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August 5, 2012

EYE ON THE PIE: It is time to get serious about gun control

This should be a no brainer, but many unthinking people are blocking gun control in this country.

OK. By now I have lost 99 percent of those who resist debate about guns in our communities. Those who agree with me, however, are deserting as well because they are tired of the battle.

The simple truth is half of all homicides and suicides are the product of gun usage. In total, 36,200 Americans died in 2010 because of guns. That’s more than the number who died in vehicular accidents. That’s more people than live in all but two dozen Hoosier cities. More than reside in Goshen or Merrillville, Michigan City or West Lafayette, Clarksville or Logansport … Need I go on?

Gun control need not be a federal policy. It can be, and historically has been, a matter for state consideration. We do not have to follow the extreme positions of Texas and Florida. More reasonable models exist. But nothing can be done if the two major candidates for governor continue to pander to the ignorant, knee-jerk protesters who insist it is their right to populate the state with guns.

People use guns to kill people. Since we cannot rid ourselves of people, let’s get rid of the guns. Guns are more efficient in killing people than are knives or poisons. (Yes, mama, I mean the hunting rifle and the shotgun too.)

For too long the anti-gun movement has been hobbled by timidity. Gun supporters use the second amendment to the Constitution to justify any serious effort to control access to these machines for manslaughter. That amendment is out-of-date and needs to be changed so that our society can be safer.

Gun dealers do not contribute to a more secure society.

They peddle the means to destroy ourselves and our neighbors. Gun manufacturers who produce for our military forces need to be limited in their sales for that purpose only. We need not be the arsenal of the fragmented nations of the world.

The argument, “someone else will sell the guns if we do not,” does not justify our participation in the international gun trade. The argument, “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” is a deadly play on words.

The pro-gun forces include gangs and sociopathic members of our society. People fear them and the gun racks they often display to intimidate less violent Americans.

The strength of the pro-gun forces is based on the hesitancy of anti-gun people to stand up, to display bumper stickers, to design acceptable laws, to be vocal in support of their beliefs, and to bring pressure on legislators. Those who would ban guns or severely limit them rarely stand and say, “The killing must stop.” They may even tell tales of their rural childhood pleasure in destroying the rabbit population as if that gives them pro-gun credentials.

We will not prevent every Aurora, every Columbine, every drive-by shooting, or every suicide by gun until those who desire a safer nation are unafraid to stand for their beliefs against the tyranny of uncompromising, pro-gun dogma.

Morton Marcus is an independent economist, writer and speaker formerly with the IU Kelley School of Business.

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