We all have an “Uncle Fred” or a friend who speaks with authority — repeating NRA talking points as though they were true. Below are some of the things Uncle Fred will say, but you can respond with the facts. Learn them and be prepared for your next conversation:
“President Obama is coming for our guns”
FACT: Gun rights have expanded under President Obama’s administration. You can now bring guns onto trains and into national parks. And if the President is trying to take guns away, he’s really bad at it. He’s had 7 years in office, and more guns were sold during his Presidency than any other time in recent history.
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”
FACT: People with guns kill people. The same week as the massacre at Sandy Hook where 20 young children and six adults were killed, there was a mass knife attack at a school in China. All of the victims in China survived. None of the Sandy Hook victims survived. Guns were created to kill, and that is what they do.
“Gun laws don’t work. Criminals will always get guns”
FACT: Gun laws DO work. Data shows that states with stricter gun regulations have fewer gun deaths. When Missouri relaxed their gun laws, they saw an 18% increase in gun deaths.
“What about Chicago? They have strong gun laws and high gun violence”
FACT: Criminals in Chicago get guns from neighboring states like Indiana with weak gun laws and easy access. Many of the crime guns recovered in New York were traced to a gun store in Georgia, where practically anyone could walk in and buy a truckload of guns. Without strong Federal gun laws, states with strong gun laws are vulnerable.
“Mental health, Hollywood and video games are the problem”
FACT: We are a global society. Mental illness is a global problem, not an American problem. Movies and video games made in America are seen and played throughout the world. In America, we lose 33,000 people to guns every year. Canadians have guns but their gun homicide rate is seven times lower than ours. Why? They have extremely strong, restrictive gun laws. So do Israel and Switzerland. And Japan’s gun violence rate is practically nonexistent. Why? No guns. Easy access to guns in America is the root cause of our excessive gun violence.
“More people die in car accidents. Why don’t we ban cars?”
FACT: In more than twenty states, gun deaths now exceed automobile related deaths. It is not surprising that those states also have fewer gun safety regulations. Utah, Nevada, Colorado, all states with weak gun regulations, have more gun deaths than car deaths.
Automobiles and their drivers are highly regulated. This regulation has sparked improvements in automobile safety — air bags, for example. Drivers must pass both a written and driving exam and must renew their license regularly. Cars and drivers must be insured. Let’s regulate guns and gun owners in the same way we regulate cars!
“Gun-free zones are just targets for mass shooters”
FACT: There were armed guards at Virginia Tech. There was an armed guard at Columbine. The recent community college shooting in Oregon happened on a campus that allowed guns to be carried and there were armed civilians on site — they chose wisely to leave the situation to the police. In addition, many mass shooters planned for months and chose places where they knew there would be guns, as they wanted the notoriety of going out in a blaze of bullets.
“You can’t buy a gun without a background check”
FACT: Gun laws vary from state to state. Our Federal background checks law requires only “licensed dealers” to run a background check on gun sales. Private, unlicensed sellers are not required to do so. Therefore, in many states you can sell a gun online, through a newspaper ad, at a gun show, or even at a garage sale with no background checks required.
OVERALL FACT: Though the cause of gun violence in America is complex, easy access to guns is what sets us apart from other leading nations, and is the root cause of our excessive gun violence. Just like we made cars safer through regulation and better laws, we can make this country safer from gun violence, while still respecting the rights of responsible, law-abiding citizens to own guns.
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