Friday, November 28, 2008
WIth the historic election of Barack Obama, the nation finally has an opportunity to enact sensible national gun policy. Obama should look to big cities, especially Boston, for guidance.
Big-city mayors know all too well the devastating impact a failed national gun policy has had on people living in urban America. Most of the 83 Americans who die every day from gun violence live in cities. The average annual US death toll from guns is 34,000 Americans. Comparatively, over the past 30 years, 1,035,000 Americans have died from guns in the United States versus 655,000 US service men and women killed in all foreign wars combined.
In 1999, with active support and funding for cities and the hard work of law enforcement, the United States experienced its lowest violent-crime rate in 30 years. Since George W. Bush took office in 2000, funding for community policing and economic opportunities for the poor have been curtailed and mayors across the country have struggled with the repercussions of a Congress and president unwilling to stand up to the powerful special-interest gun lobby.
Consequently, cutbacks in inner-city programs and law enforcement, comgined with the gun lobby being allowed to dictate gun police, have resulted in unrestricted access to guns and a prohibition on police sharing critical crime-gun trace data even among law enforcement.
No surprise that gun violence has risen steadily over the past eight years. There isn't even a law requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales in 32 states, and criminals and terrorists have been proven to exploit this dangerous loophole in federal law. Is it any wonder why America is the gun violence capital of the world and US urban areas have become war zones? [Mark Godsey]