Gun violence in America is off the chart compared with every other country on the planet. The gun–homicide rate per capita in the US is 30 times that of Britain and Australia, 10 times that of India, and 4 times that of Switzerland. When confronted with such a large deviation, a scholar would ask, ”Does America have some potential cause for this that is also off the chart?” I doubt that anyone seriously thinks we have 30 times as many crazy people as Britain or Australia, but we do have many, many more guns.
There are 88.8 firearms per 100 people in the US. In second place is Yemen with 54.8, Switzerland with 45.7 and then Finland with 45.3. No other country has a rate above 40. The US handgun ownership rate is 70% higher than that of the country with the next highest rate.
The fact of the increasing ease with which Americans can buy ever more deadly weapons is also obvious. Over the past few decades, crime has been declining, except in one category. In the decade since 2000, violent crime rates have fallen by 20%, aggravated assault by 21%, motor vehicle theft by 44.5% and none firearm homicides by 22% but the number of firearm homicides is essentially unchanged. What can explain this anomaly except easier access to guns.
Confronted with this blindingly obvious casual connection, otherwise intelligent people close their eyes.
Congress passed the first set of federal laws regulating licensing and taxing guns in 1934. The act was challenged and went to the US Supreme Court in 1939. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, said that the Second Amendment grants people a right, that is not one which may be utilized for private purposes, but only one which exists were the arms are born in the militia are some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state. The court agreed unanimously.
Things started to change in the 1970s as various right – wing groups coalesced to change gun control, overturning laws in the state legislatures, Congress and the courts. But Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative appointed by Richard Nixon, described the new interpretation of the Second Amendment in an interview after his tenure as one of the greatest pieces of fraud – I repeat the word fraud – on the American public by special interest groups that I have never seen in my lifetime.
So when people threw up their hands and say we can’t do anything about guns, tell them they’re being un-American – and unintelligent.
Excerpt from Time Magazine 8/20/2012