Pensacola, Florida
Saturday December 16th 2017

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Outtakes—If Not Now, When?

By Rick Outzen

In the wake of the Mandalay Bay massacre, Fox News host Sean Hannity blasted those calling for stricter gun control laws, accusing them of “politicizing the tragedy in an absolutely despicable display.”

In Hannity’s opinion, any gun control discussions after the mass shooting, which left killed 57 people and injured another 500, were “shameful,” “exploitative” and “pathetic.”

We heard similar arguments after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, and Pulse Night Club in Orlando.

When President Barack Obama called for tighter gun laws after Dylann Roof killed nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized the president for “trying to score cheap political points.”

After Omar Mateen killed 49 people at the Pulse, a few state lawmakers tried to ban assault rifles like the one used by Mateen.  Presidential hopeful Donald Trump hijacked the debate by making the incident about radical Islamic terrorists. The gun control bills never made it out of the Florida House and Senate committees.

So the question is—if we can’t talk about gun control after a horrible, mass killing, when can we?

The answer for Mr. Hannity and other gun advocates is never.  They don’t want us to discuss reasonable gun controls, regardless of how many innocent people are killed in this country. They don’t want any facts introduced into the debate because the data doesn’t support more access to guns.

The U.S. is the most violent developed nation in the world. Our country has less than five percent of the world’s population but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world.

The Gun Violence Archive is a not-for-profit corporation formed in 2013 to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun-related violence.  The organization was formed after a gunman in December 2012 walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and killed 20 children, six adults, and himself. Since then, there have been at least 1,518 mass shootings, with at least 1,715 people killed and 6,089 wounded.

The prevalence of guns has made life deadlier for law enforcement. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2015 looked at the homicide rates of law enforcement officers from 1996-2010. In states that had higher rates of household gun ownership, law enforcement officers were three times more likely to be murdered than officers working in low-gun states.

Making guns more accessible to more people has not made our nation safer for the general public or law enforcement. The time has come for adult conversations about reasonable gun restrictions. It is the only way we will make our nation safer.