IT’S THE GUNS, DUM DUM!


By Akin Ojumu

One of the arguments we often hear the NRA, and its stooges in the right-wing echo chamber, make in support of their stance against gun regulation is that “Guns don’t kill people, only people with guns kill people.”

Well, what do you know? The following are a few things that don’t kill people but are still regulated anyway: automobiles, pharmaceutical products, alcohol, cigarettes, pesticides, insecticides, poisons, bombs and explosives, etc.

A parked vehicle can kill no one, unless and until it’s operated by someone. That’s the reason there are established regulations that stipulate the proper use of automobiles. It’s why we have driver’s license requirements, minimum age for driving, speed limit, driving lanes, when to overtake, children crossing, driving under the influence of alcohol, etc. We have these regulations because we know that the improper use of automobiles can lead to devastating consequences.

What about alcohol? That bottle of Hennessy sitting on the shelf is harmless, and no one gets drunk by merely staring at a Hennessy bottle. It takes someone gazing longingly at it, admiring its color, seeing how it sparkles in the cup, imagining how smoothly it’ll go down, and then reaching out for the bottle to take a sip, then a full cup, and then emptying the whole bottle down the throat before the Hennessy can bear its fangs.

The same goes for bombs and explosives. Now, I don’t know of any place in the world where it’s legal to have a private arsenal of bombs and explosives. In most countries, civilians are prohibited from having bombs and explosives. Even for those permitted to handle them, there are very strict rules.

Likewise, guns don’t become deadly until someone picks them up to use. The likelihood of them being used improperly is why guns are regulated in most countries. The United States is the only country in the world where the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution. There’s no other country where the citizens have such a right to own an unlimited cache of deadly weapons.

US gun manufacturers have exploited to their cynical advantage the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment which confers on the citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Together with the National Rifle Association (NRA), the gun manufacturers have become a very powerful lobbying force which funds the campaign of political candidates. Having received money from gun lobbyists, the politicians go on to do the NRA’s bidding.

In fact, as many as 95 percent of elected Republican officials receive support from the NRA. In return, they block and obstruct all legislation that would make the use of guns safer in America. Legislations such as background checks to screen for criminal history of, or mental illness in, those attempting to buy guns are gunned down in utero.

The reason for the obstruction is to ensure nothing impedes the flow of gun sales. Gun manufacturers are in the business of making money, all they care about is their bottom line. So, they go to great lengths to maintain a deluge of guns pouring into the society uninterrupted by any regulation or law. Using creative marketing strategies, they get Americans hooked on guns. As the demand for guns shoots up, the sale of guns goes up, and the bank accounts of gun manufacturers swell up.

When you flood a society of unregenerate men with instruments of death and mass destruction, what you get in return is carnage and massacre. The rampant gun violence and gun related deaths in the US is the direct result of the “you ain’t a real man if you don’t own a gun” marketing strategy of the gun manufacturers and the NRA. It’s the law of cause and effect playing out. The repercussion of the lax and loose gun laws in the US is the bloodshed we witnessed at the Buffalo Supermarket and the massacre that took place at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

That human beings are fundamentally evil is an established fact and there are many walking around who have mental illness. That said, the United States is no more evil than any other developed country. There are as many mentally ill persons in other countries as we have in the US. Yet, America stands alone as the developed nation with the highest incidence of gun related deaths. Unlike any other country made up of evil and mentally sick people, the US ranks number 1 in the massacre of school children with guns. The reason for that is guns and not people. Abundance of guns is the one factor that separates the US from other developed countries; it is the American exceptionalism.

To stop this recurring carnage, America must take guns out of the hands of its sick people. A robust national background check program must be established. Urgently needed is a Federal red flag law that will permit police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. Mentally sick people must be provided the medical intervention they require. Just as with driving a vehicle, a minimum age requirement must be established for gun ownership. The government must institute an immediate ban on assault weapons, bump stocks, and high-capacity magazines.

If these measures are not instituted, it’s only a matter of time before another mass shooting happens, and another round of thoughts and prayers kicks off.

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