If you still oppose gun law reform, mass shootings and appeals to morality aren’t strong enough reasons for you to change your mind, so I won’t appeal to your sense of morality but instead your sense of reason. If the gun debate morally confuses you, just turn to the facts. If reason still doesn’t convince you, then I’m wasting my breath.
I’m not going to sit here and list off the numbers of people who have died in mass shootings or the moral arguments for regulating guns. Instead, I’m going to encourage you to follow the money- $22,911,605 -that’s how much money the National Rifle Association has donated to members of our National Government since 1990. With numbers like these, it’s not hard to figure out why members of Congress refuse to sensibly reform gun control or suggest that former President Barack Obama wants to “take away your guns” or choose to send their “thoughts and prayers,” while conveniently ignoring the pleas of those affected by gun violence.
And while the response to reactionary policy might be “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” it seems more apt to suggest “people with guns kill people.”
But if everyone had a gun, everyone would be safer right? In 1993, the CDC published a study concluding that having a firearm greatly increases one’s risk of homicide. In 1996, the United States Congress banned the CDC from spending funds on researching gun violence. Despite this ban, other organizations continued doing research on gun ownership. Studies, unsurprisingly, have found the same results time and time again: higher gun ownership correlates with higher homicide rates, not just at a national level, but at a state and community level. But maybe NRA-lobbied politicians have a point, even if this is an issue of national concern. It’s better if we don’t know because the American public’s ignorance means bliss, and also money.
If you aren’t convinced that the gun control debate is not a matter of money but that our politicians are “rightly” concerned with upholding the same nation desired by a handful of wealthy white men who thought that slavery was morally reprehensible and that the “fairer sex” wasn’t important enough to be included or consulted in the creation of a nation, then let’s contextualize the “right to bear arms.” In 1776, three bullets could be fired in 60 seconds. In 2017, 1,200 bullets can be fired in 60 seconds. It was impossible for those writing the Constitution to anticipate this kind of firing efficiency. But let’s pretend like taking 300-year-old suggestions for how to run a nation verbatim is a good basis for policy. We don’t have to see the future to make adequate policy; we only need to understand the present in context with the past.