From who's holding up the debate to who's actually profiting from mass shootings, these are the five sobering gun control facts both sides need to stop getting wrong if things are going to improve.
Three years ago today, Adam Lanza, armed with a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol, a 10mm Glock pistol, and a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, shot open the door of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Over the next ten minutes, he murdered 20 children and six adult faculty members, before turning the gun on himself.
Just twelve days ago, radicalized couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik walked into the Inland Regional Center (a nonprofit that provides services for the disabled) in San Bernardino, California and killed 14 of Farook’s coworkers. The couple was also armed with that same Bushmaster AR-15 rifle.
With recent shootings like this–and plenty more (not to mention tragic shootings abroad)–plus a presidential election on the horizon, the gun control debate has, understandably, reached a fever pitch.
Once again, Congress and President Obama are bashing their heads together relentlessly and our political parties are standing rigidly on their opposing poles, making real progress exceedingly difficult to achieve.
News articles, politician’s speeches, your friends’ Facebook posts, and your neighbor’s sermons are all riddled with statistics and quotes that seem to support whichever opinion is being expressed. The fact is, an overwhelming chunk of the gun-related data out there is simply false.
That said, according to polls taken by the Washington Post/ABC, CNN, Pew, Fox, AP, GfK, and CBS/The New York Times in January 2013, 75-90% of all Americans support, at the very least, more extensive background checks before a gun can be purchased. Perhaps the majority of U.S. citizens are more in agreement on this issue than you might think. If so, why haven’t the most basic steps toward better gun control been taken?
No matter where you stand on the gun control issue, there are a few solid facts and underlying themes that cannot be disputed (yet time is indeed wasted disputing them). When these crucial facts are altered or ignored, we are thrown down into the rabbit hole and a worthwhile discussion–let alone progress on a government level–becomes nearly impossible.
Here are the things both sides need to accept—the things that are needlessly bogging down the debate, and the things that we can no longer ignore…
Gun Control Facts: There’s A Lot Of Money At Stake
Gun lobbying is in the tens of millions and the gun market is showered in money with every mass shooting.
Over the past ten years, political support for guns was worth over $33 million to the National Rifle Association ($33,301,300, to be precise). Despite what some may think, this money isn’t exclusively going into the pockets of Republicans—the NRA will get in bed with most any candidate, business, or policy maker that will support their agenda.
If you continue following the money, you won’t be at all surprised to learn that guns are big business. The annual revenue of the U.S. gun and ammunition manufacturing industry is about $13.5 billion and, chillingly, revenue tends to spike just after mass shootings. Following the Sandy Hook shooting, sales increased and firearms had their best year in history. High-powered assault rifles, like the one Adam Lanza favored, flew off the shelves.
In the year following the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, over 21 million gun applications were filed, the largest amount in history, up over 1.5 million from the year before (in comparison, only 9 million were filed in 1999). Likewise, after the San Bernardino shooting, longtime gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson reported a revenue growth of $143 million and stock rose by 17% in less than a week. With figures this large involved, an unbiased debate is next to impossible.