Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tighter Gun Laws: A Hot Topic in America

 ProPublica published an article with statistics on gun control. Pictured are politicians involved in many sides of the issue in an article called "Where Congress Stands on Guns" including funding from the NRA. The issue raises so many questions in my mind for investigators that I wrote the publication this letter.

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My Letter with Questions to ProPublica

Thank you for this informative article about gun control. To find out who is on the other political side of the issue from where I write on my blog is very useful. Until recently it hasn't been a hot-button political issue for years because many politicians have tried to stay away from the topic and keep it out of the limelight. But that is no longer a possibility, not after Aurora and Newtown, and the practical issue of gun ownership is becoming extremely personal and divisive. So it's useful to know the facts as the issues become more discussed and as Americans form personal opinions about an issue so heavily shaded by experience and family values.

An article in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, yesterday published a chart of gun laws state by state. The article didn't promise their statistics were 100% accurate. But it did show many, many states have ZERO gun laws. That was huge news to me, so I blogged about that. Getting more numbers like this would be useful.

So more hard facts like these in your article are very useful to me personally. From your article, it appears that more politicians are in favor of an assault weapons ban than not. That's good news. I wonder about their attitudes about handguns, temporary licenses for guns, banning gun sales at shows, stronger gun registry for all weapons, including inherited?

I'm also concerned about how medical and sociological and psychological research into gun violence has been effectively muzzled, completely unfunded, and profoundly discouraged by intimidating pro-gun groups. Would like to hear more details about that. Incredible to hear that freedom of speech doesn't extend to official statistics: why violence happens, who is affected, how gun injuries and deaths affect victims for years, and where gun violence is most likely to happen. How are police rewarded or discouraged from dealing with gun-related violence if their weapons are less powerful than assault rifles?

 The Supreme Court should not allow civilian weapons in all situations, in my view so that is a very grey, foggy topic. But what about the attitude of the Supreme Court, as well as the general population, to the controversial Second Amendment? Just as yelling fire in a crowded theater isn't allowed, neither should weapons be. It's very off-putting to go to a movie theater with 12-24 theaters [as I did last week] and see a similar number of armed guards!!! A ban makes life so much easier.

And most politicians take money from the NRA. What's not clear is how many other gun groups provide them with money. It's not clear why politicians have the attitudes towards guns they have, and whether family experience with guns changes their attitudes. If they have guns for self-defense, have they ever used their guns?

And if mental health professionals must now add more names to a database to stop patients from buying guns, isn't that going to slow (and probably stop) patients from getting the help they need from doctors and psychologists? It's well known that the Rolling Stones gained more help from a judge who forced them to get help with the drug problem they had instead of imprisoning them.

With over 14,000 murders in the US [last year] compared to minimal numbers in the remainder of the civilized peaceful world where guns aren't encouraged, banning guns is a no-brainer to me, but the statistics help.So while everyone stops and thinks about gun laws, we need to have the facts, which is where you can help so much. Thank you, ProPublica for this article, and please keep them coming on this crucial topic.

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