The cost of loving guns

We Americans love our guns. As the massacre at Virginia Tech reminds us, we love our guns so much we’re willing to sacrifice a certain number of people each year, rather than put strict controls on gun ownership. About 30,000 people die from firearms each year, and 40 percent of them, or about 12,000 people, are homicides.

Following the Columbine High School killings and the Washington D.C. sniper murders, several remedies to gun proliferation were proposed, but the gun lobby in Washington stopped them dead. Indeed, we’ve gone backward, with President Bush since signing a bill that denies gunshot victims and violence-beleaguered cities the right to sue gun manufacturers for negligence.

But don’t blame the Republicans. The Democrats are no better. You won’t hear any of their presidential candidates coming down strong for British-style controls on handguns. That’s because, statistically, we the voters don’t want such controls, and they know it. Let’s be honest: A significant percentage of voters would rather have an undetermined number of citizens die from gunshot wounds each year than put reasonable controls on gun ownership.