Hello Dems & Friends. Last night, I taped a very short segment for Urix on NRK. (The last six minutes or so of the program.) The idea was to debate gun control with Austin Rasmussen of Republicans Abroad Norway. There wasn't time for a real debate, but we each made a couple of quick points. I hope I did DAN proud. Unfortunately, this is likely not the last time we'll be called upon for our perspective on this issue.
Meanwhile, I want to cite a couple of the stats we mentioned tonight:
- The U.S. has experienced 521 mass shootings (4+ victims/1 shooter/1 location) in 477 days
- Austin pointed out that violent crime rates in the U.S. have been declining for decades
- Gun sales in the U.S. spike after mass shootings
- Sixty-eight people were massacred on Utøya, just outside of Oslo, in 2011. It was the deadliest crime in Norway since WWII.
- The majority of Americans on both sides of the aisle agree on basic, common sense gun control measures
- Mass shootings are NOT increasing in frequency, but they ARE increasing in severity
This last point is especially important. We need research in the U.S. on a scale that will help us determine root causes of the problem and find a way to preempt it. Budgetary roadblocks have kept the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from doing research on gun violence as a matter of public health for decades. That's been a partisan issue. But if mental health is the major factor in these mass shootings--as GOP voters like Austin like to claim--then we should be able to prove that with data and approach solutions that way.
Given that 2/3 of the 1.5 million gun deaths in the U.S. since 1968 have been suicides, I think taking a hard look at mental health is a good idea either way.
But we need to do it together. Our members of congress need to MOVE on this issue now. Please call. Please write. Please vote. And please keep talking about this issue in an earnest, informed, reasonable way with your conservative friends.