More guns, more shootings, more profit
As of 2011, there were approximately 5,400 licensed firearms manufacturers and 950 importers in the United States, The United States Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reports.
Despite the spin which says that "It's people, not guns that are the problem", Harvard School of Public Health has found more guns equals more homicides. "After controlling for poverty and urbanization, for every age group, people in states with many guns have elevated rates of homicide, particularly firearm homicide," Harvard researchers say.
America exported $336.5 million worth of firearms in 2011, according to customs data compiled by the Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers, NISAT, Salon reports. That’s $200 million more than Italy, the next leading exporter.
Firearm sales typically increase during poor economic times, Steve Sanetti, chief executive officer and president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the industry, told Salon Magazine later that year. More Americans are hunting and shooting for recreation as well, he said. Sanetti attributes that to military servicemen and women with firearms experience returning to civilian life and wanting to keep up with shooting as a pastime. He also said recreational shooting is a relatively cheap and accessible hobby, drawing in new buyers.
"Another day, another horrific shooting eating away at our collective peace of mind. We are saddened by the senseless loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Our deepest sympathies go out to everyone affected." The somber words stand at the top of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's website, the morning after the Connecticut school massacre in which 20 children and 7 adults died, after being systematically executed, apparently with a handgun, at close range.
It then notes that 8 children and teens who die by gunfire daily in the United States.
Tom Mauser's son, Daniel, lost his life in the Columbine massacre, in 1999. Daniel died in the school cafeteria at 15, calling out for his mother.
In Mauser's mind, his son never would have died, if it hadn't been for the easy availability of guns.
Mauser describes his successful efforts immediately following Columbine to change gun laws.
"In 2000 I took a year’s absence from work to lobby the State Legislature to pass reasonable gun laws. When the Legislature failed to close the gun show loophole, we decided that voters should decide. We needed 62,000 petition signatures, but collected over 110,000. The issue was won by a vote of 70% to 30% and in Colorado the loophole was closed. I am not a natural leader but speaking out helps me because it carries on Daniel’s life."
He has written a book, "Walking in Daniel's Shoes" and started "The Forgiveness Project."
Tragedies such as yesterday's nightmare in Newtown or in Columbine years ago destroy lives, but evidently do not change people's opinions about gun laws.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein points this out in "a set of simple facts" published yesterday called: "Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States."
The most poignant fact comes from Pew Institute research, "Shootings don't tend to substantially affect views on gun control." The chart below shows what Pew learned about public opinion after the movie theatre massacre in Aurora, Colorado, in July of this year, the mass murder of the crowd gathered to see Congressman Gifford in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011, and the slaughter of students at Virginia Tech, in 2007.
Research tracks the trends. Fear and uncertainty left in the wake of massacres and murder don't shift views. They result in more gun sales.