After the horrific shooting that took place at the AME church in Charleston, South Carolina last month, President Obama sat through an interview with comedian Marc Maron. In this interview Maron asked Obama what he believed would happen as a result of the shooting and Obama replied with brutal honesty. He stated that he believed that gun manufacturers would “make out like bandits, partly because of this fear that’s churned up that the federal government and the black helicopters are all coming to get your guns.” He continued on to state his belief that our country has a “unique” absence of common-sense laws pertaining to gun safety.
This past holiday weekend, nine people were killed and more than 50 more were injured in Chicago in a shooting. With all of the buzz about gun control among society, it’s time to clarify the facts from the myths.
Myth Number 1: Gun control would never pass Congress
Two years ago, 54 US senators voted in favor of a bill that supported gun control. The legislation did not pass in the long run due to four Democrats concern about their electoral chances in the midterms. However, in regards to the 2016 election, there are more Republican seats available which supplies Democrats with the opportunity to take control of the Senate back. Additionally in the 2014 elections, both Dan Malloy, the Connecticut governor, and John Hickenlooper, the Colorado governor, were re-elected even after passing comprehensive gun control bills.
Myth Number 2: Americans are not in favor of gun reforms
After the Sandy Hook elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut took place in December 2012, overall support for universal background checks increased drastically. More recent polls have revealed that on average about 80% of Americans are in support of such reforms (Roberts and Siddiquie, 2015).
Myth Number 3: Gun control won’t reduce gun violence
According to The Guardian, “there are more than three times as many Americans killed by guns per capita than in any other wealthy country, and more than 10 times the rate in comparable larger countries such as Britain, France and Japan.”
Although these countries are comparable to the United States in regards to factors such as crime, drugs, urban deprivation and youth violence, they have less gun violence due primarily in fact to the fact that they have less guns.
Myth Number 4: Switzerland and Israel lack gun control but are OK
Switzerland is home to the ownership of more firearms across their nation yet their inner cities see less gun violence than the majority of other European countries. However, the country actually ranks second highest to America among wealthy countries in annual gun deaths even though they have half as many guns per 100 people than we do here in the states (Robert and Siddiquie, 2015). Another factor that weakens the argument that Switzerland and Israel are just fine without gun control is their strict permit requirements - must be renewed one to four times each year.
Myth Number 5: Guns are a vital form of self-defense
NRA president, Wayne LaPierre, can be quoted after the Newtown shooting stating, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”
The nonprofit Violence Policy Center found, based off of information from the FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics, that “for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides.” Those figures do not include the estimated 22,000 suicides and accidental shootings that occur annually as well (Robert and Siddiquie, 2015).
Myth Number 6: Gun laws are ineffective, shootings still take place where they are strict
The mass shooting that took place in September 2013 at the Navy Yard compound in Washington led to the argument that with DC having some of the strictest gun laws in our nation, gun control is undoubtingly ineffective.
This theory can be proven false because of the simple fact that criminals also have access to cars enabling them to obtain firearms from nearby states or counties with less gun control laws. There are no laws that currently classify gun trafficking as a crime.
Myth Number 7: Universal background checks would create a federal database of gun owners
The rumor that spread about two years ago throughout the Senate that a national registry of gun owners would be kept if a bill implementing background checks was passed was false. It was a common misconception that this type of bill would “infringe on the liberties of gun owners in America.” The Manchin-Toomey legislation forbids any kind of federal database of that nature from being formed.