NARDI: It’s time to face gun facts

Tom Nardi

Republican politicians, specifically Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich, have been forwarding the notion that increased guns means increased safety. In fact, they’ve been hyping the notion that all states should pass concealed-carry legislation. They think all citizens should have the right to carry concealed handguns on their person to counter a hypothetical threat.

Let me be the first to say that their arguments sound, on face level, logical. After all, if I were to shoot and kill someone with my gun, he wouldn’t be able to shoot and kill any more people with his gun. It’s simple, really. The only problem is the arguments don’t pan out.

Studies have repeatedly shown that increasing the supply of guns does nothing to decrease the supply of gun violence. In fact, one 1993 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that “guns kept in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance.” It follows from the Gingrich/DeLay argument, actually; if people have guns, they become tempted to use them.

What have been shown to decrease gun violence are – surprisingly enough – tighter restrictions on gun ownership. After England banned handguns in 1997, crime recorded by the British Crime Survey fell by 14 percent between 1999 and 2002. After Australia banned handguns, then Attorney General Daryl Williams found that “firearms [were] being used less often in murder, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault and armed robbery in 1998 compared with 1997,” according to www.guninformation.org.

The fact of the matter is guns kill people. While it’s true that people are ultimately responsible for pulling the trigger, guns make it easier to kill people. Politicians catering to the wishes of the NRA tend to claim guns can be used to take down assailants. But this misses a larger issue: the assailants are also wielding guns.

Carrying guns to counter guns makes life as an American a literal arms race. We tried an arms race as a country in the Cold War. And while the Soviet Union bankrupted itself before we did ourselves, we are now left with a bunch of weapons – nuclear weapons that everyone realizes are dangerous. Point being, no one wins an arms race. At best, you come out listening to Fall Out Boy.

There is no denying that there is an extreme gun problem in America. According to www.tompaine.com, we are home to 200 million guns, over half of the world’s privately owned total. In 2000, 28,000 people died from gun-related violence; 1,200 of those deaths were accidents, according to www.csvg.org. That should be enough on its own to make us reconsider our stance on guns.

Opponents of gun control legislation say that law-abiding citizens can be trusted with guns, and that’s true. As we see too often, people acquire guns and ammunition legally. They are law-abiding until they start killing people, and by then it is too late. We need to take proactive measures now to stop bloodshed. The Second Amendment isn’t a death sentence.

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Tom Nardi is a junior political science major from Philadelphia, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected]