Letter to the Editor in the Southampton Press, Feb 22nd 2018, by James Ewing:
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was the 239th school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012 and overall there have been more than1600 mass shootings since then. On average, two dozen children are shot every day in the United States, and in 2016 more youths were killed by gunfire — 1,637 — than during any previous year this millennium.
Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 48 percent of the world’s guns, estimated at more than 330 million—roughly one firearm for every citizen.
From 1966 to 2012 more than 31% of mass shootings worldwide —in which four or more people were killed—were by Americans. Only Yemen has a higher rate of mass shootings among countries with more than 10 million people and Yemen has the world’s second-highest rate of gun ownership after the United States.
A 2015 study by the NIH estimated that only 4 percent of American gun deaths could be attributed to mental health issues, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by a false correlation with mental health or any inherent cultural baseline violence. “Epidemiologic studies show that the large majority of people with serious mental illnesses are never violent. However, mental illness is strongly associated with increased risk of suicide.”
According to this analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries around the world it was concluded that gun control legislation tends to reduce gun murders.
Between 1999 and 2015 the Center for Disease Control claims there were 533,879 gun related deaths. That’s an average of 33,367 killed every year.
So what is preventing our Government from enacting sensible gun control legislation if the correlation between gun access and gun violence is so well understood? What is the status of the debate right now? How are we doing?
The National Rifle Association gave $5,900,000 to Republican candidates and $106,000 to Democrats in the 2016 election cycle. The debate is governed by the obvious players and persuasions. “Republicans will never do anything on gun control.” says Rep. David Jolly, (R-Fla.).
Don’t vote for Republicans. Republican control of the government ensures that nothing is done to address a problem that kills more than 30,000 people every year. Don’t vote Republican.