US gun massacres mount up, but no more gun control. Why? (+video)
The United States has seen a string of recent mass shootings, but support for stiffer gun control has dropped. NRA chief Wayne LaPierre – and most Americans, polls show – say the emphasis should be on the mental health system.
At a memorial service Sunday evening, President Obama will join the loved ones of the 12 people killed in a rampage at the Washington Navy Yard in last week.Skip to next paragraph
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“I'll be meeting in mourning with families in this city who now know the same unspeakable grief of families in Newtown and Aurora and Tucson and Chicago and New Orleans and all across the country, people whose loved ones were torn from them without headlines sometimes or public outcry," Mr. Obama said in a keynote speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Saturday night.
Obama also acknowledged his failure to get new gun-control legislation passed.
“That means we've got to get back up and go back at it, because as long as there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun, then we've got to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children,” he said.
Not surprisingly, National Rifle Association (NRA) executive director Wayne LaPierre has a different view.
“The whole country knows the problem is there weren’t enough good guys with guns!” Mr. LaPierre said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in reference to the navy yard shooting Monday. “When the good guys with guns got there, it stopped.”
No matter which point of view one chooses to emphasize, statistics gathered by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence are grim:
• One in three people in the US knows someone who has been shot.
• On average, 32 Americans are murdered with guns every day, and 140 are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room.
• Every day on average, 51 people kill themselves with a firearm, and 45 people are shot or killed in an accident with a gun.
• The US firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.
• Although guns can and have been used successfully in self-defense in the home, a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to injure or kill in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.
The cost in children’s lives – those killed and those who have survived but are still dealing with the physical and emotional effects of gun violence – is particularly heartbreaking.
Nearly one in four American teens has witnessed a shooting, according to the Brady Campaign, an average of eight children and teens under the age of 20 are killed by guns every day, and American children die by guns 11 times as often as children in other high-income countries.
One of the 13 people wounded in a gang-related assault rifle attack in Chicago Thursday night – law enforcement officials said it was a “miracle” that no one was killed – was a 3-year-old child. The 14-year-old son of one of those killed at the navy yard had been shot and killed four years earlier.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., last December – which killed 20 first-graders and six adult educators – many observers believed the time had finally come for tougher gun control in the United States.
But that has not happened.
Congress failed to adopt expanded background checks for the 40 percent of gun sales requiring no checks. Two pro-gun-control state legislators were bounced from office in a recall election. The NRA has successfully lobbied to prevent other measures, such as restrictions on the purchase of military-style assault rifles and large ammunition magazines.