“Per capita gun deaths in the U.S. are exponentially higher than other nations. Is the difference that we, as a people, are that much more susceptible to mental illness? Or is it that we have the most liberal gun laws in the world?” (David Axelrod)

Several months ago, I heard about an innocent South Carolina woman mistakenly shot while simply entering her own home. As a long time gun owner, it was horrible to hear. Was the shooter impaired? I don’t know.

Why did it happen? Are Americans just more violent or crazy? I don’t think so.

Guns Over People by Mario PiperniDue to NRA lobbying, we have had a tremendous increase in the gun supply in the USA. This occurred although the vast majority of citizens want gun control per every survey. Why?

Do you remember the narcissistic NYC reality star who promised to drain the swamp? He received $30 million from the NRA for his 2016 campaign. So much for doing what the people versus corporate America (gun and ammo manufacturers) and their pressure groups want.

Does Trump really believe more guns will cause fewer shootings, the NRA “good guy/bad guy” talking point? Or, is he just beholden to the special interests and scared of one issue voters?

And, the problem doesn’t stop there. For example, in my home state of Georgia politicians receiving an “A” rating from the NRA include: Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, plus Representatives Buddy Carter, Sanford Bishop, Austin Scott, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Doug Loudermilk, Rick Allen, and Tom Graves. All want NRA campaign funds. The same is true all over the South.

The AMA, not a group of lefty socialists, stated years ago that gun violence is a growing public health issue. I was at a public health conference in Atlanta recently and publicly asked the head of the CDC why they don’t do more research on this topic. He said there’s no funding.

Why doesn’t Congress give the CDC money to research ways to reduce gun deaths instead of restricting this research? Instead of billions for an unneeded wall, how about a few million for studies designed to lower the number of gun deaths, currently over 40,000 annually (much more per capita than any other democracy). And, yes, the NRA is right that many of these deaths are accidental or suicides. Does that make them any less dead?

Pro-gun newsletters state over and over that the lefty “gun grabbers” are coming to confiscate our guns and must be stopped. Don’t these newsletters know that it is impossible to just take away American’s 300 million guns? However, we can control who owns them so that they are accessible to criminals, the mentally unbalanced, drunks, druggies, wife beaters and other people likely to misuse them.

Gun owners don’t all support the NRA extremist position. I certainly don’t. Many others would not if they did not listen to the right-wing false propaganda about “gun grabbers” and existing laws being just fine if they were enforced. With family members who were FBI employees, local police officers and prison guards, I guarantee you that lazy cops are not the problem.

I have always thought that there’s a middle ground on guns where both gun owners and others can come together. Reasonable limits can be placed on guns, while still permitting reasonable personal firearms. For example, Congress could pass stronger laws to:

  • Establish an accurate national gun sale data base;
  • Do thorough universal background checks, including at gun shows (now exempt) with reasonable waiting periods;
  • Stop criminals, the mentally unbalanced, drunks, druggies, wife beaters and other people from gun ownership;
  • Prevent gun sales to people on “no fly” and watch lists;
  • Stop private ownership of assault rifles like the one used in Parkland, and elsewhere;
  • Prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines;
  • Increase taxes on guns and ammunition to compensate victims and off-set law enforcement costs;
  • Raise the age to purchase firearms so that a child who can’t have a glass of wine also can’t buy a gun; and
  • Make parents legally responsible if a teenager uses their guns to kill others.

A Pew survey (4-4-17) illustrates most of these measures already have the overwhelming support of the majority of Americans. We should all know by now that prayer is not enough. Neither is loosening gun control, the knee jerk reaction of Southern legislatures, promoting even more shootings.

The fact is that many of our national and state officials are cowards. They know the truth about gun control but will never admit it. Tell your elected officials to stop taking lobbyist money and actually do something positive to control gun violence.


Editor's Note: this story first appeared on the author's blog, UniversalHealthReform.wordpress.com.

Image Credit: Guns Over People by Mario Piperni via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.