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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Five of eleven myths...

Note: The Charleston shootings this week were a hate crime, a form of home-grown terrorism akin to suicide bombers. The murderer's racist ideology is a legacy of small, impoverished minds conditioned over centuries by fear and by this culture's huge Lie that we are separate beings...when in fact we are completely connected to - and dependent on - the matrix of Life and each other.

Now for some myths about gun control. See the others at The Guardian...

Myth No2: Americans don’t want meaningful gun reforms  Support for universal background checks skyrocketed after the December 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, with 90% of Americans behind the proposal at its peak. More than two years later, polls continue to show strong support for expanding background checks, averaging 80%. As a successful 2014 ballot initiative in Washington state proved, if you leave the decision in the hands of voters, they are more likely than politicians to vote for universal background checks.
Myth No4: Switzerland and Israel seem to do OK without gun control  Switzerland is actually second among wealthy countries in terms of annual gun deaths (0.77 per 100,000 of population in one recent survey, versus 2.97 in the US and just 0.07 in England and Wales) but has barely half as many guns per 100 people (45.7 versus 88.8 in the US). But even this comparison gets weaker if you look at the way the Swiss keep their guns, which stems from a tradition of military service that has been considerably tightened over the years. One US study by the National Institutes of Health points out that both  Switzerland and Israel (another alleged exception to the rule touted as proof that guns don’t kill) actually limit firearm ownership considerably and require permit renewal one to four times annually.
Myth No7: Guns are essential for self-defense  According to the nonprofit Violence Policy Center, there were just 258 “justifiable homicides” involving civilians using guns in 2012, as opposed to 8,342 criminal homicides committed with a firearm. And those figures do not even include an estimated 22,000 suicides and accidental shootings annually where guns are involved.
Myth No10: Mass shootings still happen in areas with strict gun laws, so gun control doesn’t work  In the September 2013 Navy Yard incident, the shooter legally purchased firearms in neighboring Virginia despite a criminal record and mental health issues – exposing gaps in the current background checks system. And cities like Chicago are plagued by the illegal trafficking of firearms; there is no current federal law that defines gun trafficking or straw purchasing as a crime.
Myth No11: Universal background checks would create a federal database of gun owners  In fact, the Manchin-Toomey legislation explicitly barred the creation of a federal database in its text, but opponents insisted it would infringe on the liberties of gun owners in America. Aside from that being a false claim, it was notable that just a couple of months later, when it was revealed that the NSA was spying on millions of Americans, the same lawmakers were overwhelmingly supportive of far more intrusive data-gathering.