Yep, you’re right. Obviously, a gun sitting on a table is not going to simply kill someone. However, you cannot deny that a semi-automatic rifle makes it easier to kill larger amounts of people in a shorter amount of time from further away.
Ever heard of dozens of people being killed and wounded by a mass-batting in a movie theater? Or a drive-by knifing committed by an assailant from the window of a moving car? Doubtful. Though pro-gun proponents have pointed to the case of children being knifed in China on the same day as those slain in Connecticut, unlike the children in Newtown, all the children in China survived the attack.
Or how about the number of homicides committed with firearms versus other methods? From the Bureau of Justice Statistics:
In 2009, the latest year for which the Center for Disease Control has national statistics, there were 16,799 deaths from homicide in the U.S. — of those, 11,493 were committed with a firearm. That means of the homicides committed in the U.S., 32% used something other than a firearm. According to the Department of Justice, the likelihood of surviving a violent attack increases dramatically without the presence of a firearm by either civilian or criminal.
The Harvard School of Public Health debunks several myths surrounding guns, primarily that guns are used in self-defense all the time (false), and that guns do not increase the rate of homicide (false again). From the University of Utah School of Medicine:
A study of 626 shootings in or around a residence in three U.S. cities revealed that, for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides. In another study, regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and suicide in the home. Individuals in possession of a gun at the time of an assault are 4.46 times more likely to be shot in the assault than persons not in possession.
The University of Utah also finds that when firearms are used for hunting, accidental injuries are very rare — more rare than among all gun owners. That’s the only time guns are used as tools, but their purpose is the same across the board — to kill something.
I make the tool distinction because a baseball bat, a car, a knife, rope, your hands etc. have a purpose other than killing something or someone. A gun’s purpose is to kill. Period. Even when a gun is used by a police officer, a homeowner, or a hunter in a legitimate manner, the intent is to kill that at which said person is aiming.
I think we need to examine a culture where it’s easier to purchase a gun than to get mental health treatment. It’s easier to get a gun than to get a driver’s license in many states.
Here’s a thought experiment for you. Meet Nixon:
My husband and I adopted him in 2009. In order to do so, we had to get a background check, pay an application fee, fill out this form, and then wait to be approved. Obviously, we were, but the animal rescue has rejected numerous unfit people.
Now, in 2005, I walked into a gun show in Wyoming, and purchased a Springfield bolt action 30.06 Rifle for my then-husband, and a .40 Glock for myself. I bought from two private sellers and neither checked my ID. I actually asked the dealer I purchased the Glock from if I needed to give him my ID, or if he needed to do a background check or anything, and he laughed. He explained that our forefathers didn’t need “a fucking background check — they lie anyhow” and that the Second Amendment was better than any ID. He ended his speech by throwing in a free box of bullets, and said, “God bless the Second Amendment!”
In conclusion, it was harder and more arduous to adopt my cat than to purchase a gun. I’m glad it’s tough to adopt. It’s fucked that it’s harder than buying the guns.
Unlike many people who own guns, I was in the military and know how to shoot. But I no longer own guns. I don’t know if my ex-husband does, nor do I care. One big reason I got rid of mine? See above.