Yesterday we heard of yet another dreadful killing by a lone gunmen in the United States and, as usual, there are calls for greater gun control. Just as predictably we can expect the gun lobby to protect their rights under the United States Constitution Second Amendment: The Right to keep and bare arms.
There can be little doubt that the prevalent of guns in the U.S. is a contributing factor to the high number of murders but regular rampages by lone gunmen are not the only downside to the supposed protection of Americans rights. The Wikipedia list total firearm related deaths per 100,000 per year lists the United States as 12th. That doesn’t seem too bad until you notice that the countries which are worse than the U.S. are those such as El Salvador and Colombia. Countries which are more usually compared with the U.S. such as those of Western Europe they are way down the table. France is at 26 and Germany at 51.
An article by David Wagner in The Atlantic Wire claims that research shows that strict gun control laws do lead to fewer deaths. Interestingly Switzerland has no standing army and relies on a people’s’ militia who keep their guns at home and Switzerland ranks at 16 on Wikipedia,
But Americans are not the only people to suffer from lax U.S. guns laws The Economist has run several articles lately on Mexico, a country with a growing economy but which is held back by murderous and ruthless drug gangs. And where do these gangs get their guns? The United States of course.
Drugs and guns are very similar, they’re both great fun but and both potentially lethal. The difference being that drugs are made in the developing world and guns in the developed world. To quote The Clash: “In a war-torn swamp stop any mercenary, ‘n’ check the British bullets in his armoury”
U.S. policy on drugs is to ban them and blame the manufacturing countries. U.S. policy on guns is to sell them to anyone who wants them and blame the consumers. Perhaps the policies are just back to front?