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Countable Primer: Guns in America

by Countable | 4.6.18

America has a complicated relationship with guns. For some they are a symbol of self-sufficiency and personal freedom. For others they represent a ubiquitous threat of violence. Lawmakers and lobbying groups largely square off on these two sides, making both gun-rights and gun-control some of the thorniest issues in American politics today.

The Constitution:

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people "to keep and bear arms." The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that this is an individual right of private citizens, though it is not unlimited. In the last decade, The Court has upheld in several cases that The Second Amendment does not prohibit all regulation of firearms.

The NRA and Gun Rights:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is among the most powerful grassroots lobbying organizations in U.S. politics. It's leadership describes it as "America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights," as well as a firearms education and safety organization. The NRA raises and donates money to political campaigns at all levels of the government, and rallies its considerable membership against any proposed gun regulation it perceives as infringing upon Second Amendment rights.

The Rise in Gun Violence:

After a nearly 15-year period of relative stasis, the U.S. rate for gun deaths has been steadily increasing since 2015. According to data collected by Gun Violence Archive, at least 15,549 Americans were killed by guns in 2017, excluding suicides. The deadliest mass shooting in modern American history – Las Vegas – occurred in October 2017; the eighth deadliest shooting - Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida – occurred in February 2018.

The Call for Gun Control:

In the wake of historically deadly mass shootings in Las Vegas and at a high school in Florida, gun control advocates are calling for firearms restrictions with renewed vigor. Immediately following the Florida shooting, students and teaches began staging protests and walk-outs around the country. Some lawmakers have pledged to introduce new measures in Congress. Countable will keep you up to date with the latest proposals.

Congress & The President:

In Pew's latest poll on the subject, 79% of Republicans favored protecting gun ownership rights over limiting gun access. That compares with 20% of Democrats who felt the same way. In other words, there was a stunning 59 percentage point partisan gap on the issue….

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(27)
  • Sandra
    02/18/2018
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    Guns don’t kill people but...people with guns do!!! And who needs an assault rifle? And why shouldn’t anyone wanting one be FULLY investigated? And why are we de-funding mental health care? And why can’t this country enact common sense gun control? I did not say take guns away-but why would we not want to ensure that they are only in the hands of those who will use them responsibly? The time is NOW. Actually, it is long past due. I expect, as a citizen of this country -as a parent-as a grandparent of 5 between the ages of 1 and 18, (all but the 1year old attend school) that as citizens/students we will all be safe-safe to go to school-safe to go to the mall-safe to go to church-safe to walk the streets. I insist, as a citizen/taxpayer/voter-do something now before one more senseless tragedy occurs -before one more parent has to bury a child-before one more child has to grow up without a parent. Please do what your constituents elected you to do- look out for our interests, our well-being. Please Make America SAFE again!!

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  • AmySchultz0815
    02/17/2018
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    When I hear “favored protecting gun ownership rights over limiting gun access” I hear “favored protecting gun ownership rights over the safety of our children.”

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  • Alex
    02/18/2018
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    To get pre-checked to enter the country (Global Entry) you need to undergo a thorough background check and the process takes nine months. You are not allowed to bring a wheel of cheese into the United States from France. To buy a semi-automatic assault rifle, you need to wait just 15 minutes in Florida if you already have your concealed carry permit, or a maximum of 5 days. It appears as though you can have multiple arrests and incidents on your record, and it will not prevent your purchase. Where are our priorities? The Second Amendment says "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." No one is required to sign up for the National Guard, Homeland Defense, or a regulated militia in exchange in order to bear arms. Aren't conservative justices and judges supposed to be in favor of "strict constructionism?" What is the purpose of the first sentence of the Second Amendment if not to connect the right to bear arms with the need for a WELL REGULATED militia. This obviously doesn't mean Ammon Bundy's anarchist posse, the Second Says "WELL REGULATED" by the "STATE." I own some guns and grew up in a rural area where I used to target practice for fun, I was even an youth NRA member, but we have to change. Blaming mental illness for the predictable outcome of under-regulating weapons of massacre is absurd gaslighting. It's clear that gun ownership, just like automobile ownership, or ownership of anything dangerous, is limited by the rights to public safety of other people.

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  • Mike
    02/24/2018
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    How the hell is it a God given right to have an assault rifle. I don't remember one of the 10 commandments being, "Thou shalt carry high capacity weapons with extended ammo clips". We don't allow people to own RPG's and hand grenades and with good reason. So please stop telling me about your God given rights and let's look at this issue with some common sense (God given or otherwise). Nobody is trying to abolish the 2nd amendment. People just want the carnage to stop!

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  • ScottAnthonyUSA
    02/25/2018
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    The horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas just highlighted 4 major failure areas to public safety. None of the safeguards that are ALREADY LAW / ESTABLISHED PROTOCOLS were followed. As such, students were killed / injured. No mass murderer has ever been an NRA member, and the NRA actually established the strictest guidelines of how to protect schools and they actually want follow through on background checks, prevent mentally ill from obtaining firearms, etc. People in America of late tend to act / react emotionally vs logically. A sick person killed people. He used a rifle as his tool. The rifle can’t do anything without the sick person committing the act of violence where again, 4 major failures occurred. That is why I re-joined the NRA to actually make sure these failures do not happen again. “Feel Good” protests won’t fix this issue; action will.

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  • Isabel
    02/25/2018
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    I am a 16 year old high schooler in Connecticut. When I heard about the Parkland shooting, my first thought was what if that happened here? I was devastated even to consider that. I should not have to live in fear that someone is going to come to my school, to my place of learning, and use a weapon. Many people want to preserve the constitution, but we forget that in the good old days, the constitution allowed for slavery. Times change, we need to change too.

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  • Joyce
    02/24/2018
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    Where in the Bible does it say it is a God Given Right to own guns? The NRA has become a mouthpiece for the gun industry and has radicalized the 2nd Amendment! I listened to Mr. Wayne at CPAC this week misrepresent what is being proposed on Gun Regulations. Our constitution says a well Regulated militia and the right to bear arms, emphasis on well regulated.. No one wants to take away your guns and I fail to see how legislation that will limit AR rifles sales will be an infringement on your rights. Their are many layers to this conversation but remember This Administration repealed President Obama’s executive order on mental health assistance which is now being quoted as part of the solution.If we All are willing to shift our thinking and compromise we could save many lives..

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  • Michelle
    02/24/2018
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    I’m unsure at this point, other than your continued taking of NRA funds and valuing wallet over morals, why any politician wouldn’t be in favor of tighter gun regulations? I can’t buy a car without insurance and agreeing to tag it once a year. I can’t buy more than 3 cases of beer in Indiana at one time. I can’t buy cold medicine without showing an ID and then I can’t buy more for a month. Am I the only one who says, this makes no sense? Require insurance, require titling or tagging, require extensive background and mental health evals, require yearly training, and stop selling assault rifles. It’s fairly simple. Any responsible gun owner would gladly do these things to save lives!

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  • Joe
    02/24/2018
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    America has a lack of mental health issue. Not enough access, not enough spent. Insurance will pay for viagra but not mental health. The system is broken and people want to blame guns. Fact knives, bats, and hammers kill more people than guns. Fact drunk drivers kill yet no one is shouting for breath-a-lizers on cars. We have a mental health crisis. Violent video games devalue human life. TV and music glorify gangster lifestyles. Till this attitude toward life changes, we will continue to have problems. Guns aren’t the problem, people are.

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  • Veterkins
    02/24/2018
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    If two our three sons are old enough to enlist in the Air Force, one at 17, and one at 18, they are old enough to own a gun. STOP THE INFRINGEMENT OF OUR SECOND AMENDMENT, GOD GIVEN RIGHTS! Stop the knee jerk reaction to a problem that was created because the FBI and police failed to do their jobs!

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  • David
    02/23/2018
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    At a minimum, privatd citizens have no business owning military type weapons.

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  • Derek
    02/24/2018
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    Take guns away and what will you have? An increase in stabbings. Take knives away and you’ll have an increase in beatings. No guns, same problem.... People. The NRA is protecting our second amendment, know why it’s such a strong lobby because people want that amendment upheld and protected. People who support the NRA aren’t supporting violent crime. Criminals don’t give one dang about laws, freedoms or the NRA! We hurt for the children too and never want to see another criminal abuse the use of a gun, but they will and you’d better find a way to protect yourself and loved ones because laws and regulations won’t and can’t stop insanity.

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  • Lisa
    02/26/2018
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    Why stop at AR-15s being legal? I’m sure if the NRA could somehow allow bombs into the hands of GOOD AMERICANS -they would ! Measured allowance of guns is the answer. I am for the second amendment with COMMON SENSE. Hunt and defend is fine.... but weapons of mass destruction - mass aggressive shooting should not be included in the second amendment - the NRA Leadership should be ashamed !

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  • Andrea
    03/03/2018
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    Also let’s make even more laws that murder should outlawed. Because crazy people and criminals always follow the law! Right?

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  • Sara
    02/25/2018
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    We are long overdue for change. Guns can and should be regulated as universally as vehicles are. Ban assault weapons outside of designated and licensed shooting facilities. Make a federal age requirement and require licensing/testing for gun ownership along with mandatory safety laws and/or insurance requirements. This is a no-brainer. We regulate many other, less-deadly products. Children are shooting children! We can all agree that a 13 year old should not be able to buy a gun. Not even at a gun show!

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  • Gilbert
    02/24/2018
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    The NRA should not be allowed to make campaign contributions. Watch things turn around.

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  • Carole
    02/24/2018
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    I am not asking that everyone turn in their guns. However, the guns when the 2nd Amendment was written and the guns of today are radically different. Also please remember that the amendment calls for well regulated. I believe that loopholes for not having to get a license at gun shows needs to be eliminated and a waiting period and a background check should take place. I also think bump stocks should not be sold and the number of rounds be cut back. I really don’t think AK15 need to be in the hands of civilians either. I think these are common sense regulations that keep mass shootings under control.

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  • Cary
    02/25/2018
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    The relationship I have with my guns, are not complicated. They don’t shoot anything I don’t want them to. They do not talk back. They Hit everything I’m aiming for. When I pull the trigger they fire without complaining. If I miss it’s my fault. If I hit something I was not intended to hit, that too is my fault. I am grown man, I choose when and how my AR15 is used. When I leave AR15 locked up in my safe I feel confident my AR15 and all my guns will be there waiting for me to use them when I’m ready.

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  • Kevin
    02/24/2018
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    The government should make all guns illegal just as they have done with illegal drugs. We can see how well that has worked out, people are still acquiring drugs that have been made illegal just as they will acquire guns. I do not agree with any of the shootings that have happened to the innocent people, but making guns illegal will only hurt the innocent more!

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  • Ethan
    02/28/2018
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    There's an old saying: God made men but Samuel Colt (creator of the first successfully mass produced revolver) made them equal. Having a gun is the great equalizer that gives us the ability to fight back against evil, be it crime,terrorism, or government tyranny. My family who stayed behind in Eastern Europe must have yearned for a gun as their rights to own one were crushed under Soviet tank treads. Allowing gun rights to be taken away from anyone, American or otherwise, does nothing for anyone to prosper in this world as they can feel safe having the right even if they don't purchase one.

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