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What's Behind the Gun Craze in the U.S.?

Updated on February 8, 2013


In December 2012, following the historic incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut—in which Adam Lanza forced his way into the school and, with a semiautomatic assault weapon, mowed down 27 people, including 20 first graders—the gun-control debate, to no one’s surprise, was immediately refueled and quickly took center stage in the nation. President Obama, in his teary-eyed, heartfelt speech to the bereaved families, promised to renew efforts to regulate gun ownership and high-capacity clips. In so doing, he was responding to the challenge given by Governor Andrew Cuomo and answering to the polls that support some measure of gun control. A Quinnipiac poll found that 92 percent of voters support background checks on all gun buyers, including 91 percent of gun-owning households, according to Huffington Post.

Few people believe, however, that anything in this regard will be done. “In recent years, there have been calls for action on gun violence after a series of horrific mass shootings, including the 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007, the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and 18 others in 2011, and the deaths of 12 people at a movie theater in Colorado in July 2012. But the bills that were introduced—including ones to restrict the sales of 100-bullet magazines or to tighten background checks—went nowhere,” stated an article in The New York Times.com.

Whether any legislation will be enacted into law this time is indeed an open question, but one thing is absolutely certain. The 4.3 million-member National Rifle Association will threaten elected officials who seek to regulate gun buying in America, using their deep pockets and political influence to suppress any effort. After a week of silence, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the NRA, came out with all guns blazing.

LaPierre lost no time making it clear that the NRA’s answer to the Sandy Hook massacre is not to regulate gun-buying but to put armed guards in all schools, mostly paid for by the government. His now famous line is “the only thing that stops bad guys with a gun is good guys with a gun.” Testifying before congress, he made it clear that the NRA is against background checks. Becoming more irrational, and even more hypocritical, he ran an ad targeting President Obama’s children, saying in essence that if his children are being protected by armed guards, it is “hypocritical of him to stand against the implementation of using armed guards at all schools across the country.” Chris Wallace, on Fox News, challenged him by asking if he regretted making the ad. He squirmed, saying “the ad was not picking on the president’s children.” His answer was ridiculous and Wallace told him so. But LaPierre did not back down.

As soon as the president began to talk about gun control, gun enthusiasts renewed their rush to purchase guns and ammunition. Ever since Obama was elected in 2008, the sale of guns has been booming. Writing about the gun sales prior to the 2012 election, Perry Chiaramonte, of FoxNews.com, wrote: “Sales of handguns and ammunition are booming across the country, and retailers say it’s all about the November election.” He went to write, “Gun show owners around the nation told FoxNews.com that sales, brisk ever since President Obama was elected [in 2008], has spiked upward in recent months.” Forbes.com contributor, Frank Miniter, added: “Back in 2009 gun manufacturers label President Obama as the ‘best gun salesman of all time.’ They weren’t even jesting. The FBI recorded a 49 percent rise in gun background checks during the 2008 election week compared to the same week a year earlier. Fear of gun-control legislation certainly helped sell guns…” Following the Newtown Massacre, the gun industry experienced a boom in sales to such an extent that manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand, according to the Washington Post. Fear that President Obama is trying to take away their guns, gun enthusiasts have gone bananas. Crazed gun enthusiasts, after the Newtown massacre, began hitting the stores and gun shows with their wallets wide open, buying up every available gun, including available ammunition.

Gun lovers and the NRA are not only driven by fear that Obama will take away their guns; they are driven by the absurd notion that the Second Amendment to the constitution is absolute. Proponents of gun control seem to believe the Amendment is not absolute. In June 1999, Bill Bradley, speaking against gun violence in America at a San Francisco dinner, said: “The NRA and its allies take the view that the Second Amendment is absolute—that any regulation of any gun, regardless of how deadly or destructive, infringes on their individual rights to bear arms,” according to guncite.com.

The Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Although the amendment is sloppily punctuated, the Supreme Court did opine that it gives individuals the right to bear arms—and nobody seems to deny that. The controversy is “the right of every American to own a gun versus society’s need to get guns off the streets to prevent violent crime,” according to Timothy Harper in his book, The U.S. Constitution. Those who hold the absolutist view believe the right to own guns without any regulations should rule the day. They believe they have the absolute right to own any type of gun they wish—and any attempt to regulate gun ownership is trampling on their constitutional rights.

One thing almost overlooked in the gun debate is the idea that the Second Amendment means that people have the right to bear arms to protect themselves from the government. In a two-county, Virginia weekly newspaper, The Sussex – Surry Dispatch, Linda Chambers in her letter to the editor, speaks what many gun crazed people believe. She wrote, “[the Second Amendment] is meant for citizens to bear arms in case of a government takeover.” She went on to say. “We are allowed to have guns or weapons equal to that of those (who) might try to overtake us by government control, as did the British.” When Wayne LaPierre was questioned on national television about assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, he used the practically same words as Chambers. Furthermore, anyone who listens beyond the rhetoric on Second Amendment rights can clearly hear that tone. That sheds light on the reason so many people are buying and stowing so many assault weapons and so much ammunition and high-capacity magazines—to go to war as a militia to protect their constitutional rights.

So, what drives the gun mania in the country? Is it the fear that the federal government will take guns away from the public? Is it the belief that the constitution gives an absolute right to own guns, without any regulations? Is it to provide bunkers of weapons and ammunition for the purpose of arming militias to protect states from federal takeover? Or is it hunting, individual protection, sports, or some other driving force?

The answer! After reading the above, YOU DECIDE.


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    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Seems to me it is basically paranoia, distrust of the government, especially under this particular President, (gosh, could racism play a prt here?).

      Side note: On 2/7/2013, in Bend, Oregon, the scene, a crowded McDonalds Restaurant. A woman's derringer falls out of her purse, hits the floor, and fires,the bullet hitting her husband in the stomach. He is in serious condition in the hospital. I am so glad it was he who was shot by this stupid gun owner, and not some truly innocent employee or customer. He probably approved of his wife carrying her (inadequate) protection. I wonder how he feels about it today?

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      An average citizen who arms himself to defend against a fully armed rogue has no chance to protect himself / herself. The pro gun lobby capitalizes on creating fear factor and polluting innocent minds into thinking that arms are the best defence. Also, our movie industry encourages keeping arms and deploying them at flimsiest of excuses.

      I can say one thing for sure: Look at the countries that have culturally allowed their citizens to carry guns. All of them were and are at an armed conflict within themselves - Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, many African countries, etc.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      The problem of the mass slaying and the gun control and NRA actually makes an issue that is a distraction to the real problem of guns.

      Mass slaying are horrific and tragic but they are relatively low in deaths and they don't happen that often.

      No one can protect us from the random acts of violence. If you want to talk about gun safety, background checks and licensing that is great, but it still won't stop random acts of violence.

      What the distraction does is it makes an issue that is unsolvable and highly emotional. The real problem that is identifiable and recurrent is the guns used by the over 33000 gangs in the US with over 1.4 million gang members. These gangs are in the business of illegal products and services. To protect these criminal activities they use their weapons.

      These activities include selling illegal drugs to children, using children for prostitution, and human trafficking. Going after the gangs has multiple benefits, while trying to predict the next mass slayer is illusive.

      In CA there are 20000 gun owners that are known by the government to have mental problems severe enough that they need to take away their guns, but they don't have the budget to follow through on their list. Doing something about this funding problem would be helpful.

      There is no way that the bad guys will be deprived of their weapons, in fact one of their illegal businesses is gun running.

      The point is, wouldn't you rather be doing something that is known and repetitive and solves multiple problems like gangs, illegal businesses and protects children directly, then trying to guess or make cagtegoric measures to seek out the unknown, that won't directly protect our children.

      Gun control is not going to protect our children from being sold illegal drugs, or prostitution, but gang control will do it.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 4 years ago

      I'm afraid that the real paranoia is in hubs like this , and hey lets through the race card in here too Xstatic ! As the second amendment has been around since the beginning you can't blame the constitution for insanity and murder , the invisibility of our system for mental health care in America wouldn't play any part in this would it ? Or how about the open and revolving door of our penal system ? People , its the same .001 % of people who manifest all of the gun violence in America , The idiousy in thinking our ability to legislate away all of our problems in America will solve everything is just that , idiousy ! Go ahead though , lets see you legislate away mental deficiancy from society . that'll work ! I personally have known hundreds , thousands of gun owners in my life yet , not one of them has used one in a crime ! Not one ! Now , If you were really concerned about violence in America , you might adress the real issues , media , devisive governmental partisan foreplay , A liberally soft justice system , Open borders where an ever violent , drugged and violent cartell system of constant immigration is poring the southern borders............Don't get me going !.......But Race ! ....... race has nothing to do with an incompitent leadership !.....this hub is interesting at best !

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Of corrse mental health is a problem, paranoia is a mental health problem. We have more people in prison per thousand of population than any other industrialized western country. And people pof color are disporportianately represented in the prison population.

      Agreeing with IB above about the need to get a handle on gangs for sure.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      xstatic

      It is not just civilian gun owners that you could cite.

      A couple of days ago, police thinking that they had the Dorner vehicle, unloaded about fifty bullets, and hitting twice a woman in the vehicle.

      They gave no warning just opened fire, and that shows a lack of training in that police department.

      It also indicates that they were high on adrenalin, instead of being professional. When someone is feeling their adrenalin there is no fine motor control.

      Beyond that these police needlessly endangered the public, as strays shots hit neighborhood cars, and houses.

      Many women carry unlicensed concealed weapons in their purse for protection. Had they been able to carry them legally they would have also had to pass a safety course.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      I would wager the woman with the derringer had a permit. With a round in the chamber, any kind of revolver is a hazard if dropped, and one or two shot derringer would fit the bill.

      I heard about those police officers too. They are all scared to death of this guy, expert shot, one of them who went bad, who has apparently declared war on them. I hope they terminate him soon.

      A friend here who has done a lot firing range work and he tells me that officers are instructed to shoot and keep firing til their 14 shot Glock magazine is empty.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      xstatic

      "I would wager the woman with the derringer had a permit. With a round in the chamber, any kind of revolver is a hazard if dropped, and one or two shot derringer would fit the bill.

      ib--------------------------

      This is your assumption only

      Any one that had a gun safety class would know how to carry a gun safely.

      And the fact is that many women carry unlicensed guns in their purses. I know, I dated a number of them.

      ----------------------------------

      I heard about those police officers too. They are all scared to death of this guy, expert shot, one of them who went bad, who has apparently declared war on them. I hope they terminate him soon.

      ib-----------------------

      My point is that these officers were not well trained.

      --------------------------

      A friend here who has done a lot firing range work and he tells me that officers are instructed to shoot and keep firing til their 14 shot Glock magazine is empty."

      ib--------------------

      That doesn't make any sense at all.

      First, you don't start shooting until you have a bad guy target.

      This is part of all combat training, distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys.

      In the LA situation, they never identified the target, and they only hit twice. The rest of their shots endangered others.

      Shooting a gun until empty versus shooting two shots, and re targeting , how does that make sense, especially if you don't hit your target. You might as well give these officers UZIs.

      ---------------------

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 4 years ago

      I believe that once reason takes hold of the present hysteria , that calmer heads will resolve some of the issues with guns , yet also with mental health care , rehabing our criminal justice system to make it more inclusive of prevention and punishment ,and making ALL of us more acountable for preventing further atrocities ! It isn't just legal gun owners who must pay this price , its cops , lawyers , judges and doctors ! Its mental health officials , inter dept . communication between hospitals , judges , emergency rooms ! You all must get real about the obvious inability to legislate insanity ! ....:-}

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      All that needs to be addressed for sure, but we will, it seems so far, start with some limits on firearms and magazines.

    • profile image

      Lou 4 years ago

      @xstatic

      "I would wager the woman with the derringer had a permit. With a round in the chamber, any kind of revolver is a hazard if dropped, and one or two shot derringer would fit the bill."

      You don't know shit about firearms. 99.9% of new revolvers sold are drop proof. The exception being some replica 19th century designs that are sold specifically to mimic cowboy era guns. Not the kind of firearm most people would typically have as a concealed carry piece. That said, some revolvers made 30 years ago, and more, were not drop proof. Though, most made in the time frame of the 20th century, were.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Gee Lou, your are such a world of info. I am no expert, having not owned a gun for 20 years, but I do love to read about stupid people who feel the need to carry and end up dropping their pistols on theater floors to be found by someone else, or shooting some family member or innocent bystander. Too many firearms in the hands or too many fools in this country. I hope we find a way to curb the paranoia that makes people think they have a need.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      xstatic

      I guess you are out of answers

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 4 years ago

      Any responsible owner of guns knows the dangers , take a look at a chainsaw , a bar with a ripping ,tearing chain spinning at 8,000 revolutions per miniute , or a helicopter landing nearby , you know enough to stand clear right , It is pure idiousy to not address, and handle a gun in the same way ! However , the insane - the derenged , and the Criminal ? Is breaking all the rules before he evem picks up the gun! What will YOU do to change that ? What will ANYone do to change that !.......:-}

    • profile image

      Phil 4 years ago

      "What's Behind the Gun Craze in the U.S.?"

      Liberals.

    • profile image

      Luis 4 years ago

      The writer has it wrong. Adam Lanza used handguns, NOT a "semiautomatic" weapon.

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