The World Health Organization defines violence as a threat to health when someone tries to injure themselves or someone else. If they try it with a gun – voila! – we have gun violence.

              The United States suffers from an elevated rate of gun violence because we are the only country in the entire world which gives its residents free access to guns that are designed, manufactured, sold and used for the purpose of committing violence. And note that the WHO doesn’t distinguish between attacking someone else because you want to hurt them or defending yourself from getting hurt. Either way, it’s violence, okay?

              The gun industry would like you to believe that using a gun to defend yourself isn’t gun violence, it’s armed, self-defense. But this nonsense is simply the industry’s attempt to avoid being regulated and frankly, I can’t blame them for promoting such a stupid and totally false idea. After all, do banks like being regulated? Do insurance companies spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress because they want to be told what to do?

              I’m not saying that we should ban all guns. I’m saying that if we want to reduce gun violence to any measurable degree, we have to get rid of the guns which cause the violence. There’s no other way.

              Unfortunately, the approach to reducing gun violence which is the accepted and promoted narrative both by gun-control researchers and advocates, is the idea that we can continue to allow gun companies to design, manufacture and sell products whose only usefulness is for the commission of violence, as long as we figure out a way to keep these products out of the ‘wrong hands.’

              How do we know the difference between people with ‘right’ hands and people with ‘wrong’ hands?  We make everyone who wants to buy a gun fill out a form which tells us whether that particular individual is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ candidate for gun ownership based on how they have behaved up to the moment they actually buy the gun.

              Even if this kind of predictive strategy would actually work, what about the 60 or 70 million guns out there that could be used to commit gun violence right now? Hey – wait a goddamn minute!  Aren’t there at least 300 million guns floating around?

              That’s right.  There probably are more than 300 million guns sitting in homes. garages, basements all over the place.  But, and it’s a very important but, most of the guns owned by Americans weren’t designed to commit gun violence. They were manufactured and sold to people who used them to take a pot shot at Bambi in the woods, or blast away at a target at the local range, or maybe freeze their rear ends off while sitting in some swamp while the geese coming back from Florida fly overhead.

              On the other hand, the concealable, polymer-framed handguns which are chambered for military grade ammunition, guns from companies like Sig, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, and Glock, were all designed for military and tactical use. Ditto the AR-15 which is now given to our troops in a version that shoots in semi-automatic mode.

              We don’t need to ban all guns. We need to ban guns that are not designed for hunting or sport. Several years ago, I looked at a list of more than 9,000 crime guns picked up by the cops and I ran a word-check of those 9,000 guns against the following names: Remington, Winchester, Marlin, Browning and Savage.  These happen to be the five largest manufacturers of hunting guns. 

              Know how many times those five words came up against a list of 9,000 crime guns?  Try less than 50 times. And when those names did come up, in every, single case it had something to do with licensing, not any kind of violent crime at all.

              You want to do universal background checks? Go right ahead. Want to pass a national ‘red flag’ law? Fine. Do that too.

              Want to end gun violence in the United States? Get rid of the guns which cause the violence. There’s no other way.

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