The gun nuts, especially in Arizona, will argue with you until they are blue in the face that because the state’s gun laws allow just about anyone to own a gun and carry it around concealed to just about anyplace they want, including bars, that the state is a safer place for it. They would be wrong. In a recent Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor, Richard Reay of Riverdale, NY, made his point by using the 2010 FBI Violent Crime Statistics report.
As an example, there are 408.1 violent crimes and 6.4 murders/manslaughters in Arizona per 100,000 population compared to 392.1 and 4.5 in New York. In the same comparison, Texas is 450.3 and 5.0. Reay’s letter was reacting to the typical inaccuracy of a gun freak who spews out whatever garbage the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) tells him to. The guy, a Californian named Dave Culver, was ranting over the fact that the people of New York were less safe because they had been disarmed by their civic leaders.
To add to Culver’s misinformation, Reay tells us that gun-related robberies and aggravated assault in New York were around 20 percent and 25 percent that of Texas and Arizona, respectively. (also in FBI Crime Statistics) With the population growth of cities like Phoenix, Dallas and Houston, the density rate is adding to the problem, and when you give anyone in those metropolitan areas a handgun that asks for it, you are just asking for trouble.
If you want to check out gun laws by state, Wikipedia has excellent access to the data with facts on each facet of buying and carrying a handgun. For example, New York requires a permit to purchase, the owner must register the weapon, assault weapons are not allowed and there is a limited conceal carry law; you cannot carry a gun into a bar or state offices or government buildings.
In direct contrast, Arizona requires no permit to purchase, registration is limited to federal laws, assault weapons are allowed, and anyone, literally anyone, can walk around with a concealed weapon. Texas laws are very similar to Arizona but the latter stands out as the state with the most lax gun laws in the U.S. In a ranking by The Daily Beast, Arizona ranked second in gun deaths per 100,000 pop., Texas 23 and New York 45.
The facts don’t lie and don’t talk to me about recent reports that overall crime is down in the U.S. That would be right but there is still absolutely no excuse for even one murder due to a handgun being in the wrong hands, much less the recent massacres in Tucson and at Virginia Tech. The above reports even came with the news that shootings—yes, that would require a gun—of law enforcement officials has increased for the second year in a row, 23 percent in 2011.
Good gun control suggestion from Delaware Gov. Jack Markell here.
Paul Helmke, former Mayor of Ft. Wayne, Indiana and also a recent President of The Brady Campaign, exclaims that an astonishing 40 percent of guns are purchased without a background check. To illustrate this, the state of Indiana does not require documentation to either sell or buy firearms. On the other hand, California is ranked number one for its universal background check system, dealer regulations and assault clip ban.
And there is where we should start with more gun control. Ban large capacity magazines like the ones used in Tucson and at Va. Tech. Require a background check for every firearm purchase to stop mentally ill from getting them. Close the gun show loophole where private dealers have to require little or no information to purchase a weapon. By the way, Indiana is tied for 38th according to the Brady Campaign when it comes to laws preventing gun violence.
With the above revelations, you would think that at least progressive congressional Democrats would get behind legislation for at least the three issues above. And where has President Obama been on gun control since his election and his reaction to Gabby Giffords shooting? The American public has also softened on gun control, that is until one of their own is taken from them. Yes, hindsight can be a great thing but in this case, it is too late.
Read more on my Nasty Jack blog