January 3, 2015

A Win-Win for Gun Control

Let's start with a few facts and figures. According to GunPolicy.org, the total number of rifles, shotguns and pistols in the United States is between 270,000,000 and 300,000,000. That's enough to outfit every man, woman and child with some sort of weapon. Of course, not every household has a weapon. A CNN article on guns reports that gun ownership, like wealth, is highly concentrated, with about 20 percent of gun owners possessing 65 percent of all guns. Still, one out of every three households has a firearm of some kind.

With that many floating around, it's obvious that the manufacture of firearms is big business. ATF reports that in 2012, there were over 8 million rifles, shotguns, and pistols manufactured in the United States. Of these, a bit less than 300,00 were exported. In that same year, the United States imported 4.8 million firearms. In 2013, that figure went up to 5.5 million firearms imported. (I found it interesting that Austria is our largest external supplier of handguns, with Germany a very distant second.) What that comes down to is that in a given year, we add well over 10 million firearms to the national arsenal.

Okay, so we know there is already an abundance of firearms in the United States, somewhere near enough to outfit every living person in this country with a weapon. In 2012, we manufactured 8 million more, and as if that wasn't enough, we imported another 5 million. With deaths from firearms making the news every day -- in 2011, 32,000 people died from firearms; another 81,000 were injured ... we're Number One!  -- a lot of folks who think there are way too many handguns in this country are searching for a solution that doesn't violate the Second Amendment. Here's my win-win suggestion for gun control: Buy America. That's right, ban the import of firearms. If that's too much for you to swallow, than limit the importation ban to handguns.

With that simple step we accomplish two things. First, we create more jobs here at home because for damn sure, the demand for firearms won't abate overnight, so domestic production will have to ramp up to fill in the gap. Second, we take one small step towards reducing the influx of weapons. We don't need to import firearms. As I said, it's a win-win. Sure, there may be some high-end rifles that are truly for sports or hunting, but handguns ... I don't think so. As Jack Nicholson said in As Good As It Gets, "Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

1 comment:

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