.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Govstench December 20, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Mr. Burt, your data from the LA times is from a liberal source and is subject to bias. I just don't trust it. Also, regarding the gun laws, people say that a ban on assault rifles should be put back into effect. I have no objection to it BUT society is against it as they don't trust the government to just stop there - they will want to ban the rest of them. I would stick to the arguement instead of trading jabs on being anonymous.
Mike Burt December 20, 2012 at 10:45 PM
This is from Fox News. Fair and Balanced enough? http://video.foxnews.com/v/1750026625001/protesters-storm-anaheim-police-station-after-fatal-shooting/
Dark star December 21, 2012 at 01:08 AM
@Mike Burt, your Fx news link is about people protesting a cop shooting an "innocent" civilian. It is NOT related to Sandy Hook. C'mon man you are embarrassing
Mike Burt December 21, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Tired of NK antics - Govnstech wrote: "▸When was the last time you encountered a situation where an individual stormed a police station to kill police? Never." This was the reason for my response. In future, my suggestion is to read the entire thread.
Dark star December 21, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Oh I read the entire thread Mike as well as the link. What were the protesters going to use kill the police, their signs?

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