An Addendum to Purple Hearts and Guns

Many of you liked our earlier post, Purple Hearts and Guns. It is honest, heartfelt, and correct. But despite doing what I considered thorough research, it is incomplete. This won’t be a fun read, but it might be enlightening.


Our Congress has effectively barred The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studying the causes and possible ways of preventing gun violence.


In 1996, Congress approved a budget restriction that stated, “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” The ban remains to this day, and it was later extended to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), another federal agency that studies public health issues.


The aim of this was and is to prevent any consideration of guns as a serious public health risk. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner was asked about this at a 2013 press conference. Here’s his reply: “The CDC is there to look at diseases that need to be dealt with to protect public health. I’m sorry, but a gun is not a disease. Guns don’t kill people — people do. And when people use weapons in a horrible way, we should condemn the actions of the individual and not blame the action on some weapon.”


Nobody wants their product to be blamed for cutting short the human life span. Think of Big Tobacco. Think of Detroit back in the day when they made all our cars. But now we know that cigarettes used according to their manufacturer’s instructions will kill you. We know that seat belts, turn signals, airbags, and shoulder harnesses add cost but also save lives. Yet we know very little about the causes and possible prevention of gun violence.


In 2013, 33,000 Americans died in vehicle accidents. That same year 34,000 were killed by firearms. We know a lot about car wrecks, and so little about shootings. Why have we let the NRA legislate ignorance?   And in what universe is ignorance preferable to knowledge? (The answer is below.)






The one we live in.

3 thoughts on “An Addendum to Purple Hearts and Guns

  1. in 2010 there were 19,392 suicides by firearms. 6 out of 10 suicides are by firearm. I think that help is needed in other areas other than controlling good people. Rather than blaming ignorance on the NRA why not ourselves . We have become a society where we always blame some one else. The schools for not parenting our children, our government for not doing there elected job, and the list could go on . Controlling good law abiding people will not solve anything. We need to learn how to deal with issues in this country not just pass the buck.


    1. Suicides often leave behind loved ones who wonder “Why did this happen, and what could I have done”? Guns make killing much too easy; you know that is true. The NRA is behind its religion of no regulation of guns, but it is clear that when guns kill more people than cars, we need to regulate BOTH.

      Your idea of distinguishing good gun owners from bad would hold merit if such a policy were enforced uniformly, as opposed to hardly at all.

      Back to cars: They have to be insured. Drivers have to pass basic tests of skills and abilities. Why not do that with guns? After all, cars are designed for transportation, not for killing. Machines designed to kill should be held to a higher standard, not lower. Every gun should be registered with a license number, and insured for at least $100,000 wrongful injury liability. The insurance companies will devise ways to pre-identify good and bad gun owners, and punish the bad with huge premiums or no coverage at all. The government should confiscate all unlicensed or uninsured guns.

      Gun regulation is in no way blaming others for our faults, Ron. It is a plan to do what you suggested: find the bad eggs and keep them away from guns. Doing something about the problem, Ron, is taking action. Doing nothing, Ron, is passing the buck.



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