Gun Control in the US, and the Untold Deaths

There’s been a lot of talk about gun control in the US since the recent mass-shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary school, but I always think about the other deaths that could be prevented with stronger gun control laws. These are the ones we never hear about.

In Virginia you can walk into a gun store, fill out some paperwork and walk out with a gun. There’s no “cooling off period” like many other states have – the time between when you apply to buy a gun, and you’re able to pick it up. If you’re someone who hasn’t been convicted of a crime, you’ll likely be able to get a gun in Virginia.

Three years ago a man in his early 30s walked into a Virginia gun store, filled out some papers and walked out with a gun. He wasn’t going to use it for target practice, or use it to protect himself, or rob a bank. He was going to use it to kill someone.

What the person who sold the gun didn’t know was that the man he just sold the gun to was depressed. His marriage was over; his wife had left him, and he couldn’t imagine a life without her. It was his fault. He went home with that gun and used it to kill himself, putting an end to his depression.

How many other lives like this could have been saved by stricter gun control laws? No one knows, because these are the deaths most of us never hear about. I’m almost certain that if Virginia had a cooling off period this man, my friend, would still be alive today.

When people talk about gun control in the US, I think of my friend, a victim of depression and a gun that was far too easy to obtain.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Gord. I wrote about this issue a while ago too. Something I discovered that surprised me is that the U.S. has a very low homicide rate per capita, the fourth lowest in the Western Hemisphere, but it has an astronomical *gun* homicide rate. I can’t help but wonder whether sensible gun control wouldn’t bring about a startling drop in the U.S. homicide rate, making the U.S. the envy of the world for its safe streets.

    http://behindthehedge.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/a-hesitant-note-to-my-u-s-neighbours-on-a-tragic-day/

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