for THE WASHINGTON POST
Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a Big Data journalism site. She is the author of “Arriving at Amen.” She wrote this for The Washington Post and it has been shared widely.
Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.
Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.
I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.
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MICHAEL MOORE BEGS TO DIFFER, WANTS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Michael Moore, the firebrand of the Left, posted this on his Facebook page — a proposal he has drafted to repeal the Second Amendment:
PROPOSED 28th AMENDMENT TO THE US CONSTITUTION
“A well regulated State National Guard, being helpful to the safety and security of a State in times of need, along with the strictly regulated right of the people to keep and bear a limited number of non-automatic Arms for sport and hunting, with respect to the primary right of all people to be free from gun violence, this shall not be infringed.”
I, Michael Moore, along with all who support an end to this epidemic of gun violence, propose a new Amendment to our Constitution that repeals the ancient and outdated 2nd Amendment (which was written before bullets and revolvers were even invented), and replaces it with a new 28th Amendment that guarantees States can have State militias (a.k.a. State National Guards which are made up of citizen-soldiers who are called upon in times of natural disasters or other State emergencies), allows individuals to use guns for sport and gathering food, and guarantees everyone the right to be free of, and protected from, gun violence (i.e., the public’s safety comes ahead of an individual’s right to own and fire a gun).
This amendment would allow states and the federal government to pass laws that would regulate gun ownership in the following manner:
• As over 90% of gun violence is committed by men, in order for a man to purchase a gun, he must first get a waiver from his current wife, plus his most recent ex-wife, or any woman with whom he is currently in a relationship (if he’s gay, he must get the waiver from his male spouse/partner). This law has greatly reduced most spousal/domestic gun murders in Canada.
• All automatic and semi-automatic guns are banned.
• No gun or clip can hold more than 6 bullets.
• To activate a gun for it to be used, the trigger must recognize the fingerprint of its registered owner. This will eliminate most crimes committed with a gun as 80% of these crimes are done with a stolen gun.
• One’s guns must be stored at a licensed gun club or government-regulated gun storage facility. Believing that having a gun in your home provides you with protection is an American myth. People who die from a home invasion make up a sad but minuscule .04% of all gun murders in the US. And over a third of them are killed by their own gun that the criminal has either stolen or wrestled from them.
• To own and operate a gun one must obtain a license (like one does to operate a car). To get a license you have to complete a gun training and safety course and pass a thorough background check.
• As nearly half of all gun deaths are suicides, mental health care must become a top national health priority and must be properly funded. And by making it more difficult to purchase a gun – and requiring its storage outside the home – easy access during a suicidal moment is denied.
• Current restrictions placed on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), due to successful lobbying by the NRA, have prohibited them from studying the gun violence epidemic in the US. These rules need to be removed and the funding restored. Science will then be free to find out why we are ALONE among nations in killing each other at such a massive rate (hint: It’s not just the guns – it’s us as Americans).
These are a few of the regulations that can be enacted to both protect society yet not deny hunters and sportsmen their fun. This is the sane approach that meets everyone’s needs — everyone, that is, except those of the serial killer, the mass murderer, the violent ex-husband, the disgruntled employee or the disturbed and bullied teenager. We will never eliminate all murder; that’s been with us since Cain killed Abel. But we CAN join the community of enlightened nations where gun violence is that rare occurrence — as opposed to the daily tragedy we now suffer here in the United States of America. This can come to an end with the repeal of the 2nd Amendment and replacing it with the 28th Amendment.
For those who believe it will be impossible to do this, let me close by sharing with you two important facts that should give us hope:
1. We are not a country of gun nuts. 77% of all Americans do NOT own a gun! If three-quarters of the country has decided they have no need for a gun, three-quarters of the country may also decide they have no need for an archaic amendment that allows retired accountants to own 47 assault weapons. LET’S ORGANIZE THE 77%!
2. When President Obama tried to get Congress to pass simple, common sense gun control legislation after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, polls showed 90% of the country backed him! But the NRA beat him. LET’S ORGANIZE THE 90%!
We can start with the upcoming midterm election. Let every candidate know: If you take NRA money, we will
remove you from office.
Then do it.
READERS – WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Please leave a comment on whether gun violence can be tamed through a constitutional amendment.