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Modern American politics are corrupt, hyper-partisan, and gridlocked, yet the mainstream media has failed to cover this as anything but politics as usual. This blog allows me to post my views, analysis and criticisms which are too confrontational for posting in mainstream outlets.

I am your host, Josh Sager--a progressive activist, political writer and occupier--and I welcome you to SarcasticLiberal.blogspot.com

Monday, December 17, 2012

The United States of Gun Violence

As I previously stated, I am transitioning my blog from this Blogger account to a custom domain through WordPress. My new address is www.TheProgressiveCynic.com and it will be the primary place for all of my future articles. That said, whenever I post an article on my new blog address, I will post an excerpt and link to the full article on this blog.

© Josh Sager – December 2012
In a foreword to this article, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families of the December 14th school shooting. Such a tragedy is awful enough when the victims aren’t children and I cannot image what the parents must be going through. I hope that the families of the victims get as much support as they need, and would hope that everybody has them in their thoughts.
Gun violence is reaching near-epidemic levels in the United States, yet our politicians are failing to act. Lax gun laws and a culture that is desensitized to gun violence have created a situation where thousands of Americans die each year due to guns, but our politicians are afraid to do anything.
In December 2012, there have been two mass shootings (one in an Oregon mall and another in a Connecticut school), leading many to say that now is not the time to talk gun control. These people argue that to bring up gun control in the aftermath of a mass-shooting is to “politicize a tragedy” and is insensitive to the victims. In a normal climate, this point might be valid, but, in our country’s current predicament, we simply don’t have enough time between shootings to waste. Every day, approximately 25 Americans are murdered with guns. How many days (and lives) can we spare, waiting for the time to be right for increased gun control?
According to FBI statistics, 68,720 Americans were murdered domestically during the time period of 2007 to 2011. Of these victims, 46,313 were killed by firearms—to put this into perspective, this translates to an average of 9,263 murders per year or 25 murders per day. These death tolls don’t even begin to illustrate our country’s gun problem, as it fails to account for accidental deaths and injuries due to gun ownership.
Out of all western industrialized countries, the United States has the highest gun ownership rate, and the highest homicide rate. According to a study by UCLA professors, the United States’ per capita gun homicide rate is over 19X higher than any other country of comparable development levels (ex. England).
In addition to the random gun violence with the USA, there have been over 60 mass-shootings within the United States since 1982 (mass-shootings are classified as shootings where over 4 people are killed). To make this statistic even more worrying, eight of these shootings occurred this year alone. Such an increase leads many to believe that mass-shootings will simply continue to increase in frequency and severity until somebody does something to curb the ability of some to perpetrate violence on those around them.
Gun Laws
Regardless of ones’ personal opinion on the issue of gun ownership in the United States, it is settled law that the 2nd Amendment to the constitution prevents the government from enacting blanket bans on firearms. In Distract of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court affirmed this interpretation of gun rights and struck down a Washington DC law banning firearms. That said, the American government has broad powers to regulate gun ownership and to intercede in situations which pose a danger to the public The government can regulate many aspects of gun ownership, including:
  • What types of weapons can be sold (ex. assault weapons bans)
  • Who can legally own weapons (ex. felons can have their gun rights revoked)
  • Where weapons can be legally held  (ex. banning guns in government buildings)
  • How people buy guns (ex. mandating background checks/waiting periods)
  • Registration of weapons (mandating that all guns be registered with the state)
Unfortunately, gun laws in many states are absolutely inadequate and must be reformed if we are to stop gun violence. Many states, particularly in the south, have deregulated guns to the point where there are simply no real ways to prevent violent or disturbed people from obtaining weapons.
To continue reading this article, please follow this link: http://theprogressivecynic.com/2012/12/16/the-united-states-of-gun-violence/