After a week of silence, the National Rifle Association gave its response to the Newtown massacre today – with a call for guns, guns and more guns. Gun control? Not a word of it.
Protesters twice managed to interrupt the NRA’s Washington press conference before being bundled out by security, holding up banners reading:
“The NRA has blood on its hands. Ban assault weapons now”
“NRA killing our kids”
The Telegraph reports:
Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president, made clear his organisation would oppose efforts to bring in the first reform of gun controls laws in nearly two decades and instead called for a national database of the mentally unwell…
The NRA, widely considered the most powerful lobby group in the US, took no questions during their first press conference since the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school that left 20 children dead.
With The Guardian adding:
LaPierre made no concession to his critics and placed all blame for the Newtown shooting on others – including pro-gun control politicians, the media and health services that failed to apprehend mentally-ill killers. He said that the NRA would produce a plan to create “security shields” around every single school in the country, with armed guards at the entrance…
The fierce intransigence of the NRA after the Connecticut tragedy underlines the difficulty that Obama will have in pushing ahead with reforms designed to prevent lethal weapons falling into the hands of potential mass killers.
The NRA has consistently resisted any move towards tightened gun controls after gun rampages over the past 20 years. The group, which has up to 4 million members across the US, has proven to be a formidable legislative adversary, wielding huge power within Congress and spreading fear among politicians who dare to defy it.
The group went head to head with the Clinton administration in the 1990s, and actively campaigned against Obama in 2008 and in last month’s presidential election.
As the graphic below shows, with 88.8 firearms per 100 people, the US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world. It is nearly 40 per cent higher than Yemen, which has the second highest gun ownership rate in the world, at 54.8 firearms per 100 people. And more than half (62 per cent) of those who have guns on their property have more than one.
While the map below illustrates the state-by-state statistics on the relationship between gun crime and gun ownership:
As Harvard-trained economist Professor Mark Duggan, of the University of Chicago and National Bureau of Economic Research, concludes in “More Guns, More Crime” (described by Forbes as “the single best study on this topic”):
Increases in gun ownership lead to substantial increases in the overall homicide rate. This is driven entirely by a relationship between ﬁrearms and homicides in which a gun is used, implying that the results are not driven by reverse causation or by omitted variables.
The relationship between changes in gun ownership and changes in all other crime categories is weaker and typically insigniﬁcant, suggesting that guns inﬂuence crime primarily by increasing the homicide rate.
Death, death and more death – the NRA’s Hellish vision of the future.
• The corrosive, deadly grip of the gun lobby on American democracy – October 18th, 2012
• Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora… Once again, calls grow for gun control – July 21st, 2012
• Calls for tighter gun control in wake of latest tragedy – June 3rd, 2010