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“Guns Don’t Kill People . . .”

“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” This National Rifle Association (NRA) answer to any suggestion of gun control is only partially true. The fact is that men with guns kill people. At least this is what the headlines tell us.

“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” This National Rifle Association (NRA) answer to any suggestion of gun control is only partially true. The fact is that men with guns kill people. At least this is what the headlines tell us.

Whether the target is a Congresswoman, a crowd in a theater, a wife and kids, students at a university, a gynecologist providing health care for women, or people misidentified as Muslims, men with guns continue to wreak havoc at every turn.  Unless we are willing to talk about guns and about gender, we will only be able to stand by and watch this combination create the same predictable results. The implications for violence against women are significant.  “American women who are killed by their intimate partners are more likely to be killed with guns than by all other methods combined. In fact, each year from 1980 to 2000, 60% to 70% of batterers who killed their female intimate partners used firearms to do so.”

My grandfather taught my brother and me to hunt which meant learning to use guns safely. My grandfather had no gender bias in this area: girls as well as boys needed to learn to hunt.  I am grateful for the life lessons I learned in handling a .22 rifle.  Neither my brother nor I chose to pursue that portion of our cultural heritage.  But that experience is light years away from having access to an AK-47 or a semi-automatic pistol whose only purpose is to take out as many people as possible before anyone can stop you.

When I was in Iceland last year lecturing on violence against women, I asked if it was common for people to have guns.  My host, the Dean of the School of Theology, gave me a puzzled look and said, “No, why would we need guns?” Indeed. She went on to explain that hunting rifles were legal for people in rural areas who actually hunt for food. And then she added that they average one homicide per year in a country of 300,000 people. That’s right: one per year.

It’s not that women aren’t into guns. In fact gun manufacturers and the NRA using fear tactics, target women as consumers. The irony of this is not lost: women who fear men’s violence are told to arm themselves in self-defense which means that more guns are available in homes throughout our communities where women and children find themselves victims.

I realize that a white supremacist or other bigot, a person who is mentally ill, or a batterer whose wife and children have left him can still find ways to cause harm and mayhem. But shouldn’t we make it a little harder for them?

A civilized society should be able to have a civilized conversation about what the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution means in the 21st century.  We need local and national leadership who have the courage to take us there.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute

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"Guns Don't Kill People..."

Posted by Jim at Aug 09, 2012 04:30 PM
That is a very simple solution to a very complex problem. Like putting a band aid on a broken bone.

Gun use in domestic violence

Posted by Peggy Townley at Aug 09, 2012 04:30 PM
Almost 30 years ago when I was training volunteers for our local domestic violence/sexual abuse program, I remember a statistic, that when it came to gun use in domestic violence, it was equally likely that the victim would kill the abuser as the abuser killing the victim. That is, guns are just as dangerous for the abuser as for the victim. Is that a valid statistic?

Guns Don't Kill People Article

Posted by Cheryl Lyons at Aug 09, 2012 04:31 PM
I agree almost totally with your article. A factor to consider with in the United States is that our constitution specifically includes the right to bear arms. I only mention this because in the rumbling of conversation with pacifist friends who now own guns, they are mostly afraid of their own government. That is why they now own guns.
When we automate society, subliminally divide our communities with differences, and governance becomes unwanted politics, people become isolated and afraid. They buy protective weapons. And then,some people who carry guns kill other people.
I'm not so sure it is the gun, but the methods of communication, personal interactions, speed of life, and condemnation of faith....and, maybe we need to look at the medium of communication and the message that disinfranchises human beings from humanity.