Sunday, January 13, 2013

Obama's Gun Control: Facts and Statistics



Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to present his gun control proposals to President Barack Obama on Tuesday.  Biden has experience in formulating U.S. gun control laws. He authored the Assault Weapons Ban that became law in 1994 but expired in 2004 without renewal.


"The fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence," President Obama said in his White House response to a gun control petition.  "Ultimately if this effort is to succeed it's going to require the help of the American people... standing up and saying 'enough' on behalf of our kids."  


But do the U.S. mortality statistics support Obama's reasoning to "reduce the very worst violence...on behalf of our kids" with gun control laws?  


Very often, skewed numbers and anecdotal evidence are used by pundits, politicians, and journalists in the media to support one side or the other in the gun control debate.  Brevard Times will present the facts and statistics as clinically as possible in the context of policy justification and formulation.  But for readers who are skeptical about any numbers used by the media, the web addresses to all of the raw data can be found at the bottom of this article.  


All numbers cited in the article are based on 2009 U.S. death statistics which is the most recent year published by the U.S. Center for Disease Control.


Worst Violence

"Violence" is a broad term which could include suicides, homicides, and even when a police officer or crime victim shoots a bad guy in self-defense.  To narrow the term to just criminal violence against someone else - suicides and legal intervention deaths are excluded - leaving only homicides as "the very worst violence" mentioned by the President.  


The 15 leading causes of death in 2009 accounted for 80.7% of all deaths.  Homicides were the 15th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2009 at 16,799 - far behind other behavior-related causes of death such as heart disease (#1), accidents (#5), diabetes (#7), and liver disease (#12 at 30,558 of which 15,183 alcohol-related.)  It is true though, that a majority (68.4% or 11,493) of those homicides were due to the discharge of a firearm.  


In the U.S., 998 children ages 14 and under died as a result of a homicide in 2009.  However, the percentage of homicides due to the discharge of a firearm were much lower in that age range (23.4% or 234) when compared the the rest of the population.  


Inflated Numbers Used By Gun Control Advocates

The use of the 30,000 number in annual gun-related deaths by gun control advocates is disingenuous in the gun control debate if the underlying policy goal is public safety rather than "they just want to take our guns away" as gun rights advocates claim. This is because 18,735 of those gun deaths cited by gun control advocates were suicides.  


Firearms are the number one choice by suicide victims, followed by suffocation (which includes means such as hanging) at 9,000 deaths.  Poisoning is the third most common method of suicide deaths at 6,398.  The choice of method to commit suicide statistically appears related to a less painful, quicker, and more certain death.  Not surprisingly then, suicide by the more painful and torturous means of fire is the least chosen method of suicide at 161.


Another reason to exclude suicide deaths from the gun control debate is that those deaths are often single-shot events that do not have a rational relationship with limiting the type of gun or the number of rounds in a magazine clip.  Both of those proposals are being publicly aired by Vice President Biden prior to his meeting with President Obama on Tuesday.  


There may be a reason to include suicide deaths if a study were undertaken that researches how all of the victims obtained the firearm used in the suicide.  This is a complex sociological issue that may or may not be able to be proven with scientific certainty.  It would be difficult to show which suicide victims chose a different method if a gun was not available due to a background check because the victims are not available to survey after the event.   


If that elusive study somehow showed that more intensive background checks than those currently in place would have a significant reduction in suicide deaths, then, and only then, could firearm suicides be rationally considered in the gun control policy debate and formulation.
 


Public Safety "On Behalf of Our Kids": Drive 45 Before Taking Away 45s?

If the underlying gun-control policy is to protect children, then it would be prudent to look at leading deadly perils children face in their lives.  Traffic accidents were the number one cause of injury-related deaths for children ages 14 and under in 2009 at 1,548 deaths, followed by drowning at 704 deaths.  When accidents are included with homicides in gun-related deaths in children 14 and under, the number rises to 290.   


For all age groups,  there were 140,245 non-suicide deaths classified as injury-related in 2009.  Of those non-suicide injury-related deaths, the number one cause of death for all ages was poisoning (35,194), followed by motor vehicles (34,485), falls (24,877), and then firearms (12,612 of which 11,493 were classified as homicides) .


To significantly reduce the largest number of children prematurely dying from injury in the U.S., the policy focus would then shift to the leading cause of injury-related deaths amongst children - traffic accidents.

The National Maximum Speed Law was enacted in 1974 to reduce U.S. fuel consumption due to rising gas prices and gasoline shortages resulting from the 1973 Oil Embargo.  The federal law reduced speed limits to 55 miles per hour.  Just one year after the Assault Weapons Ban went into effect in 1994, federal speed limits were repealed in 1995.


In 2008, an extensive study was published which analyzed the effect of speed limits and traffic fatalities from 1995 to 2005 following the repeal of the National Maximum Speed Law.  The study estimates that the increased speed limits cost 12,545 lives and $12 billion during that period.  


The study concluded that: "Reduced speed limits would save lives; they would also reduce gas consumption, cut emissions of air pollutants, save valuable years of productivity, and reduce the societal cost of motor vehicle crashes."


Policy Justification For President Obama's Gun Control Laws

In order for President Obama to have the moral authority and policy justification for gun-control laws, he would first have to address and solve the non-Constitutionally protected issue of speed limits which has a proven causal relationship between policy and a much greater reduction in deaths.  Otherwise, gun rights activists are justified in claiming that Obama just wants to "take away our guns" for motives other than saving the lives of children.


Parenthetically, the absence of speed limit reductions becomes an elephant in the room when it comes to Obama's green energy policy requests for tax credits and regulation.  Again due to the more proven causal relationship between the reduction in speed limits and immediate reductions in energy consumption and emissions.


SOURCES:

Long-Term Effects of Repealing the National Maximum Speed Limit in the United States
http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2008.153726

CDC National Vital Statics Report

59 comments:

  1. From the guy who brought you Fast&Furious. When you commit a crime first thing you do is hide the evidence. He did so by envoking executive orders, Plain fact. Of course they want th guns, so they can move onto the next phase of their agenda.

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    1. That is nonsense with no background. This article at least is thoughtful and tries to discuss what is important and not what is reactionary. Important being namely, saving children's lives. When speed laws are included as part of the new laws, we have a government that is thinking. The statistics should go farther and consider population densities too, no sense in making people drive 55 in the empty vast open space areas of our nation (unless that can be proven to substantially save lives).

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    2. Obama and biden are both full of it.This had nothing to do with violence.It's about our freedoms.The violence is just an excuse.Biden is a dirt bag.

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    3. The whole gun thing is a obama scam to et our guns no matter if no one was killed.
      As soon as they can show me ,guns have minds and souls of there OWN Obama and Biden can shut there pieholes. along with frawlne frankenstien.

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    4. If they REALLY wanted to save thousands of our childrens lives every year, they would post armed guards to keep the drugs out of the schools, that kill our children by the thousands
      Give them my guns,NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. yes, until we eliminate the other more prolific causes of death in the states, we must do nothing on this particular source of death. sandy hook and other school shootings are a distraction. nay, we must stand strong! and not do a single thing until we fix the more popular sources of death. its like a call center, your problem will be solved in the order it was received...

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    1. See that thing that just whizzed by you, unnoticed? That was the point.

      The fact is that the media is crying that guns are the single most deadly influence on the American public in existence, and the statistics simply don't agree. You are being inveigled, and you're actually defending it.

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  3. AMEN!!! Does Anyone In DC Care About "The Facts", Or Have Any Original Thought, Or Even The Ability To Separate Fact From Fiction? It Doesn't Appear They Do Anything Beyond Just Keeping The Talking Points Alive!!!

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  4. japan, more violent video games and tv than us, zero tolerance for guns, 2 deaths total. face the facts people

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    1. First of all Violent video games have no link to gun violence. Secondly Japan's population is half that of the United States. Japan's education system is also way better than the US education System, and unempolyment is way lower. Even if Japan had guns they still wouldn't have the gun violence that we do. You want to fix gun violence? Fix our education system, fix our unemployment, and fix our welfare system. Doing that I can almost guarentee you would see a reduction in gun violence. Banning guns will not work here because it will only keep good people from getting guns. You ban them in the US people will get them from Mexico and Canada. Japan doesn't have to worry about that either, they are an island.

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    2. Half the population, but much less than half the gun violence.

      Reducing access to guns doesn't fix everything, but it will very likely no *increase* the number of children who are shot each year.

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    3. All right, lets look to other countries for examples.

      You pick Japan, I pick Switzerland.

      Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates per capita in the world and virtually zero gun crimes. Since we're arguing our points via inference I am forced to accept that Switzerland proves that gun ownership unequivocally can not be the salient issue in gun violence. Maybe we should try to figure out what is.

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    4. Japan also has class sort of things that teach kids human empathy from a very early age. US? Nope. They don't care enough to teach that kind of stuff. If you lose your wallet in Japan you have over a 75% chance of getting it back just as you lost it. They have lost-and-found things all over over there. Start having classes like that in the public school systems over here and I'm sure a lot of the violence issues will diminish greatly.

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    5. To anonymous at 6:21, well said!

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  5. facts are gun is the main reason for mass shootings along with mental health

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    1. Study done by FBI stated more people killed by claw hammers than guns.Don't be a sheep,read.

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    2. Sorry but you misquoted that. More people are killed by claw hammers than ASSAULT riffles. The numbers hammers are around 450 a year, riffle of ANY type around 375. Also gun deaths are a total of ALL gun deaths not just murders. So what does that mean? That police, suicide, homicide, and accidental. Yet the avg 10k a yr is still only 4% of the cigarette deaths or half the alcohol deaths a year. The reason they go after assault riffles it to start whittling away at our gun rights. One world government is not far off if we give up our guns. Oh so im a conspiracy theorist? Go good for videos of our presidents saying it. ALL of them since Nixon have said we should move in that direction. The UN is starting to act like it telling the US and others what to do. Dont let the media blind you.

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  6. There are no victims of suicide, take a gun from a suicidal person they try another way, gun is just the fastest

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  7. The facts are japan has a much much lower population than the us.

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  8. People are not talking about completely taking away guns, rather, they are trying to curtail the availability of semi-automatic weapons. On the other hand, suicides will not be reduced as a result, since a single shotgun discharge will usually do the trick. The focus should be to reduce stupidity through education. Drugs of all kinds, including prescriptions, coupled with alcohol and illegal or legal gun possession play a major role in all of the gun related statistics cited in this article. If you focus on gun rights, then you have to address these other issues as well.

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    1. Anyone who even suggests or thinks that taking away semi-automatic weapons should be an option is an enemy of the constitution. Those who do are insulated from the necessity of the 2nd amendment and obviously are under informed in terms of the colonial and anti-federalism beginnings of this country. Such people, including Biden and Obama, who aim to apply legislation against the second amendment by any federal branch are guilty of usurpation of power that the constitution specifically states is not allowed. The constitution has a very limited allowance for what the federal government can do and provides all other powers to the states. And the bill of rights bestows rights to the states and even more directly to the citizens. The second amendment provides the direct right of the citizen to arm themselves to protect them both personally and against a common threat such as an invading army or our own tyrannical government. The ability of any citizen to protect themselves under these circumstances would be impossible without semi-automatic weapons including and especially the ar-15 rifle.

      I am all for getting together and trying to understand situations like what happened in Sandy Hook and create ideas about what we as a society can do to prevent it in the future, but at the core of it can't be the liberal democrats demanding that the second amendment be taken away.

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  9. Thanks for posting actual information. It becomes more and more rare every day.

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  10. How much casualties by fire arms in Europe ?
    Wake up people , you are a bunch of apes playing with guns.
    You know what ...
    Having guns at home to protect yourself is not a sign of evolution..
    you still act like cowboys and outlaws . This is a real shame.

    The only people with guns here are the police officers.
    We don't need to do our own justice here.

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    1. Good luck with that mentality!

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    2. In some areas the police are simply a gang with badges. They should NOT be the only people with firearms.

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    3. All the cities with high crime have tight gun control.It dosent work moron.Look at all the natural disasters we have had.Police can't protect you.Try reading lib.

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    4. Unfortunately where I live, when seconds count police are only minutes away and the incident is usually long over by the time they arive. I don't blame the police as they have to big of an area to cover and are spread too thin with all of the calls. However, the second amendment was put in place for many reasons, not just home protection. Look for articles on WWII as well in relation to why the Japanese did not invade us after attacking Pearl Harbor, makes a good point. Maybe before calling people names (which tends to be a Liberal tactic when the facts are against them or they have none) you should do some research or walk in other people's shoes.

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    5. How many violent crimes per capita in the UK? Oh didnt look at that number did you? Just for an FYI states with a conceal carry law have lower crime than anywhere else that does not. We may be a bunch of apes who play with guns but we dont have to wait for the cops when seconds matter. Grow some balls and fight back as you would be an easy target.

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    6. Why oh why, oh Lord oh why must people min the UK be so concerned with gun rights in the US?

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  11. Contrary to what you said, there is more recent data from the CDC for 2011 published by National Vitals Statistics Reports with the CDC as a publisher. It gives the preliminary data for 2011, so is two years more recent. Given the remarkable decline in homicides that has been going on for some decades now, murder rates have fallen to levels last seen during the Kennedy Administration. And, homicides are not even on the top 15 list anymore.

    The Report showing these considerably lower numbers was actually published last October, so I'm surprised you were unable to find it. Here is a link:

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_06.pdf

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  12. I appreciate the effort to present the facts in this article a great deal, more effort should always be made to get the facts out there. There are still more facts that can be brought forward. To me, the correct conversation we should be having in this country is about the appropriate level of Lethality any single individual should have access too. When I say Lethality I mean fire power which is a function of energy, range, rate of fire, number of rounds. In order to understand firepower we should calculate energy. The equation for energy is E is equal to one half the mass times the velocity squared. When we look at the energy of assault rifle like the AR15 we can calculate the energy of the .223 caliber round. It's velocity is 3500 feet per second. Compared to the velocity of a standard .22 rim-fire rifle with is 1200 fps. Keeping the mass constant one quickly realized the energy in 1 round of the AR15 is almost 10 times the energy in a single round of the standard .22 rifle. Since they both are semi-automatic, you can fire as fast as you can pull the trigger, the next step is to examine the number of rounds that can be fired. Basically with the AR15 you can discharge 10 times the energy, so with 10 rounds available it would take 100 .22 rounds to equal the same energy...20 rounds of .223 equals 200 rounds of .22 etc. This is the conversation that has to occur and the facts that need to be evaluated. Looking a the number of deaths, the number of infractions of the law, etc are to difficult to establish and correlation. But the basic unit of firepower, energy, is one way to do a fact based comparison, and helps understand that all guns are not created equal and therefore shouldn't be considered equally.

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  13. My People,in the other side of the southern border,they're waiting for Obama to take our Guns. The cartels wait.

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  14. Nice to see genuine journalism with real facts and references!

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  15. Japan has a great advantage in having no "urban" area and "gangbangers".

    Furthermore, most all Japanese youth have a nuclear family, that is two parents.

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  16. there definitely IS an agenda. It shud be obvious. The examples are there historically. We can begin with the Pope and the first gun control banning the use of crossbows by common ppl. The Pope's reasoning:It wasn't right for peasants to be able to dismount a knight. Obviously the common Catholic worshipers were less important than the wealthy donors of the rich who most often became rich by over-taxation, rape and murder of the so called commoners and peasants. Also we have Hitler and Mussolini, not to forget Russia and China with their one sided gun control laws n confiscation of privately owned weapons. These are all peoples and nations we ourselves fought against in the name of preserving the world from tyranny...and yet now..we here in the GRAND OLD USA, have our own tyrant in the making but do nothing about it. Our cowardice would make our fathers and grandfathers so immensely proud...don't u think?

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    1. Give a pussy a gun and you get a pussy with a gun, also known as a concealed carry permit holder. Try not to wet you pants when somebody says boo.

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    2. "Give a pussy a gun and you get a pussy with a gun, also known as a concealed carry permit holder. Try not to wet you pants when somebody says boo."

      WOW, That makes you sound like a tough guy, then again a lot pussy's post their toughness on the web since they are the biggest social pussy's. BOO

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    3. @ Anonymous 6:48 am -- The threat of tyranny existed well over 200 years ago...it was thrown out and replaced by a democracy with our Constitution. Our freedoms are protected by this system of Government not by the 2nd Amendment...it is our system of Government that protects the 2nd Amendment. How this got reversed in the minds of many is a failure of our education system. Our freedoms from tyranny and other threats to our system of government are continuously paid for by the tombstones in Arlington cemetery not by civilians with guns...

      By the way, how 'bout everyone start using their real name if they want to post a comment? If we want to talk about who the wimps are...those who hide anonymously get counted first.

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    4. Mooch are you really that naive to believe tyranny could not exist in our country.
      Our democratic republic will not alone stop tyranny from showing its ugly head.
      It is our very fear that will allow tyranny to exist and grow. Anyone willing to trade
      Their rights and freedoms for security will end up with neither. Be strong Americans, fearless in the face of adversity just as our forefathers were and our men and women who fought and are fighting to keep this country great. I myself am exmilitary and love this country. The government is the servant of the people and we need to ensure it remains as such. So please don't be so eager to throw away your rights.

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    5. @Mooch Every citizen has a duty to protect his or her own rights. When you hand off the responsibility to watch and protect your rights to someone else you put yourself in an incredibly dangerous position, because you have to trust that the holder of this responsibility will never decide to abuse the power, and that just doesn't seem likely.

      Gun owners who cite the 2nd amendment are simply being realistic as to the point of the amendment. Gun ownership is a given right to all citizens of our country as a safeguard against tyrannies of both the past, present and future.

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  17. Well put sir guns dont kill people criminals do

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  18. There's a difference between dying in a car accident and dying by the hand of a person using a weapon intended to cause death.

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  19. They had gun confiscation in Germany and you see what happened shortly afterward.It can happen here especially with the current idiots in charge.

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  20. I feel sorry for those that use the media as the sole source of information, You get what they want to give you. I give less attention to any article, I personally focus on the comments.

    A fact, those against guns have skewed or miss directed the facts by a large margin.
    Gun supporters have stuck closer to the facts.
    Fact, if a person or persons want to take others life, they will use the next means possible if there are no guns available. walk memory road and remember the federal building in Oklahoma. More lives taken in less time, or 9/11 for that matter.
    Time for people to look at the root cause of a problem before they display knee jerk responses. The problem is society.
    How many people today say hello or good morning to a stranger these days, Today's evolutionary change.

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  21. I have yet to see a car enter a school and go hunting for children. Heart Disease also has never scaled the fence at a school and wiped out a couple classrooms. Get real people, this is stupid at best. Comparing deaths from "X" to guns is simply bloviating at its best! Ignore the man behind the curtain..........

    We can talk about fixing the problems or just keep kicking cans down the road and watching people die. Cars cause deaths, yes we know this but the Government mandates safety features into every car. If we were all still driving 1960's technology around, the auto accident death rate would be 10000% higher than it is now (seeing that we have millions more cars on the roads than in the 60's).

    I wonder how many parents of Sandy Hook were pro-gun before this?

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    1. Thank you for putting sanity into the discussion.

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    2. so your saying guns climbed the fence and walked into sand hook?

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  22. I assume the article meant "POISONING"?

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  23. (Howdedoo, I want to shair this here what I thot up - Clem)

    HILLBILLY VURSION OF AMERICA'S END

    All it took was one blackstard comin' up with his doo-doo prosess of one man rool & signin' his boney fingur to it!

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  24. This was "clinical" in no way at all - hopefully this is an OpEd piece, because if not, it's just crappy, biased journalism.

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  25. Any one who thinks the government is working in our best interest is delusional. I urge people to go watch "sandy hooks shooting exposed" watch that and tell me the government wants to protect us. They are liars and wicked, After watching the video you cant even say the premise of the Assault weapons ban makes sense.

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  26. First, the Second Ammendment gives us the right to bear arms, period.Second, no one talks about responsible gun ownership. The Sandy Hook incident would not have happened if the guns were secured. I believe responsible gun ownership and accountability would solve a lot of deaths. Recently an Orlando Fire Department supervisor left his gun (against dept rules) in his unlocked city vehicle, and it was stolen.Now if the gun is used in a crime resulting in injury or death, he should be held accountable.Lack of responsibility puts a lot of guns in the hands of criminals and nut cases. Why don't we go after these people? Laws and regulations will never stop criminals and nut cases from getting guns, for they do not abide by them.

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  27. If only Obama would focus on our economy by getting us better education and jobs none of this would've happened. Japan and Switzerland for example are the most highest developed countries with the best economies and also high rates of gun ownership. Now look at us? Over 20 trillion in debt , wonder how our kid's future going to end up like?

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  28. Why in the world does anyone need a semi-automatic. I think we've gotten so indulgent that we've lost all common sense. We want to latest of everything, the biggest, the fastest...for no good reason at all except that it's there. There's no reason to have this type of gun to either protect yourself or to hunt. Maybe we shoul d also have the right to own bombs as individuals. We could really protect ourselves then. Where does it end. Check the statistics.....how many everyday people really used these types of guns to protect themselves? Now tell me how many criminals and mentally ill people have used these types of weapons to kill innocent people.

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    1. okay guys the- law all americans must carry guns kids too..then schools, streets would be safe !!! would you be so dumb to rob a bank, store, cause we all have the same thing a gun....just like the wild west... Then the NRA can make more money and we would have more jobs. Now if you are on Welfare you have to buy your own gun..on drugs the same thing ones on drugs could just kill the dealer! Pretty soon no dealers no drugs, unless the other guy isn't good with the gun! Now does this sound like normal right wrong or what...think we are all in trouble..not safe anywhere !

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    2. I can tell you're not much of a hunter. Whenever I go pig hunting, I always carry a semi-automatic .45 caliber handgun as a sidearm, just in case. And yes, it's actually saved my life. A revolver would simply have been too unwieldy to use with an angry pig charging out of the brush five feet away, especially when considering the fact that it took five shots to the head to kill it. Don't believe me? Look up pig anatomy. You're arguing a point based entirely off of emotion and what other people have told you. You really should get out more, try to experience some stuff for yourself. It helps you make informed decisions.

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  29. Send a shock wave to Dianne Feinstein and the extreme left. Sign the petition to repeal Senate Bill SBX211. When the entire Los Angeles Superior Court Judges face felony charges for accepting money that was NOT authorized by law. That should put them back on their heels for a while.
    Google SBX211 and sign the petition. COMPLETE MAINSTREAM MEDIA BLACKOUT,
    I need help getting the word out so please do your part on getting others to sign this petition.

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  30. i dont really have time to read all of these but the ones i have read i completely agree with. I have inherited and bought each and every one of my guns, iv worked my ass off for them as well. There is no way in hell they are taking my fucking guns so they can shove that goddamn ban straight up their asses.

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