Bob Costas was right

Let me start by saying I don’t want to take away everyone’s guns. I’ve been target shooting and had a good time. I approve of hunting as long as the hunter uses the animal for more than a trophy.

But the United States has an appallingly high murder rate and it’s because guns are so readily available.

Someone who has had domestic violence charges against him (or her) should not have a loaded gun in the bedside table drawer. Someone who has committed a violent crime of any sort should not have access to a gun.

For someone with anger issues, a gun is just too handy, and Jovan Belcher’s actions followed the classic profile of an abuser. He snapped, killed his girlfriend and then felt so guilty he killed himself.

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, there are 16,800 homicides and 2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence each year, and the cost is $37 billion.

According to the Violence Prevention Center, “an analysis of female domestic homicides (a woman murdered by a spouse, intimate acquaintance, or close relative) showed that prior domestic violence in the household made a woman 14.6 times more likely, and having one or more guns in the home made a woman 7.2 times more likely, to be the victim of such a homicide.”

In other words, if abusers didn’t have guns (and federal law prohibits anyone with an order of protection filed against them because of domestic violence to have a gun), the murder rate among women would go down dramatically.

I’m really, really tired of hearing that guns don’t kill people; people do. People with ready access to guns kill some 10,000 people in this country every year. The only countries that rank higher in gun deaths are South Africa, Colombia and Thailand. Even Mexico ranks below us.

The United States leads the world in gun ownership, with 88.8 guns per 100 people, and 34 percent of Americans owning guns. That includes collectors, many of whom own antique guns that no longer work. But it also includes people who think they need an arsenal of guns to battle the United Nations’ black helicopters.

In terms of gun homicide rate (per 100,000 population), only eight nations — Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belarus and Barbados — beat the United States, which registers 2.97 homicide gun deaths per 100,000 people.

Most other developed nations run just a fraction of our per capita gun death rate:
Switzerland (0.56), Canada (0.54), Germany (0.47), Finland (0.43), Ireland (0.32), Denmark (0.26), England (0.12), Australia, Japan, Korea? way, way below us, and Singapore at 0.02 and Hong Kong at 0.01 barely even register.

We need to have a conversation. This is not about Obama coming to take your guns, it’s about making guns a little less available to people who use them to kill other people. It’s not about whether Bob Costas was out of line when he talked about the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide, it’s about starting a serious conversation.

We don’t need assault weapons. We don’t need guns that shoot a hundred shots a minute. We don’t need guns in every home.

Bob Costas was talking truth when he quoted Fox News columnist Jason Whitlock. And since Costas often offers up commentary during football halftime, his words were not inappropriate.

The National Rifle Association has turned the conversation from responsible gun ownership and reasonable regulation to advocacy for a free-for-all that’s just short of anarchy.

It’s time to steer the conversation back to a reasonable course. Remember, the Second Amendment talks about “a well regulated militia,” not about every home having an unregulated cache of assault weapons.

 

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