Fareed Zakaria: ‘Time to face facts on gun control’

A 2007 Small Arms Survey reports that private gun ownership in the United States in 2010 averaged 290,000,000. That’s 96 firearms per 100 residents. GPS’s Fareed Zakaria concludes from the same survey, that “We have 5 percent of the world's population and 50 percent of the guns.” He says the United States has “…four times as many [gun homicides per 100,000 people] as Switzerland, ten times as many as India, 20 times as many as Australia and England.” Zakaria makes the point that the United States has no more madmen that commit mass shootings than the rest of the world, yet other countries have much less gun violence. Since Colorado’s mass shooting, gun control opponents have opined that lack of early detection of mental illness is the cause of such tragedies. It’s essentially their same old fallacious argument that gun advocates have used for years: guns don’t kill people; people do. Mental illness, of course, did play a role in the killing rampage in Colorado. But it’s because of America’s deep-rooted gun culture and their support for lax gun control laws that a gun is made easily available to murderers and the mentally ill. As Zakaria points out, the facts speak for themselves: The civilian population of the United States owns most of the world’s guns. It only stands to reason that violence committed by guns are the problem; not madmen. And it doesn’t look like gun ownership is going to go down anytime soon. In the aftermath of every mass shooting in the United States, purchases of guns and ammunition increase. Some say it is fear driven, a perceived need for self-protection. Gun dealers say it’s due to America’s expectation of new restrictions on gun ownership and ammunition. But whatever the reason, as incidents of mass shootings and gun violence increase, so do more guns and ammunition land in the hands of law abiding citizens, as well as criminals and the mentally ill. No one can honestly disagree with Zakaria’s conclusion: “We cannot change the tortured psychology of madmen like James Holmes. What we can do is change our gun laws.” Sources:

Research notes, Estimating Civilian Owned Firearms, Small Arms Survey Fareed Zakaria, Time to face facts on gun control, CNN’s GPS David R. Dow, We Stop The Next Aurora Not With Gun Control, But With Better Mental Health Treatment, The Daily Beast Linda Feldmann, Why gun sales spike after mass shootings: It's not what you might think, The Christian Science Monitor