The law be damned; owning a gun or other firearm must become almost impossible, like it is in Japan.
Japan’s policies about gun violence are a worldwide model. The United States, and every state, should adopt these policies.
Who doesn’t want to walk around in a safe place, feeling secure and knowing that your guard can be down and your children can take themselves to school?
Article in The Economist, May, 2017: As crime dries up, Japan’s police hunt for things to do.
Subtitle: There was just one fatal shooting in the whole of 2015.
Japan’s policies prove fewer guns means less crime and fewer deaths. For every 100 people in Japan, there are .06 guns. In the U.S., for every 100 people, there are 101 guns.
A U.S. Congressional Research Service report in 2009 estimated there were 301 million firearms in this country, not including weapons owned by the military.
The Census bureau stated in 2009 that the U.S. population was 306 million.
Of the 301 million guns, 114 million were handguns, 100 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns.
In Japan, in 2015, there were 8 crimes that involved gunfire. Japan has a population of about 127 million people.
There is no disagreement possible with the proposition that there is too much gun violence in the United States.
Please see this video posted on Facebook about Japan’s gun policies and those policies’ results:
The Arguments for Gun Ownership Deflated
Seemingly there are two arguments for owning a gun in the U.S. The first is that of the concern for self-protection. The second is the Constitutional “right.”
Personal defense and safety is an often-debated topic. While studies show various numbers, they all point to a very low incidence of a gun-owner having to use a gun for protection.
One study (Violence Research Group) indicated a gun was used about 65,000 times per year, across a three-year period (1987-1990), counting approximately 3.2 million crimes, or .2 percent of the time.
The 65,000 times per year estimate equates to 2 times per 1000 incidents and included criminal incidents where the criminal was not using a gun.
The takeaway from the study is the extreme low number of times a gun was used for protection or self-defense. With the ridiculously high number of guns owned by Americans, if “self defense” or “protection” by a gun was truly necessary, one would think the number of times a gun would be used would be astronomically higher.
Next, forget the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment that has been interpreted over the decades both to support or defeat the “right” to own a gun. The last fifteen years or so has politicians approving of this “right” by a literal interpretation of the phrase “… 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…”
President Obama changed his opinion mid-stream, pronouncing the “right” existed, clearly for political gain.
The support of gun ownership based on the Constitutional Amendment misses the point. The point is the sanctity of life. Because you have a right to do something does not mean you should do it.
The Nauseating Truth of Gun Violence in the U.S.
Statistics on everything “guns” vary wildly. Thus, reliance on the statistics is a foll’s game. The larger understanding of what is important, life and safety, trumps the statistics whether they are a bit off or spot on. If a statistic says “x” people die per year and another says twice that many, and a third says half that many, the point is, simply, that too many people are in fact dying and moreover, people do not feel safe at night in their communities, nor would they let their children wander off too far during the day.
Honestly, admit you have fear about attending a huge event: a sporting event, or even a concert.
In the U.S., approximately 96 people die, every day, because of gunfire. Want more proof of the dangerousness of guns? Despite any manipulation of statistics, every study shows that the states with the most guns also have the most gun deaths.
More guns = more crime and more gun-related death.
Mass killings garner media attention, create a buzz of “let’s do something” and ultimately, little if any real change is made. The killings are most often carried out with guns, usually handguns, and most of those were obtained legally.
The solution is to make getting guns nearly impossible. We can next attempt the ridiculously futile effort of getting guns back. One small step at a time will make a difference.
Thus, there is a clear and obvious need to make it very difficult to become a gun owner.
These are just mass gun death numbers
Mass killings do not begin to touch the surface of gun violence in the United States. Crimes including gang killings, shootings that were intended to be simply “other crimes” such as robberies, and killings that involved only the shooter’s family, dwarf the number of deaths from mass killings. And, if counting, do not forget to include the staggering annual gun death toll from accidents and suicides.
Nonetheless, hold your breath or try to avoid crying as you consider some of the worst mass killings, by gunfire, over the last half-decade or so. And appreciate the following are ONLY the deaths. The massive number of people who were injured by guns continue to suffer.
2017: Las Vegas, Nevada 59
2017: Sutherland Springs, Texas 26
2017: Charleston, South Carolina 9
2016: Orlando, Florida 49
2015: San Bernadino, California 14
2012: Aurora, Colorado 12
2012: Sandy Hook, Connecticut 27
2009: Fort Hood, Texas 13
2007: Virginia Tech, Virginia 32
1999: Columbine, Colorado 13
1991: Killeen, Texas 23
1986: Edmond, Oklahoma 14
1984: San Ysidro, California 21
1966: UT Austin, Texas 16
Japan has a complicated paperwork and approval process that can take up to a year. There is a training certification process that must be completed as part of the approval process.
The Japanese gentleman interviewed in the video referenced above asks:
Can a short time frame and simple process to become a gun owner lead to overlooking a potentially dangerous person? How much can you learn from a short process with simple paperwork?
The Centers for Disease Control, November, 2017:
The rate of gun deaths in the United States rose in 2016 to about 12 per 100,000 people. That was up from a rate of about 11 in 2015, and it reflected that second consecutive year that the mortality rate in that category rose in the United States.
Random thoughts by “just folks”
An article written (12 Things I Love About Living In Japan) by a U.S. woman who has lived in many places around the world wrote (her #4 thing): It’s safe to walk (alone) basically anywhere as a woman.
Another article found on the Internet titled The 6 Things We Love Most About Japan included:
Having moved from the United States (New York City no less) to Japan, it took me a few weeks to adjust to the wonderful fact that, unlike in the US, I didn’t need to constantly have my guard up.
Not that I ever felt real danger in New York, but it turned out that I had never fully grasped just how on alert my default way of being had been until, a few weeks after my move to Tokyo (a city much larger and more populous than New York), I felt my “guard” dissipating, apparently having received sufficient evidence in the lack of threats that it was no longer necessary.
This is certainly not to say that crime in Japan doesn’t exist. It does. I have one friend who had her wallet stolen while on a crowded subway in Tokyo, and you can read reports in the news of other crime in Tokyo and beyond. But, thankfully, crime rates are far lower in Japan than in almost anywhere else on earth (it’s one of, if not the safest large countries in the world), and you can tangibly sense it after spending a bit of time here. It’s the kind of country where kids can walk and take the subway by themselves to school.
Elected officials: please, act. Your children, too, are potential victims.