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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: It’s Not the Guns | 01-14-2013
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The Real Side | Commentary by Joe Messina
| Monday, Jan 14, 2013

mug_joemessinaI have been hearing it for weeks now: guns this, guns that. Those nasty guns. And who needs more than 10 bullets to hit a deer? Then “the left” starts with the automatic weapons. Who needs an automatic weapon? Why do we need guns?

Let’s apply some common sense. Let’s stop the hysteria and get to real facts.

First, the loss of any life, including those precious young kids, is unacceptable. My heart goes out to those families. But stop blaming the guns.

I have yet to hear any stories where a gun, sitting in a drawer or on a table, went off and killed someone as they walked by. Never.

However, I have heard many stories about how someone with a mental disorder used the gun of a law-abiding citizen and killed someone. I have also heard of car-jacked vehicles killing someone. And I have heard of people being beaten with a tire iron or baseball bat.

You say, “Joe, you’re being ridiculous. You can kill and maim so many more with a gun.” Really?

When the 77-year-old man drove his car through the Third Street Promenade killing 12 and hurting many others, did we pull licenses from all 77-year-olds?

Why haven’t we raised the driving age or banned all teenagers from having phones with texting capabilities? It’s the No. 1 killer of teens.

When gun bans were put in place during the Clinton administration, violent gun crimes didn’t stop or drop at all.

Over the last 30 years, guns sales are up by more than 40 percent. Crime, however, is down overall. Hello? Numbers count. You have to take the emotion out of it.

In Los Angeles County alone, 4 million guns have been sold over the last 10 years. Crime? It has dropped. Why aren’t gun-related deaths and violence up exponentially with all of these additional guns? Because guns are not the problem.

In Florida, Texas, and other places where gun permits are easier to obtain, crime drops. Take out the emotion look at the numbers.

Criminals don’t follow the law. That’s why they are called criminals and why they do time.

California dealers sold 600,000 guns in 2011, versus just 350,000 in 2002, according to records of sales tallied by the California attorney general’s office.

Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations in California due to gun injuries dropped by roughly 28 percent, to 2,900 in 2011 from about 4,000 in 2002, according to records newly collected by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

Gun-related deaths in California fell by 13 percent over the same period, to about 2,800 from 3,200, according to the California Department of Public Health.

According to Mark Kleiman, a UCLA public policy professor who has written on guns and crime, the most likely group to be killed or hurt by guns are young men.

Imagine a whole community of old women who owned guns for protection. How many violent gun incidents do you think we would have? How many silver-on-silver-haired violence incidents would we have? I personally believe there would be none.

There are more than 211 million guns owned in the United States. There are almost 350 million people living in the United States. If we use the logic and numbers thrown out by “the left,” we should have a major incident with multiple deaths nearly every 13 minutes.

Many crimes are committed using stolen guns. Forty percent of the guns used in crimes are stolen or purchased on the street illegally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

So for those of you who think that banning any kind of gun, hand gun or assault rifle is going to help, just check out what’s happening in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Crime is up.

The numbers don’t lie. Tougher gun laws equal more violence and deadly crime. Reasonable gun laws that allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves equal less crime.

The gun issue is just another distraction from the real problem – our legislators.

 

Joe Messina is host of The Real Side (TheRealSide.com), a nationally syndicated talk show that runs on AM-1220 KHTS radio and SCVTV [here]. He is also an elected member of the Hart School Board. His commentary publishes Mondays.

 

 

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