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In 1995 there were approximately 200,000,000 guns in possession of private citizens in this country. Now the estimate is 300,000,000 or almost 1 gun for every man, woman and child in this country. It is suggested that about 48,000 people will die as a result of gun violence in the United States during the next 4 years if no action is now taken.

What is the true benefit of future gun control laws unless we somehow address the issue of the almost incomprehensible present proliferation of weapons?

On December 15, 2012, 2 Brooklyn Churches offered a $200 gift card in exchange for a buyback of weapons. 134 weapons were collected. Since the program began in July 2008, a joint effort of the New York City police department and Brooklyn churches, approximately 9000 weapons had been recovered.

On that same day, a gun buyback program was announced in Evanston, Illinois, Camden, New Jersey, San Francisco and Oakland, and Durham.

In 1996, in reaction to the death of 35 people in a shooting massacre in Tasmania, Australia passed legislation banning semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and instituted a mandatory government buyback for these weapons. Nearly 700,000 guns were purchased from a population of approximately 12,000,000 people. In a study done a decade later, it was found that the firearm homicide rate declined by 59% and firearm suicides by 65%. There was no reported corresponding increase in homicides and suicides in non-fiream related incidents. Furthermore, mass shootings have declined to 0 since full implementation of the law.

In 2007 HR 3766 was introduced in the 112th Congress. By its provisions the Secretary of HUD would be permitted to make grants to local governments to conduct gun buyback programs. This proposed legislation was a renewal of the terms of HR 2493, which was before the 110th Congress in 2003. It followed earlier attempts. None got out of committee.

On September 13, 1994 Congress passed the Federal Assaults Weapon Ban, a ten year prohibition on the sale of 19 semi-automatic firearms and many high capacity magazines. In 2003, there was an attempt to renew the ban for an additional decade. Despite having 111 co-sponsors, the bill failed. Efforts to reintroduce the ban in later years met a similar fate.

If we are going to get serious about the issue of gun control, if we are going to enter into an actual debate, then we should consider a number of simultaneous measures. There has been recent talk, as there is each time a massacre occurs, of inadequate screening of those who purchase guns, especially those capable of mass (and massive) destruction. There is also the inevitable conversation relating to the mental health care challenges that are not met as one of the instrumental predicates for disaster. Yes, both of these are relevant and important.

But we fail to see the forest for the trees covered in guns. In addition to reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban, why can Congress not pass simultaneous legislation outlawing the possession of these weapons for the general public at present? And, in conjunction therewith, enact a law that would provide states with the resources to buy back these weapons, much as they did in Australia. The cost of doing this, given the enormous increase in gun ownership in our country, would be very significant. I suggest that the cost of not doing this is, and will continue to be even higher.

Cross-posted from Too Early To Call.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ban 'em, buy 'em back, melt 'em down and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, jennyp, Purple Priestess

    use the metal to create a monument to victims of gun violence in America.

    It's a thought.

    Handmade holiday gifts from Jan4insight on Zibbet. Get 10%off everytime with coupon code KOSSACK.

    by jan4insight on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:26:05 PM PST

  •  Excellent diary, this is an important part of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    answer to what ails us.

    As I said before, it won't cure our passion for violent solutions, but it sure will take care of some of the symptoms.


    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:28:42 PM PST

  •  On some local levels, it's already happening: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, jennyp, Gooserock, gramofsam1, Losty

    I find this encouraging.

    Handmade holiday gifts from Jan4insight on Zibbet. Get 10%off everytime with coupon code KOSSACK.

    by jan4insight on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:31:34 PM PST

    •  I Wonder How Many of Them Have Family With (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Losty, LeftyAce

      emotional or mental problems?

      The kind of people who'd do this voluntarily are probably unlikely to cause problems themselves. But I'd sure like to think that some who worry that they might have dangerous people in their lives would be among those taking this step.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:40:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  rsnuss - I am for starting with what can be done (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Senator Diane Feinstein, author of the first assault weapons ban, will have a new, more comprehensive bill to submit on the first day of the 113th Congress. It will not include prohibiting the ownership of assault rifles, just restricting sales of new weapons and large capacity magazines, closing the gun show loophole, better background checks, and more resources to keep up the list of people who can't legally buy guns. Let's see if we can even get that bill out of committee in the House. If we can, we should see how far we can push. Starting out with a proposal to take away, by threat of jail time, legally acquired assault rifles will make passing ANY legislation much more difficult.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:48:33 PM PST

  •  a voluntary buy-back program (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Massconfusion, KVoimakas

    you don't want the war that a forcible one would cause. I don't think.

    A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:55:47 PM PST

  •  What's realistic -- and what's toothless: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Massconfusion

    It is just not realistic in this nation to expect that the President/Congress can institute a forcible/mandatory buyback.

    But to do nothing along those lines, renders gun control legislation somewhat toothless.

    We need to figure out what middle-way is better than nothing.

    One idea - criticism welcome, I'd be curious to read it - is that we ban all future sales of the weapons that were banned in Australia.  And for the legally owned weapons that would be banned if sold, we establish a voluntary buy-back program and use media pressure to encourage participation.  Could we also pass a law that the weapons are only legal to possess within the confines of one's own property?  In other words, can be seized on sight if seen in public?  

    We need some kind of middle-ground change that is not toothless.

    •  Seized on sight if seen in public (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dogs are fuzzy, Utahrd, Torta

      does that mean everyone who walks into the range from a public street or anyone who hunts and has his gun in a truck window on a public road? If any of this is left to police interpretation it will end badly for citizens.

      I do not know what was banned in OZ but, the last 'Assault Weapons' (a phrase coined by Darling Diane) was all about gun cosmetics, except for grenade launchers and was essentially tootless.

      Hi Cat Magazine bans would help, although Ct already has one, as would backround check uniformity. We should also have a leader of somekind at ATF.

    •  Or let the insurance companies do their magic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Require all gun owners to have liability insurance. This alone would make it significantly more expensive to own guns. And then allow health insurers to charge gun owners more for health insurance. Let the 'free market' deal the death blow to the gun cult.

  •  A request (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy, Utahrd, KVoimakas

    The diarist states there are about 300 million guns in civilians hands, and that over the next four years 48,000 people will die as a result. This would be one person per 6,250 legally held guns, or .016%.

    As a liberal, progressive or moderate, whatever political stripe you are, name one other thing which people do safely and legally, for which you will enact punitive, preventative measures against over six thousand of them in order to reduce (not eliminate, reduce) the chance of one of them doing something illegal. Even if you add in every crime that involves a gun, well over 99% of guns in this country will never be used in an illegal manner.

    It is easy to say "but my case is special and the normal rules don't apply" (aka the "guns are different" argument). It is so easy that everyone says it.

    Which is why the last abortion clinic in Mississippi is on the verge of being shut down, why we have to go through nude body scanners at the airport, why we have warrantless wiretaps, waterboarding and execution of American citizens by drone. Because everyone thinks that their emotionally charged belief is worth someone else's sacrifice on the altar of the moment.

    The tragedy, the tragedies are almost beyond words. I just ask that you remember that the vast majority of gun owners are just as appalled by these lunatics as you are, that these gun owners not and never will be criminals, and they should not be treated as such.

    Whatever you propose should recognize that.

    •  hope your aim is better than your math (0+ / 0-)

      You missed a couple of zeroes.

      48,000 / 300,000,000 = 0.00016%

      Even so, your point is still bogus.

      In many facets of life today a failure rate of 0.00016% would be unthinkably high, or high enough to merit a strident response.

      Apply your number to commercial air travel. There are about 25,000 departures per day. So, if 3 or 4 commercial airplanes fell out of the sky each day people would just accept that as the price of convenient air travel...right? After all, why should we burden responsible operators with onerous FAA regulations?

      In any pharmaceutical or medical device recall you have ever heard of, in the worst of those cases the actual failure rate was about 1 in 10,000. Nonetheless, that's enough for the FDA to enact a nationwide recall...and no one talks about the guys in lab coats being jack booted thugs.

      The truth of the matter is that gun violence is a societal anomaly in the way we ignore its consequences. The diarist doesn't even mention the several hundred thousand violent crimes committed with guns every year. If the death and injury attributed to guns were caused by any other legal product in the marketplace it would be treated as a national public health crisis.

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by Joe Bob on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 10:43:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are about equal, actually (0+ / 0-)
        48,000 / 300,000,000 = 0.00016%
        48,000/300,000,000 = .00016

        You multiply that by 100 to get the percentage, or .016%.

        My argument was not about failure rates, it was about the government intervening in a perfectly legal activity to disenfranchise over six thousand people in hopes of catching one person doing something illegal. Not hazardous, not accident, not personal risk. Preventative, punitive measures against 6000 innocent people in hopes of stopping one deliberate criminal act. It is hard to come up with anything that matches the hyperbole against and villification of the overwhelmingly non-violent gun owning segment of the US population.

        But who knows? Maybe you think things like "stop & frisk" in NYC, or the "papers please" laws in Arizona are a grand idea.

        But if you can't make that argument, then don't. Changing the subject because you cannot make the argument does not somehow grant you the moral high ground.

        If I described someone as condescending, can't do basic math, and is unable to understand and respond to a simple argument, would your first thought be "liberal" or "brain-dead conservative"?

  •  Connecticut (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy, Utahrd, KVoimakas

    Already has the assault weapon ban. Like the federal ban that expired it only bans cosmetic features

    •  Important point but overgeneral (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KVoimakas, Joe Bob

      The federal ban did waste ink and law enforcement on things that had nothing to do with danger to the public, but the magazine capacity limit was more than cosmetic.  (It was also useless, given how fast it is to change a magazine, but not cosmetic).

  •  I have a different idea (3+ / 0-)

    about "banning" guns. How about if Congress lays out the type of gun that people CAN have, rather than trying to forbid certain types of guns, since people will always find loopholes around those regulations.

    In other words, simply legislate (as a beginning) that any type of single shot rifle can be legally owned (and double shot shotguns?). In addition, state that all legal handguns have to be a certain size, and can only hold X number of bullets at once.

    I admit that I don't guns well enough to know whether the above is a good example of what should be allowed. However, I really would love to see regulations that said what IS allowed, versus trying to write regulations about what is NOT allowed.

  •  The word KEEP. What level of 'keep' is that. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Charlton Heston level - Prying lose from the owner's cold fingers?

    So what if losing possession of your gun becomes a felony.  Failure to secure a deadly weapon.

    That would encourage some to sell in a buy-back.

    Hey, GOP - Get In, Sit Down, Shut up, & Hang On!

    by 88kathy on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:22:51 PM PST

    •  At that point it's too late. (0+ / 0-)

      Lanza's mother paid the ultimate price for facilitating a mass shooting.  That didn't stop it.

      •  going forward - pulling back the #ofguns (0+ / 0-)

        will not fix it,
        can't hurt
        less guns the better.

        More trouble to own a gun the better.

        Higher insurance for gun owners
        Higher taxes

        more responsibility



        Hey, GOP - Get In, Sit Down, Shut up, & Hang On!

        by 88kathy on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 11:05:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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