A new essay entitled “The Promise: The Families of Sandy Hook and the Long Road to Gun Safety” by Matt Bennett of the Brookings Institute takes a hard look at the numbers surrounding guns in America.
One of the most interesting statistics is just how many guns there are in America.
“At the conservative estimate of 270 million guns, Americans have stockpiled almost half of the privately owned firearms in the world,” Bennett writes. That averages out to about 88 guns for every 100 American citizens. The next closest country is Yemen, which has 55 guns per 100 citizens.
Bennett goes on to write that the three of the most common ages of people who commit gun crimes are 18, 19 and 20, despite the fact that regulations prevent distributors from selling guns to people under the age of 21.
Most people can agree that America has a problem with gun violence, but not everyone can get behind the tactics of the Sandy Hook parents. The group continues its fight for stricter gun control regulations even though their flagship background check bill was defeated in Congress.
Bennett blasts gun-rights activists, writing, “though a distinct minority, [pro-gun ‘Constitutionalists’] have come to control the terms of the gun debate, exercising a power that vastly exceeds their numbers. Their principle mechanism for wielding this power is, of course, the NRA.” He adds that the group has used “political bullying” to achieve its goals.
Bennett notes that the time of the NRA controlling the gun debate may be drawing to an end. The background check bill might have failed, but “for the first time in the modern history of the debate, a gun safety vote has had a negative impact on the approval rating of Senators voting 'no' [even in red and purple states like Alaska, Arizona and New Hampshire] and a positive impact on red-state senators voting 'yes' [Louisiana and North Carolina].”
What are your thoughts on Bennett’s essay? Do you think that the Sandy Hook parents are taking a step in the right direction? Or should America strive to upgrade 88 guns for every 100 American citizens to 100 guns for every American citizen?