The chances of being involved in a mass shooting, while in the United States, are 12 million to one. The need to buy a gun for self-protection against a mass shooter, or terrorist, is purely psychological. The need for self-protection from terrorists, or the mentally ill with guns, is simply not a reality in the day-to-day lives of most people. Additionally, guns provide essentially no protection against bombs, a favorite weapon of terrorists.
The December, 2015, shootings in San Bernadino set off a gun buying spree that has become mixed with Christmas gift buying. This combination of short-term, emotional thinking does not provide much actual protection against mass shooting. It is, however, putting “many” more guns into circulation. From a sales perspective, this is good news for the NRA and the gun industry. For the people of the United States, it is bad news, because the more guns, the easier the access to them.
The state and federal governments, who are responsible for big picture thinking at the state and national levels, can do nothing to reduce the number of guns on the streets, because their actions are blocked by Republicans representing the NRA (Ted Cruz provides an excellent example.)
An all-or-nothing argument is made by Republicans and the gun industry against gun control. Their position is, if you can’t stop all gun problems with legislation, then there is no point in wasting the legislator’s time in such a foolish effort. Theirs is an argument of denial. They ignore the hard evidence showing places with more guns have more homicides and that easy access to guns leads to more shooting and killings. They instead argue more guns will make the general population safer.
In the United States, there is more gun violence than anywhere else in the world. Gun violence has become embedded in our culture. In many cities, armed gang members provide consistent support for the habits of violence. In New York City, and other cities, gangs use guns to engage in miniature wars over territory, relationships, narcotics, and minor disagreements.
Other countries have had great success in lowering gun violence, and in Australia, they have not had a mass shooting in nearly 20 years. Why? They passed intelligent gun control laws. After a gunman killed 35 people in the town of Port Arthur, in 1996, the public outcry prompted laws which severely restricted the sale of firearms. These laws were standardized across Australia, and are far more restrictive than those of any state in U.S., including California. They do not stop gun collectors and hunter’s from owning guns, but they do make gun ownership a little more difficult than the steps of purchasing, registering, testing and licensing, and getting insurance, needed to legally drive a car.
The U.S. has less than 5% of the global population, but is responsible for 31% of global mass shooters from 1966 to 2012. This is primarily because of the easy availability of guns in America, and a lack of gun control laws.
Bernie supports some very basic legislation, designed to keep “mass killers” from owning guns. People on the no-fly list should be barred from owning guns. A bill supporting this as a law failed in the Senate due to Republican denial, last Thursday.
Bernie also believes the U.S. should expand “instant” background checks. He wants to end a loophole allowing people to buy certain kinds of guns at gun shows with no background check. He, quite intelligently, believes assault weapons should be banned from civilian ownership.
Senator Sanders also believes it should be illegal for people to legally buy a gun, and then give it to criminals.
Additionally, he has called for a “revolution in mental health” to make sure that people who are suicidal or homicidal are able to get help, and do not have the freedom to purchase guns and assault weapons.
“Coming from a rural state, I think I can communicate with folks coming from urban states where guns mean different things than they do in Vermont where it’s used for hunting. That’s where we’ve got to go. We don’t have to argue with each other and yell at each other. We need a common sense solution.”