Guest Editorial, January 19-22, 2013
January 19, 2013
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, consider the following pertinent facts about guns in America:
1) With nearly 300 million privately owned guns contributing to more than 25,000 gun-related deaths annually, the U.S. is responsible for 80 percent of the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined. That is over 70 every day, and nearly equal to U.S. highway fatalities.
2) Our video games and movies are not more violent, and we do not have more criminals or wacky people, than other economically similar countries.
3) As demonstrated by those who try to take guns onto airplanes, our Second Amendment right to bear arms is not unlimited.
Too many people die from "lead poisoning" in America. So what should we do? Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Center for Prevention of Gun Violence, and others advocate the following steps:
To reduce gun deaths, restrictions of this type appear to be both essential and, according to recent polls, acceptable to a large majority of Americans, despite strident opposition from the NRA. However, recognizing that gun violence is a multidimensional cultural problem, we should consider adding culturally oriented steps like the following:
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The primary right of every citizen is to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." That does not require "taking away our guns." It just needs a reasonable balance between our Second Amendment rights and public safety. Please urge Congress to take prompt, thoughtful, and comprehensive action on the president’s recommendations.
After decades of concerted effort to make American automobile travel safer, despite a huge increase in travelers and miles driven, highway deaths are at their lowest level in more than a generation, without taking away anyone’s cars. We can do that for gun violence too.