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September 27, 2020
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Gun violence in the U.S. and globally

By: Irene Hilsendager
August 16, 2019

With all of the violence the last two weeks resulting in mass killings of 29 in a 15-hour span, something has to be done. Do we need to take lessons from European countries?

Did we forget the mass shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, Newtown and Dayton? These horrific events have come to define the United States as violent. 

In 2017 there were 14,000-gun murders and more than 24,000-gun suicides. The United States gun violence is really on another planet. 

The United States has nine times per 100 killings than Canada, 38 times more than Germany and 70 times more than England. The politicians now say that it is all due to mental health and violent video games and why is it always angry young white men? Can America actually learn from these tragedies?

Everybody argues about the Second Amendment to the Constitution. What does it really mean? No one is sure what the first clause of the amendment really means and in 1970 when the new leadership of the NRA came on so now it is that everybody has the right to bear arms.

The Second Amendment provides the United States citizens the right to bear arms. Ratified in Dec. of 1791, the amendment says, “having just used guns and other arms to ward off the English, the amendment was originally created to give citizens the opportunity to fight against a tyrannical federal government.” Going out to do a mass killing is not a right and doesn’t say anything in the Second Amendment about mass killings.

Only three countries in the world currently have a constitutional right to own a gun: The United States, Mexico and Guatemala. The US is the only country with a right to keep and bear arms with no constitutional restrictions.

Americans own nearly half of all the civilian-owned guns in the world and on a per capita basis, the United States has far more guns than any other nation.

Justice Warren Berger said the Second Amendment did not confirm the right to bear arms. It was for states to organize and to bear arms and the right to have a gun was to do your duty for the state.

It is pretty clear that the last ten years we have had a broken political system and the political system will stand in the way to get better gun laws. There are many angry people just because the younger people want to have gun laws changed.

The lesser populated states such as Arizona, Utah and Oklahoma have the same number of senators as Ca. The rural interests are over represented and the gun control will face an uphill battle.

The POTUS has said we must reform our mental health laws. And the shooters were mentally ill. How does he know when the majority of the shooters were killed? It is the NRA that is lobbying in the White House and little people will never win against the NRA. Everyone is searching for a solution, but nothing is being done. In 2017 100,000 people were killed with 63 active shooters had never ever been diagnosed with a mental illness. We again assume by defining them as insane. They may be different but being angry and narcissitic is not a mental illness.

Gun deaths are not all due to mental health problems. Over 14,000 homicides and 23,000 suicides are due to guns as guns are more effective than ropes, pills or knives. There is a 90 percent success with firearms.

Many other countries such as India and China if they do cause mayhem, it is usually with a knife and not a gun. Doctors in the United States literally fear when patients from mass shootings enter the emergency room as most doctors are not trained for mass destruction. In 1996 in Australia a mass shooting occurred with 35 people shot dead. A 20-year-old walked into a cafe, pulled a gun out of his bag and started shooting. A mom and her two children flagged down a car for help and in the car was the gunman. He killed mom and her two children. Mass shootings have shocked Australia. Politicians were very conservative in Australia, but they did agree on a ban on automatics, semi-automatics, installed registrations and changed laws like no other country ever has seen. Over 600,000 guns were then eliminated and the suicide and gun killing fell 65 percent. 

Now there is finger pointer to violent video games. No, it does not lead to more violence. Japan is obsessed with video gaming. There is no other country more ardent about video games than Japan and they play more violent games than the U.S.  However, Japan has stricter gun laws. No person in Japan shall possess a firearm. It is almost an obstacle course to own a gun in Japan.

If an American citizen living in Japan wants to legally own a gun, he must listen to twenty hours of lectures, take a long shooting test, have a  full psych exam, go five times through a police interrogation, have to show a map of their home where the gun will be stored and must renew the license regularly. It usually takes one year to get approved.

Japan has fewer guns than any country. There gun rate is low and had nine-gun murders in the time that the United States had 600 times that of Japan. 

Even Japanese mobsters do not carry guns. To them guns are like nuclear weapons. Gun infractions are very high and to fire a gun will deem a prison sentence. They have many guns like the US but less in fractures.

Switzerland has shooting festivals to test for marksmanship. Switzerland is a gun lover paradise. There is a gun to every 28 people. Why is Switzerland armed to the teeth? All able-bodied men must serve 245 days in the militia. The militia can have shells at the shooting’s competitions and contests and some start training at the age of 12. But guns are allowed in the homes, but no shells are being taken home. Gun homicides rates are lower than the United States, actually 21 percent less. Many countries have stricter gun laws than America and must pass back ground checks and every gun purchased have to be registered with the government. These lessons from all over the world should be put into place as guns are an epidemic in the United States. 

One commonality is the lack of facts and is there a link between guns and violence? Most serious gun massacre are then decided if the shooter is mentally stable. And why are there so many shootings in the United states and especially among young white men. 

The Second Amendment was put into effect to keep kids and people safe in the streets. The sad part of it is we know how to do it, but nothing gets done.

The Red Flag law in Ca., enacted in 2014, is a law official or immediate family member can ask a judge to issue a Gun Violence Restraining Order if a gun owner is feared to be a danger to himself or others.

Will we wake up another morning, turn on the television and hear of another 50 or more  killed because some angry white young man wants to be in the center of attention.