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Thursday, November 13, 2008
Gun Crazy in America
Let me begin this with saying, I have nothing against legal, responsible gun ownership. Both of my oldest daughters are avid hunters and my father has a large collection of guns. I have been around guns all my life.
However, I am disturbed by the rapidly increasing gun sales in the United States. Gun sales were reportedly 14% higher than 3 months ago. Commentators have 2 theories on the increase of gun sales: 1.) the rotten economy and fear of being robbed; and 2.) the fear Obama will outlaw ALL gun sales (which is ridiculus).
For many years now, I have been in support of stricter regulations for buying firearms and a longer wait period before purchase. After all, why do hunters or people wanting to protect their property need an assault rifle?
There are too many convicted felons, underage children, illegal immigrants and mentally ill with access to guns. I feel a longer wait period and a more thorough background check would stop some of these people from gaining access to guns.
The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the pre-existing individual right to possess and carry weapons (i.e., "keep and bear arms") in case of confrontation. The wording of this amendment states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
The meaning of the 2nd Amendment depends upon who you talk to. The National Rifle Association (NRA), which has the 2nd Amendment (minue the militia clause) engraved on its headquaters building in Washington, insists that the Amendment guarantees the right of individuals to possess and carry a wide variety of firearms. Advocates of gun control contend that the Amendment was only meant to guarantee States the right to operate militias.
According to the National Education Association (NEA): 3,012+ children and teens are killed each year by gunfire in the United States - that equals one child every three hours; eight children every day; and more than 50 children every week. This does not include the 15,000+ kids and teens who suffer from non-fatal firearm injuries every year. They also state: Faulty records enable terrorists, illegal aliens and criminals to purchase guns. Over a two and a half-year period, at least 9,976 convicted felons and other illegal buyers in 46 states obtained guns because of inadequate records.
Other statistics from the NEA: Every day more than 80 Americans die from gun violence; the rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined; and the stat that scared me the most: Only 2% of federal gun crimes were actually prosecuted. Eighty-five percent of cases prosecuted relate to street criminals in possession of firearms. Ignored are laws intended to punish illegal gun trafficking, firearm theft, corrupt gun dealers, lying on a criminal background check form, obliterating firearm serial numbers, selling guns to minors and possessing a gun in a school zone.
No one wants to take your guns away, but there needs to be some accountablity for all the handgun violence in America. Someone needs to protect the innocent from becoming another statistic of "the right to bear arms."
I am a married mother of 3 grown daughters and I have 2 granddaughters and 1 grandson. I currently have a gardening column in the Sunday's Advocate Messenger and I freelance for Kentucky Monthly magazine and Examiner.com.