Opinion | Go Forward, Take Their Weapons. The US Would Be a Less Dangerous Place
Expect the gun control debate to get really heated in America in the next 12 months as Beto O’Rourke runs for governor of Texas. O’Rourke said when he ran for president in 2019, “Damn it, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47!”
And it is time for this debate. America has just over 4 percent of the world’s population, but with more guns than people in our country, we have more than 40 percent of all guns in civilian hands in the world.
82 percent of all people killed by firearms in the world’s affluent countries lived in the United States.
Specifically, a research group based in Switzerland has found that there are “around 857 million civilian firearms” in the 230 countries and territories of the world and, as ABC News points out, “over 393 million firearms are in civilian possession” in America. As of 2017. Since then, about ten million more have been sold in the USA: We are the only nation in the world with more weapons than people.
When asked recently if Beto O’Rourke stood by his position that we should at least get war weapons off our streets, as every other developed country in the world has already done, his answer was clear.
“Look,” he said, “we are a state that has a long, proud tradition of responsible gun ownership during war. So, yes, I still hold that view. “
Expect millions of gun manufacturers and Beto’s Republican opponents to be spent on TV commercials depicting “government thugs in booties” breaking into doors to confiscate weapons. (Beto proposed a gun buyback program like Australia and Canada have, but since the Supreme Court legalized both political bribery and unaccountable money in elections, all bets are wrong when it comes to the truth in political advertising.)
For every 100 people in America there are 120 guns. Among the developed countries, Canada ranks second with 34 per 100 people, and all other developed countries are lower down the list: South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, for example, all have less than one gun per 100 people.
America is not only a world leader in gun ownership, we are, predictably, a world leader in gun deaths. A comprehensive study of gun deaths in the 23 richest countries in the world published in the American Journal of Medicine found:
“The US homicide rates were 7.0 times higher than other high-income countries, due to a 25.2 times higher gun homicide rate. The gun homicide rate was 49.0 times higher among 15- to 24-year-olds in the United States. The firearm-related suicide rate was 8.0 times higher in the United States … Accidental gun deaths were 6.2 times higher in the United States.
Amazingly, ninety percent of all women killed by firearms in these 23 countries are in the United States, as well as 91 percent of all children killed by firearms. 82 percent of all people killed by firearms in the world’s affluent countries lived in the United States.
Only ten percent of firearm deaths in the affluent world occurred in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands , New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland combined.
Other countries have gotten their gun violence under control by simply reducing the number of guns in circulation and requiring gun owners to do two of the three things we do for car owners across America: have a license and your gun to register. I would add that we should include compulsory civil liability insurance, as we do for automobiles: insurance companies would then sniff out the “high risk” gun owners and refuse to insure them, thus preventing gun possession.
But Beto is only asking, in this case at least, that we take weapons of war off the streets and out of our homes. We have already banned fully automatic weapons, shoulder-fired missiles, sawed-off shotguns, and a host of other things that are normally only used to kill other people: it’s not far to join the rest of the developed world and ban Rittenhouse’s AR15 and Russian AK47.
Gallup found last year that 57 percent of Americans and 85 percent of Democrats want tougher gun laws in America.
Republican politicians, on the other hand, are moving in the opposite direction: Madison Cawthorn said following the Rittenhouse ruling that Republicans should be “armed and dangerous” while Marjorie Traitor Greene said: “[G]Injustices are the only thing stopping the communist revolution led by the Democrats. “
As neo-fascists like this one in the Republican Party continue to seek to force America into armed civil war, gun control seems to be an issue that Republicans – who are passionate about seeing Democrats and blacks die at the hands of vigilantes – far more animated as democrats.
The latest Gallup poll found “a decline in support”. [for gun control] for Republicans from 36% in 2019 to 22% in 2020. “
This can complicate things for Beto O’Rourke and other Democrats who take the wholly rational position of removing weapons of war from our streets in order to save American lives.
The newfound Republican enthusiasm for the murder of Democrats and blacks, as seen in the conservative media following the Rittenhouse ruling, could lead to a surge in GOP turnout if faced with a gun control debate without a similar surge on the democratic side is initiated.
And that – unless the Democrats begin to delve into the gun control debate in a big way – could make Beto’s task of creating a less deadly Texas much more difficult.
Can Beto and other Democrats trying to save American lives through minimal gun control turn this debate around? We will see…
This article was first published in the Hartmann Report.