Hello, weapons, or why Americans need 10 pistols per person
64-year-old American Stephen Paddock settled in the Mandalay Bay Hotel with 62-year-old girlfriend Maryla Danley on September 28. I went to the casino according to the documents of my wife, who is now behind the preles of the USA. I did not let the room cleaners. And October 1, on Sunday evening during the Route 91 music country festival, Paddock entered US history as the most brutal killer of modern America: he released 30 to 40 stores as guests of the concert: 58 people died, 515 was injured. He shot, most likely, from automatic or semi-automatic weapons.
There are more weapons than population. The USA is the only developed country in the world with such statistics. The second amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the right to own weapons like a sacred cow in India, is absolutely inviolable. And numerous attempts of politicians - from senators to the president himself - to make laws stricter, do not affect her in any way.
Every year the number of cases of violence with weapons, as well as mass executions, in the country increases. But despite this, half of Americans are more concerned about what their right to arms can limit.
ForumDaily sorted out the arguments of both sides and came to the conclusion that there is no need to expect tougher laws on weapons in the near future.
By 10 trunks for one
“He opens the trunk, and at the bottom there are 3 boxes of ammunition, on top there are 3 Romanian-made Kalashnikovs, 2 M-4 rifles and 3 more pistols,” Russian Sergey Sordes describes the beginning of an ordinary men's party in Houston, Texas. He moved here from St. Petersburg about a year ago to work in an IT company and is still not used to the fact that one person can have so many weapons.
Sergey received an invitation to go to rest on the ranch in church, from one of the parishioners. He offered to collect money for food and spend time in the men's company at his home. Each arrived in his own car, and each had his own arsenal.
“It was the first time in my life when I saw so many weapons in one place,” says Sergei. To the question "why so much?" he received the standard answer “just for fan” (just for fun).
Then they explained to Sergei: weapons here are prestigious. They brag about it, give it to each other for birthdays. “A friend had 3 Kalashnikovs, one of which was pink. He said it was his gift to his wife. "
Seen by Sergey confirms statistics: in 2013, on 100 Americans accounted for 113 weaponsand this gap continues to widen. Of the total weapons owned by civilians around the world, almost half are in America alone. The production of pistols and rifles is also growing rapidly - only in the period from 2010 to 2013, the productivity of weapons enterprises almost doubled - from 5,5 million to 10,8 million units per year.
Buy easier than a puppy
36 of 50 States You do not need a license or special permission to buy, for example, a gun. In the same Texas, says Sergei, it is enough to come to the store and show a driver's license.
“The seller checks if the client is 21 years old, looks in the database, if he has a criminal past and if he is on the lists of people with mental disorders, then you just need to fill out the buyer's form - enter personal data, and that's all,” he explains ...
Finding a gun store is also easy - there are at least a hundred of them in the city. Moreover, there is a section with guns and pistols in almost every sports store.
You can also buy weapons online, at gun shows and even private owner. In the latter case, identity verification is not required. The procedure is so simple that online reporters MarketWatch even made a list of things that are harder to get than a gun. This includes some medications, a fishing license, and “adopting” a puppy. It turns out that at the shelter you will be asked not only for an identity card, but also for personal recommendations, and they can also inspect your house to see if it will be comfortable for the dog.
But buying only means that you have the right to keep a gun in your house or car. By the way, a safe is not needed for this. If you want to wear it outdoors, you have to get a special license. This is what Vasily Dyak is doing now. The son of Ukrainian migrants, he was born in Boston and moved to Houston more than 30 years ago. Vasily and his wife have one pistol each - for self-defense, as he himself explains.
“In order to get the right to carry a weapon in a holster on the street, I had to listen to a lecture on how to handle a weapon, be trained in shooting and get fingerprinted.”
Verification of personal information in this case takes a longer time, so it is impossible to obtain permission immediately. Although the states of Maine, Kansas, Vermont, Wyoming and Alaska will not require anything like this from you. They chose a pistol, paid for it - and at least immediately go out into the street with a purchase. In general, each state - its laws and restrictions on civilian possession of weaponsbut in most parts of the country it is very affordable. Laws, both federal and local, are called weak by many experts, with many loopholes that are easy to use. For example, if it is more difficult to buy weapons in one state, nothing prevents you from going to another and buying a gun there.
Second amendment - guarantee of the right to arms
But with the protection of the right to arms, the situation is different. Here is the second amendment to the US Constitution, which pistol lovers constantly refer to. It was adopted back in 1791, and the whole point is in just one sentence: "Since a well-organized militia is necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms must not be violated."
But this text can be interpreted in different ways. An expert on arms control, a professor at the University of California Law School and author of the book “Shootout: The Battle for the Right to Bear Weapons in America” in an interview ForumDaily said that the second amendment is very ambiguous. “One option is to really defend the individual's right to own a gun. It can also be read as an acknowledgment of the state's right to have armed men in the event of federal usurpation. But be that as it may, Americans usually read it according to the first option, ”he explains.
At the same time, they often forget that the weapons of the 18th century and modern weapons are incomparable in their power. When the Second Amendment was adopted, a rifle could only fire three bullets in one minute. For comparison, a modern semi-automatic pistol fires 17 bullets, one after the other, and it takes only 2 seconds to replace the magazine with a new one. Edition Vox drew graphics from this data, where you can clearly see how the weapons of the 21 century have become destructive.
But such a comparison is not an argument for Americans. Weapons, as Adam Winkler says, have long been a part of American culture, and nothing fundamentally can be changed in this regard.
“Americans value their right to own a gun very much, primarily for personal safety. And they consider it as part of self-identification, as part of historical and political law, ”he says.
Traditionally, Republicans - and southern states, respectively, are more in favor of weapons. In the same Texas, if you start a discussion about weapons, then a local resident will most likely immediately remember the Second Amendment, and then begin to say that Democrats want to limit their legal right to own weapons. And this is confirmed by statistics - almost half of the US population is afraid that owning a pistol or a gun will become more difficult... "Yes, Americans are more worried about the fact that their weapons are taken away or their right to carry them is restricted than that they themselves may become the victim of gun violence," says Adam Winkler.
The more weapons, the more violence
49 killed after a mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando. 12 students killed in high school Colambine in 1999. 26 deaths, of which 20 children, after being shot at school Sandy hook and 12 killed viewers in the cinema Cinemark in 2012. This is just a small part of the tragedies that happened due to the fact that weapons fell into the hands of the wrong people.
From 2000 to 2014, 113 mass shootings occurred in the United States. For comparison, in Germany - 6. Most often, murderers have never before had problems with the law and were not on the lists of persons with mental disorders. Therefore, they could buy weapons without any restrictions. Adam Winkler says that it is difficult to somehow reduce the number of tragedies at the moment.
“This is very difficult to stop. Of course, I associate the number of weapons with the number of mass shootings. But the problem is that we cannot take and drastically reduce the number of weapons, respectively, and really influence the executions too, ”he admits.
Weapon fans have their own opinion: “It's not a pistol that shoots, but a man. And if someone wants to harm people, he will find a way without a weapon, as, for example, in Nice, when people were simply crushed by a car, ”says Vasily from Houston. Moreover, the owners of the weapon are sure: if one of the victims of mass shootings had a pistol, the killer could be stopped faster. For example, like in a nightclub in Orlando, where everyone present was unarmed. Adam Winkler disagrees with this statement: “I do not believe that this is true. Because there was a man with a weapon - a security guard and he could not do anything. And in general, people with weapons should not be allowed into the nightclub where alcohol is sold. Because these are obviously incompatible things. ”
Moreover, according to him, victims of mass shootings represent only a small percentage of the total number of victims from weapons.
“Such tragedies, of course, attract the attention of society, they write about them, they are discussed. But remember, when 10 people died during the execution, on the same day 40 people across the country were killed. The next day, another 40, and more.
And the more weapons in the state, the more deaths from gunshot wounds. These are the data of the study that conducted the publication. Mother Jones... Journalists compared the number of weapons in the state with the number of victims from it and got the result: if, for example, in Hawaii, about 10% of the population own weapons, then there are the fewest deaths from gunshot wounds. Conversely, in Wyoming, more than 60% of local residents have a pistol or a gun. The homicide rate is also one of the highest in the country.
The number of weapons is directly related to the number of suicides. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, the number of suicides with firearms was almost double that of murders. And if while trying to poison or cut the veins, the victim can be saved, then the chances of surviving a gunshot suicide are almost zero.
Attempts to limit the use of weapons: while the owners and manufacturers of pistols win
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was holding a meeting with voters when an unknown person started shooting at people. With a serious wound to the head, she was taken to the hospital, where she fought for her life for six months. The tragedy took place in 2011, and Gabrielle was, one might say, “born with a shirt on” - her assistant, a federal judge and four other people were killed. After recovering, the woman left Congress and formed an organization “Americans for responsible decisions”that fights for stricter gun laws. On the organization’s website, she calls on everyone who wants to sign a petition to the House of Representatives demanding to make an identity check before buying weapons more thorough and expanded.
President Barack Obama raised a similar question after each new case of mass execution in the country. In early 2016, in his traditional address to the people, he promised: he will do everything possible to introduce additional measures to control the circulation of weapons. The President has put forward such an initiative more than once, but never received support from congressmen. And he will not receive it in the near future - neither he nor the new president, says Adam Winkler.
“Understand, the Republicans control the Congress, they are categorically against any restrictions. And the president does not have the right to make such decisions individually, ”the expert explains.
No results were obtained by a vote in the Senate on a similar issue in June 2016. One of the bills to tighten control of firearms was rejected... For approval in the House of Representatives, 60 senators had to vote for him, but only 47 voted. Lawmakers went on strike, which Republicans called populism. Earlier, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy spent 15 hours trying to convince the Senate of the need for the bill. During this time, 12 people were killed in the country, another 36 were wounded, writes a website Vox.
At the same time, laws extending the rights of the owners of weapons are passed easily and quickly. For example, from August 2016, in Texas, students can bring guns to class.
Adam Winkler says it is theoretically possible to change the situation - but it is a long process. Simply taking and collecting all the weapons from people, as they did, for example, in Australia, will not work in the States. “There, the Australians themselves decided that they wanted to support the state's decision to restrict the possession of weapons. And then in America there is a very strong federal system, and the decision of the state is often not enough. "
“Therefore, now we need to focus not even on the number of weapons,” he continues, “but on getting people to undergo a more thorough check before buying a gun or a pistol.” But in this matter, too, there has been little progress. “So far, I don’t see any steps that could somehow change the situation with weapons in the United States in the next 5-10 years,” states Adam Winkler.
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