Yet another mass murder by an evil deranged individual. This time in Texas. Yet another knee jerk misguided and factually inaccurate “We have to do something” media response. This time in my home town paper (Aug. 8 guest column.) The writer expresses disdain at the number of guns possessed by Americans compared to other nations and offers “40,000 annual gun deaths” as evidence. Let’s talk about that. First, it’s closer to 30,000...but what’s a little exaggeration among friends? And of that number, fully two thirds are suicide. I don’t think “high capacity magazines” contribute to that. And other industrialized nations suicide rates (Japan) far surpass ours, and virtually none with firearms. Around 5000 of the remaining gun deaths are perpetrated by felons, gang members, drug dealers, underaged etc. for whom gun possession IS ILLEGAL UNDER CURRENT LAW ALREADY! Approximately 2500 are “justifiable homicides” to include police shootings and self defense. The remaining gun death rate compares quite favorably to other “non gun” nations. The writer also fails to acknowledge that the overall gun crime rate has fallen precipitously since the 1980’s when legal carry laws began to expand in America, and when legal gun ownership increased exponentially (if legal gun ownership were the problem, doesn’t he think those rates would have increased instead?).

And this is the key thing; NONE of the solutions proposed by the writer would have prevented ANY of the mass shootings that have taken place. He speaks of expanded background checks...the fact is ALL gun sales by licensed dealers include background checks already. And this includes ALL dealers selling or trading at gun shows. But he wants that expanded to non dealer sales OR TRANSFERS. That would mean a grandfather couldn’t hand down a .22 to his grandchild without a background check. Or a person couldn’t lend his shotgun to a neighbor who was invited to a duck hunt without a background check. He speaks of  “assault weapons” and “modern weapons of war” which shows his ignorance of subject matter in that many hunting and sporting rifles that have been common and ubiquitous for decades operate identically to the guns he’s demonizing. He talks about the inherent danger of a thirty round magazine compared to a ten round...without realizing how quickly (less than a second) any mag can be replaced. But perhaps the most ridiculous part of his argument is in thinking more laws are going to limit law breakers. No, they will only limit the law abiding. And does he suggest that because evil men have weapons, good men shouldn’t?

He’s right about one thing ... something has changed in our nation. A culture of death and violence glorified in media, tv, movies, video games etc., along with a disregard for traditional Christian values and reverence for human life is rotting and destroying us from the inside out. How many gruesome and graphic deaths has the typical 18 year old seen depicted in movies, tv  and video games today? A 1000? 10,000? 100,000? And does that not affect them? Yes, something HAS changed in America ... and it isn’t guns.

Ronnie Cundieff

Jacksonville