The Gun Reform Discussion Post March 24th

by | Mar 28, 2018 | Featured, Opinion

NIOF.ORG attended the local March for Our Lives event in Orlando, Florida to get a little perspective about the growing gun reform movement. I was surprised, to say the least, at the sheer size of the local event which estimated its attendance north of 25,000 people – let alone what I saw around the rest of the country. According to the Quinnipiac Poll taken shortly after the February 14th mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – 66% of America voters are in support of stricter gun control laws, and I believe the turnout at the events held around the nation support that. So, I wanted to take a moment to to hit on a few of the most common talking points that I heard repeatedly this past weekend and encourage you as you read this to share your thoughts about these calls for change in the comments below.
I’ll start with one of the points that I heard most often: “Countries with more restrictive gun laws have lower gun homicides and suicides than we do here in the United States.” Countries like Switzerland and Finland require gun owners to pass a background check and a mental health check, (amongst other restrictions and requirements), before they can receive a license to own a gun.   So, I started to dig in and found some interesting info that might support this claim. In a 2007 study, Switzerland ranked #3 in international gun ownership with 45.7 guns and Finland ranked #4 with 45.3 guns per 100 people. In 2009 Switzerland had 24 gun homicides, (thats 0.31 deaths per 100,000 people), and Finland had 23 gun homicides (0.43 deaths per 100,000 people).
In contrast, the U.S. which is categorized as having “permissive” firearm regulations by, ranked #1 with 88.8 guns per 100 people. and 12,632 gun homicides (that’s 4.19 deaths per 100,000 people). David Hemenway, PhD, a Harvard professor, wrote “We analyzed the relationship between homicide and gun availability using data from 26 developed countries from the early 1990’s. We found that  across developed countries where guns are more available there are more homicides.”
The second most common talking point for gun reform that I heard during the march was of the accessibility of high capacity magazines – which “turns a murderer into a mass murderer rather easily” according to those I spoke to. A Mother jones study found that high capacity magazines were used in at least 50% of the 62 mass shootings between 1982 to 2012. When used the death rate rose 63% and the injuries rose 156%. According to David H. Chipman, Senior vice president of Public Safety for Shotspotter and a former ATF agent, a high capacity magazine “turns a killer into a killing machine.” For example gangs use them to compensate for poor aim and to maximise the chances of causing harm.

While there were other points I heard during the event, these two resonated with me the most… in the end, it’s points like these that make it much easier to understand why thousands gathered across the nation this past weekend. This call for change didn’t seem to be about getting rid of our second amendment for most attendees – at least, those I talked to seemed to understand that’s not a viable option. But many have become fed-up with the seemingly increasing trends of various gun violence seen around our country… not to mention how intolerable it is as it creeps into our children’s schools more and more. In my opinion “we” as a country need to have a serious discussion without the banter and childish rhetoric in order to figure out a plausible solution that can be tolerated by everyone.

  1., “Global Impact of Gun Violence,”, 2013
  2. Small Arms Survey, “Small Arms Survey 2007,”, 2007
  3. Lisa Hepburn and David Hemenway, “Firearm Availability and Homicide: A Review of the Literature,” Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal, 2004
  4. Mark Follman and Gavin Aronsen, “‘A Killing Machine’: Half of All Mass Shooters Used High-Capacity Magazines,”, Jan. 30, 2013
  5. Everytown for Gun Safety, “Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings,”, July 2014
  6. Ali Winston, “High-Capacity Magazines Flood Oakland,”, Jan. 16, 2013

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