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Geoffrey R. Stone Headshot

Gun Crazy

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Over the last 20 years, the percentage of Americans who think our laws regulating the sale and possession of firearms should be made stricter has declined from 78 percent to 43 percent.

Over the last 20 years, approximately 260,000 Americans have been murdered by firearms. The firearm homicide rate in the United States is 3.7 for every 100,000 people.

The average firearm homicide rate for Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and Spain is .22 per 100,000 people.

Thus, the firearm homicide rate in the United States is approximately 17 times higher than in our peer nations.

If the United States had had the same gun-related homicide rate as these other nations over the past twenty years, almost a quarter of a million Americans who were murdered by guns since 1992 might well have been spared that fate.

Economists estimate that the average life is "worth" appoximately $7 million. This means that America's firearm policy over the past twenty years has cost the nation approximately $1.75 trillion in lost lives. But who's counting?

Of course it may just be that Americans are 17 times crazier than Canadians, Germans, Italians, Australians, etc. Just ask the NRA. They'll tell you that's the explanation. And it is. But the crazies are those who support the NRA and who systematically distort the facts, ultimately contributing to the bloody deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent men, women and children every year.

Tell me, really: Who are the crazy people?

But here's the rub: In 2010, the NRA and its affiliates spent approximately $275 million to prevent the regulation of firearms. The NRA's opponents -- organizations like the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- spent a combined total of less than $8 million in support of the regulation of firearms.

No wonder public opinion has shifted and no wonder politicians of all stripes are terrified to do the right thing. There is a solution. Americans like me who were horrified by the murders in Newtown and by the 10,000 needless murders that we can be sure will follow like clockwork in 2013, must actively support organizations that campaign and lobby for new gun laws. Otherwise, we are lost....