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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Constitution is not a suicide pact

Gun laws DO save lives
For more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE.
In the wake of another horrific mass shooting, we must not remain silent as America turns into a killing field. 

The next time you hear someone claim there's nothing we can do to prevent gun violence mention these 6 points.

1) Gun laws save lives

Consider the federal assault weapons ban. After it became law in 1994, gun massacres fell by 37 percent. The number of people dying from mass shootings fell by 43 percent. 

But when Republicans in Congress let the ban lapse in 2004, gun massacres more than doubled. Research has also shown that states with tougher restrictions on gun ownership (background checks, limits on sales, etc.) have lower rates of gun violence than states with weaker laws.

2) The Second Amendment was never intended to permit mass slaughter

When the Constitution was written more than 200 years ago, the framers' goal was not to allow Americans to terrorize their communities, nor could they have imagined the weapons now available. 

The Supreme Court has upheld reasonable restrictions on gun ownership, but the NRA and the firearms industry continue to invoke the Second Amendment to stall action on gun violence.

No automatic alt text available.3) More guns have not, and will not, make us safer

There are few ideas more harebrained than the notion that we’d be more secure if everyone was armed. 

More than 30 studies show that guns are linked to an increased risk for violence and homicide. 

In 1996, Australia initiated a buyback program to reduce the number of guns in private ownership by 20 percent. 

Australia’s firearm homicide rate dropped by 42 percent in the seven years that followed.

4) The vast majority of Americans want stronger gun safety laws

There are few things Americans agree on as clearly as gun safety. According to Gallup polling, 96 percent of Americans support universal background checks, 75 percent support a 30-day waiting period for all gun sales, and 70 percent favor requiring all privately owned guns to be registered with the police.

5) The National Rifle Association has a stranglehold on the Republican Party

As one of the biggest spenders in Washington, the NRA has incredible influence over Republican leaders in Congress. In 2016, the group spent a record $55 million on elections.

6) The NRA is mostly a front for gun manufacturers

Although the NRA likes to claim they represent gun owning Americans, in recent years their membership has dwindled. The organization's funding increasingly comes from corporate gun-makers looking to protect their bottom-lines.

America is better than the NRA, better than the cynical conspiracy theorists who say guns protect us against government, better than the extremists who refuse common-sense gun laws. 

America is the young people from Parkland, Florida, who are telling legislators to act like adults. America is all of us. And it’s time all of us stood up.