If we listen to the Conservative Hawks of the GOP, cuts to our military budget are a drastic risk to our national security. Okay, they are shills for gun manufacturers too.
We have more guns in this country than any other country in the world. In 2007, the U.S. had an estimated 88.8 guns for every 100 U.S. residents. It is generally assumed that less than 50% of U.S. residents own guns, but those that do, own more than one. The nation closest to the U.S. is Yemen, with 54.8 guns per 100 residents. Forgetting the raw numbers, as there are clearly more U.S. citizens that Yemen citizens, we have at least 30% more guns than the country that is closest to us. Looking at the actual numbers, it is greater than a two to one ratio.
In terms of the military, we have the largest army the world has ever seen. Our army and military budgets are larger than the next 16 largest nations combined. For those that fear countries like China or North Korea, it would take them, and about 14 of our allies like Britain and France, for them to muster an army that could compare with ours.
While we may be witnessing some movement on gun safety measures, we have a long way to go. One thing that I see as a big issue is the Tiahrt Amendment, which was passed in 2007. It is a sneaky thing. It is an amendment attached to a Federal Spending bill that provides a host of protections to gun dealers and gun manufacturers. It prevents cities, states, and police departments from using trace data to find out who may be selling guns illegally. It requires the FBI and other agencies to destroy some background check information within 24 hours of receiving it, making it almost impossible to find illegal gun trafficking. It also blocks the ATF from requiring periodic inventory checks by gun dealers. Who cares if a gun or two ends up missing from someone’s stock every now and then?
On top of that, it is almost impossible to sue a gun manufacturer. A few decades ago our society decided that the Tobacco Industry was producing a dangerous product. The industry became subject to lawsuits alleging that they produce a product that when used as directed will kill its user. The lawsuits won. Restrictions were imposed. The Tobacco Industry had to shell out tons of money to advertise against its own products and to compensate people who had been injured by their products. You can still by tobacco products, but at least the industry knows it can be held liable.
Not so with guns. Many states have rulings that specifically prevent the suit of gun manufacturers for producing a dangerous product. I can understand wanting to put more of the responsibility on the person that pulls the trigger, but seriously, when a gun is used as it is designed it does not kill the user, it kills someone else. How it cannot be considered a dangerous product is beyond me.
The idea that gun manufacturers bear no responsibility is ridiculous. One of the things that got the Tobacco Industry was Joe Camel, cartoon characters that marketed their products to children. Gun manufactures have come up with Lady guns, pink guns, and done a host of things that market their dangerous product beyond reason. Yet we are not allowed to sue them. Somehow they are immune. They couldn’t possibly do anything wrong, so we have shielded them. Really?
How much is enough? It seems to me that we are well into the range of overkill while our social environment is clearly suffering. What is the conclusion? If we combined the concerns of the Hawks that want an even larger military, and we allow the gun industry to run wild and unchecked, even with its marketing, while the NRA announces that they want everyone armed, how long will it be before grandmas are wearing camo and packing heat?