The North American gun culture

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Dear Sir

The definition of a firearm is a weapon from which a shot is discharged by gunpowder — usually called small arms. Notice that the word weapon is used. A weapon is a thing designed or used to inflict bodily harm or physical damage.

Guns were designed and fully intended to harm and kill. Whether these tools of death are used in the practice of hunting or as a means of defending a person, their purpose remains the same.

The Congressional Research Service says the civilian arsenal in America (2012) was approximately 310 million firearms. Besides the traditional firearms used for hunting such as shotguns and long rifles, the most popular weapon found in civilians’ hands is the AR-15, a versatile, customizable and enjoyable to shoot gun.

“Assault weapons” have become parts of many private collections. These are easily transformed into fully automatic firearms. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says there are roughly 638,000 machineguns in circulation in 2018. These counts do not include illegally made and supplied firearms. There are between 15-20 million sporting guns in circulation. It is important to put this all into some context. Americans have purchased as many assault rifles as they have purchased Nintendo Switch video game consoles.

In 2008 The Supreme Court ruled that The Second amendment protects Americans’ rights to own guns. An appellate court in 2017 declared that AR-15 and AK-47 Assault Rifles were not protected by the Second Amendment, mostly because these weapons are not in common use in America. Confusion, mistrust and political clownery have followed. The NRA and Republicans vs Democrats and so-called progressive sectors of the community. America does not need an excuse to be socially, ethnically, politically and economically divided, but the “GUN” has become a cornerstone of division that will not go away.

Every effort is being done to protect the right to own a gun, and these efforts are funded by many weapons manufacturers and The National Rifles Association(NRA). Conservatives will cry out in anguish when children are murdered using assault rifles, but they will do nothing to stop the sales of weapons into the hands of those unfit to own one. Conservatives cry out that the privacy of citizens are threatened when simple pre-ownership interviews and psychological evaluations in real-time are attempted by the authorities.

We all know that nothing guaranteed can be accomplished when speaking about human beings’ actions. Some people are of sound mind at the time of purchasing a weapon that can go berzerk years later. Mental illness can affect us all, along with the many societal stresses of average daily living. Our persona changes, and evolves. The only thing we can do to protect ourselves, our family and our community is to take the tools of death out of the marketplace. If people’s mental state is uncertain, taking the tools of mass destruction out of their reach makes sense.

Yes, there are other weapons to be found. In China, a place where firearms are rare and controlled, mass murder happens using pipes and cleavers. Ask yourself why so many mass shootings have happened in North America, but not in most other nations? What do we have that they do not?

People are usually the same all over. Working, worrying about their families and their children’s futures. Firearm availability in America is easily accessible. We just have too many guns!

If you acquire a driving license, you are required to go through a process of learning, training and then licensing with insurance approvals. Why does this not happen when guns are involved.

Before you purchase a gun, receive multiple interviews, criminal checks, training and then be required to buy insurance. You want to own a gun? Then the government must make gun accessibility very difficult. Make the gun lobby work for it. Outlaw monetary lobbying (bribes) from all lobbyist groups in Washington, Ottawa and all State Capitals. “The fascination of shooting as a sport depends wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun”(Wodehouse).

In 2019 America experienced 417 mass shootings. This year there have been over 200 mass shootings in America. Canada and Mexico have had their gun incidents too. It seems the ‘gun virus’ has leached over our borders, inciting our gun violence.

Imagine murders without guns? The mass killing in Buffalo or Nova Scotia would certainly have been different, perhaps not even happening. Human evil will happen, so it is incumbent upon us to make these harmful efforts difficult or impossible to happen.

Take the tools of their trade away from them. Make life a better option, always.

Steven Kaszab

Bradford, Ontario

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