Keep Talking Wayne, You’ve Really Gauged The Mood Of The Nation

gun installation “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” So said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre today in a news conference, urging Congress to put an armed law enforcement agent in every American school. Put the pikes away people, let this idiot speak.

In a report on the CBS Evening News it was noted that Columbine High did have an armed guard on duty that day in 1999, but he was eating lunch at the time of the shooting. So clearly we will need two armed guards at all times which would, I suppose, double the $5.5 billion/year cost of LaPierre’s program (Slate). Seems like that might be a tough sell to their Congressional minions right about now.

A saner approach is suggested by NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof.

In Australia in 1996, a mass killing of 35 people galvanized the nation’s conservative prime minister to ban certain rapid-fire long guns. The “national firearms agreement,” as it was known, led to the buyback of 650,000 guns and to tighter rules for licensing and safe storage of those remaining in public hands.

The law did not end gun ownership in Australia. It reduced the number of firearms in private hands by one-fifth, and they were the kinds most likely to be used in mass shootings.

In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings — but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. The murder rate with firearms has dropped by more than 40 percent, according to data compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and the suicide rate with firearms has dropped by more than half.

No civilians need access to semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammo magazines, and gun show regulation should be included in any future legislation.

To learn more about the Second Amendment, go to the Violence Policy Center for their excellent synopsis of “The Hidden History of the Second Amendment,” a 1998 article written by Roger Williams University School of Law Professor Carl T. Bogus. The VPC suggests, “The Second Amendment takes on an entirely different complexion when instead of being symbolized by a musket in the hands of the minutemen, it is associated with a musket in the hands of the slave holder.”

(Seen here: Memorial Park installation by Providence artist Boris Bally.)

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