Gun violence, gun control and the NRA

Opinion+columnist+Brenna+Wolfe+discusses+the+recent+upsurge+in+gun+violence+in+the+United+States+and+the+NRA%27s+lobbying+influence+on+issues+related+to+gun+control.
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Gun violence, gun control and the NRA

Opinion columnist Brenna Wolfe discusses the recent upsurge in gun violence in the United States and the NRA's lobbying influence on issues related to gun control.

Opinion columnist Brenna Wolfe discusses the recent upsurge in gun violence in the United States and the NRA's lobbying influence on issues related to gun control.

TNS

Opinion columnist Brenna Wolfe discusses the recent upsurge in gun violence in the United States and the NRA's lobbying influence on issues related to gun control.

TNS

TNS

Opinion columnist Brenna Wolfe discusses the recent upsurge in gun violence in the United States and the NRA's lobbying influence on issues related to gun control.

BRENNA WOLFE, Opinion Columnist

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This year in the United States, there have been 50,400 incidents relating to guns, according to Gun Violence Archive. Specifically, this year there have been more than 12,540 people killed and 25,900 people injured. Some 3,000 children under the age of 18 have been killed or injured by a gun. In addition, there have been 293 mass shootings and 1,638 unintentional shootings. Those are the statistics for this year alone.

In Iowa, from 2014 to 2017, 254 people have been killed due to gun violence. 100 children under the age of 18 have been injured or killed. We have had four mass shootings and 107 unintentional shootings. Eight officers have been shot or killed.

Since the beginning of 2014 until Oct. 24, 2017, there have been 1,282 mass shootings in the United States, and 53,694 people have died because of a gun, also according to Gun Violence Archive.

We need to face that we have a gun violence problem. We need to enact comprehensive gun control, but what is actually effective?

Earlier this year, the New York Times published “How to Prevent Gun Deaths? Where Experts and the Public Agree,” which displays survey results on 29 gun control ideas. They were looking for the intersection of effectiveness and popularity.

According to the research, the three most effective gun control policies had over 80 percent public support. The first was “requiring sellers to run background checks on anyone who buys a gun,” which received an effectiveness rating of 7.3 out of 10 and had 86 percent public support. 20 out of the 29 gun control policy proposal had over 70 percent of public support.

These are not crazy policies that take away all guns. It’s common sense gun control legislation like “preventing sales of all firearms and ammunition to anyone considered to be a ‘known or suspected terrorist’ by the FBI.”

That’s right. In the United States right now, terrorists can purchase guns legally.

You may be asking: if 20 out of 29 policies have overwhelming support from the public, why isn’t Congress enacting laws?

The answer: the NRA.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is an extremely radical lobbying machine that does not represent the majority of NRA members and non-NRA gun owners.

The NRA is quite literally the lobbying puppet of the firearm industry. The Violence Policy Center estimates that between 2005 and 2011, the firearms industry donated as much as $38.9 million to the NRA.

Chief Wayne LaPierre of the NRA believes that the right to bear arms means the right to any kind of firearm for any reason without any rules for everyone. They want no regulations whatsoever.

The NRA machine uses its money and power to silence responsible politicians and squash practical efforts to reduce gun violence. Every legislative proposal relating to gun control is ruthlessly attacked through smear tactics, giving funds to political opponents and blackmailing legislators to vote against it.

The NRA is the biggest political bully this country has ever seen, and this beast has Congress in its fists.

The NRA stays alive through donations by the firearm industry and using scare tactics to persuade members. The NRA says rhetoric like “the government is coming for people’s guns” and “background checks are a ‘slippery slope’” and “disaster is around the corner, make sure to have a gun.” Peter Cohan, writer for Forbes, describes this whole process as the “NRA Industrial Complex.”

According to the LA Times, the NRA has been stopping the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from doing any research at all on gun violence since 1996.

Why? The CDC stated that gun ownership is a risk factor for homicide in the home. The NRA immediately lobbied to have the CDC’s funding stripped for uses of tracking gun violence.

This shows that the NRA does not even want the American public to know anything related to gun violence. They quite literally do not want gun violence to be tracked or researched.  

Before we can stop gun violence by enacting common sense legislation, we have to stop the NRA.

So, if you are a gun-lover, speak out against the NRA. They don’t have your interests at heart; they want your money, and they want to scare you into buying more guns in order to get a profit. Spread the message that you can love guns and dislike the NRA.

We need to meet the NRA at the table. If you can, donate money to the NRA’s biggest lobbying competitors, like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America or Everytown for Gun Safety. Follow them on social media and stay in the know.

When speaking about gun control, stick to the facts. Universal background checks have 86 percent public support, which means that most people want common sense gun control. Nobody is taking any guns away.

If we all work together, maybe 12,540 people can live next year instead of facing a gun death.

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