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Riben: Facts/Revelations re US Gun Control or Lack Thereof

Mirah Riben has a provocative article on dissident voice entitled “Statistics, Politics and Solutions in the Gun Discussion.” The following is a listing of many of Riben's enlightening facts and revelations.

1. FBI statistics for homicides in 2011:

Total homicides:                                  12,664
Firearm homicides:                               8,583
Hammer and Club homicides:               496
Knife and other blade homicides:        1,694

2. "2009 findings for homicides by the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes state that 66.9% of all homicides in the U.S. were from using firearms."

3. "More than a million Americans have been killed by guns since 1968 – more than in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and various smaller conflicts, combined."

4. "More than half of all gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides and not included in numbrers above. Nor are accidental fatalities by guns of all kinds included." Re report from National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, January 2013.

5. “The United States suffers far more violent deaths than any other wealthy nation, due in part to the widespread possession of firearms and the practice of storing them at home in a place that is often unlocked, according to a report released Wednesday by two of the nation’s leading health research institutions.” Re report from National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, January 2013.

6. “The end of federal research into gun violence came in 1996 when Congress first passed a National Rifle Association-backed amendment to a CDC appropriations bill that prohibited spending federal dollars on research that could be used to “advocate or promote gun control.”"

7. “More restrictions on data came in 2003 when Congress passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., that barred the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from using an electronic database to record gun sales."

8. International firearm death rate comparisons gathered on Wikipedia :

The U.S. has 10.2 per one hundred thousand gun-related deaths; Switzerland, 3.84; Finland, 3.64; France, 3.0; New Zealand, 2.66; Canada 2.13; Israel, 1.86; Norway, 1.78; Sweden, 1.47; Denmark, 1.45; Germany, 1.10; UK, .25; Singapore, .24; Japan, .007.

9. "It is estimated that there are 270,000,000 civilian-owned guns in America, ranking the U.S number 1 in private gun ownership of 178 nations, per GunPolicy.org. Not surprisingly, 15 of the 25 of the worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States, a “major” gun manufacturing nation with 5,400 licensed firearms manufacturers in the United States in 2011."

10. “...Finland has a higher rate of gun ownership than the U.S. with a far lower homicide rate.  While 41% of American households have guns, in Finland, 50% do. This indicates that it is possible to reach a goal of reducing homicides while upholding our second amendment right for gun ownership, by enacting stricter restrictions."

11. “...to apply for a gun ownership license in the United Kingdom, Finland and Germany, one must provide a valid reason to own a gun, such as hunting, target practice or collecting, and pass criminal, mental health and addiction background checks. Germany also requires that a gun safety proficiency test must be passed to receive a license, and in the UK, gun licenses must be renewed every five years. In the U.S., gun licensing laws vary by state.”

12. “Nations with the lowest gun homicide rates all have violent video games and none have achieved their levels of safety by having armed guards posted at their children’s schools.”

13. “In addition to all the suggestions on the table to reduce gun violence, could we not work toward making guns safer, at least child-proofing them?  A novel idea might be to utilize our engineering, design and technological skills to devise a weapon that would be accurate at a good distance and allow multiple, repeated shots – something current Tasers, or “stun” guns are not capable of – but which could paralyze rather than kill. ... It might also help reduce suicides and would certainly eliminate accidental deaths by gunshot – especially among children who gain access to their parents’ unlocked and loaded weapons."

14. "Polls and surveys have indicated that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is in conflict with their own membership on issues such as criminal background checks for sales at gun shows and between private owners. Yet the NRA remains a powerful lobby for gun manufacturers and ammunition dealers.  It even has congressmen within its ranks, such as Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) that have gotten legislation enacted that ties the hands of the ATF – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice."

15. "Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) who allegedly accepted the NRA’s coveted Defender of Freedom Award in 2006, inserted legislation into the Patriot Act that same year that restricts the ATF by prohibiting them from creating a federal registry to track gun sales, and barred them from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor. But Sensenbrenner didn’t actually write the ATF clause; he simply inserted it into the Patriot Act. The person responsible for writing the clause was Rep. Todd Tiahrt, who claims the solution is to urge the ATF to enforce our existing 2,200 gun laws. Rackjite.com points out that many of the executive orders recently signed into law by President Obama were to overturn the Tiahrt Amendments, ”which Tiahrt admits were written for him by the NRA.”"

16. "40% of guns in the U.S. are sold through unlicensed, private sellers. This is in addition to sales from 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers in the United States. There are more than three times the number of licensed firearms dealers than grocery stores (36,569) and far more than the number of McDonald’s restaurants (14,098) in the U.S. (2011)."

17. "Bans on assault weapons, and restrictions on the number of ammunition clips that one person could purchase, have been put forth to help stem the tide of homicides."

18. "Other solutions call for stiffer penalties for those who violate gun laws, from illegal sales to procurement; harsher punishments for those who use firearms in the commission of crimes; as well, perhaps, for those who did not adequately lock up their weaponry in order to prevent them from being used in the commission of a murder. All have strong opposition. Yet civilian protections are continually enacted to meet current needs. We live with searches at airports, safety caps on medications, seat belts, and bike helmet laws. All of these infringements on our rights and freedom exist and are updated as needed ... There is thus no reason that our second amendment right to bear arms cannot have some restrictions as well, if we can get the lobbyists out of the business of writing our legislation, reversing not just the violence facing us but also our democracy becoming a Corporatocracy."

[cross-posted on open salon]

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