Over the last few months we’ve seen tons of stories about mass killings in this country. There was the movie theatre in Colorado, the Fort Hood killings, Virginia Tech and of course, the worst of them all Newtown. As bad as all of these were, it’s not even close to the issue.
According to Wikipedia in 2010 there were 358 murders involving rifles, 6,009 with pistols and another 1,939 with unreported type firearms. In addition there were 52,447 deliberate and non-fatal gunshot wounds in this country last year.
These numbers are scary, at least for me. It’s not the headline gun cases that we should worry about. It’s the ones that don’t make the headlines. In our inner cities we have a terrorist regime that lives in many neighborhoods. No, these terrorists are not from the Middle East. They’re homegrown and through gun violence they terrorize their neighbors and keep those who live in those parts of the country in constant fear.
It’s not the guns anymore.
I give up, we really can’t control guns anymore. It might be nice if we got rid of automatic weapons and large clips, but even those aren’t the issue. The issue is bullets. Those might even be pretty easy to control.
According to Wired Magazine there was 10 billion rounds of ammunition manufactured in the United States last year. This ammo is all unregulated. You walk into your local gun store, plunk one to five dollars per round and you’re on your way.
Since we’ve lost the fight on guns, (there are more guns than people in the country) maybe its time we focus on something we can do something about. For me it’s the ammunition. This is a renewable resource that you need if you want to join one of the 60,000 or so that have been shot on purpose in the country. That doesn’t count the 23,000 accidental non-fatal accidents or the 19,392 suicide related deaths.
It’s really out of control.
When you add up all of the pain that bullets have caused it’s about 100,000 people affected in 2010. There were about 32,000 deaths in 2011 from car accidents. We certainly pay attention to car safety. We require people to be licensed to use cars and if you are a repeat offender, you lose your right to drive a car.
There are some federal restrictions for owning bullets. But, the enforcement is non-existent. You can just waltz in and buy all of the bullets you want. If you happen to be one of those on the restricted list and get caught, you’ll have some problems. For the rest of us it’s a free pass.
I don’t know about you, but it seems to be a pretty waste of human capital that we allow 100,000 people a year to be either shot or killed with bullets. It’s not the guns that do the damage, it’s the bullets. Isn’t it about time we did something about controlling who gets and can use ammunition? Doesn’t it seem a little strange that we need to manufacture 10 billion rounds of ammunition a year in this country?
Violence in America is a problem. I’m not so much worried about a mad man walking into a mall, I’m worried about the person on the street with the Saturday Night Special in their pocket. The bullets from those guns are the ones that cause the problem.
Every Friday I write an Op Ed piece on something that we might want to think about if we’re to have a society where business is free to prosper. If you’re interested in getting notification when a new blog post is published, sign up for our email alerts by entering your email address in our blog sign up box above.
Authors note: I’ve been held up at gunpoint twice in my life. This conversation about violence caused by bullets and guns is very personal to me.