A Person with a Gun Can Kill and a Person with an Automatic Gun Can Kill More

Sound bites capture us because of our emotions. Statements whether logical or illogical become effective only when the message is delivered in a succinct, easy to remember, and personalized manner. For instance, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.", was a very catchy statement made by the National Rifle Association president Wayne Lapierre a week after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday, yet, before the day was over, another mass shooting happened in a high school in Parkland, Florida. My family would often spend weeks in this "safe and beautiful" city of Parkland. This massacre occurred close to home. President Trump, in his first public address after the shooting, promised only to tackle "mental issues. Indeed, Lapierre's words could not be drowned. Years ago, Lapierre said, "How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation's refusal to create an active, national database of the mentally ill?"

Having mentally ill individuals is apparently the root of the problem. It is a simple message yet powerful. Guns do not kill, it is the person who does. And the message strikes a chord with people who hold the right to bear arms as sacred. Ironically, people do not seem to realize that a national database of mentally ill would equally impinge on another sacred right, the right to privacy. If gun control laws are difficult to pass, I am certain that it is equally if not more difficult to construct a national database of depressed, confused, deranged, isolated and angry individuals. In 2013, the State of Delaware could not even pass a bill that would impose stricter rules for mental patients' access to guns:

Above copied from WHYY
And research is very clear on guns and violence. Siegel and coworkers, in a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health, concluded:
We found no robust, statistically significant correlation between gun ownership and stranger firearm homicide rates. However, we found a positive and significant association between gun ownership and nonstranger firearm homicide rates. The incidence rate ratio for nonstranger firearm homicide rate associated with gun ownership was 1.014 (95% confidence interval = 1.009, 1.019).
That is a one-to-one correspondence between gun ownership and nonstranger firearm homicide rate. Guns do not make us safer. In 2017, Donohue and coworkers found that states that have passed "right to carry" laws should anticipate a doubling in their prison population.

The trend in school shootings is obvious: More deaths. But we choose to ignore the evidence. A Person with a Gun Can Kill and a Person with an Automatic Gun Can Kill More.


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