ken plum profiteering on gun violence
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Ken Plum: Profiteering on gun violence

constitution politics
(© Lindom – stock.adobe.com)

On our recent vacation to Scandinavia, Jane and I spent a couple of days on Ærø, one of the Danish Baltic Sea islands. The innkeeper where we were staying asked us about mass shootings in the U.S. He simply could not understand why Americans continued to allow such violence to happen. Gun purchasing in Denmark, he explained, was limited to single-shot hunting rifles and was possible only for persons over 21 years of age after a background check, required training on the use of guns, and proof that there was a safe, locked place where the gun would be stored. An honest answer to his inquiry I find to be appalling.

To suggest that our Founding Fathers had protections for mass murderers with assault weapons when they wrote the Second Amendment is an insult to the very idea of our form of government and ignores the fact that they were referring to a “well regulated Militia.”

The answer to his inquiry might more properly be answered in a report issued within the last two weeks by the United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform. The Committee found that, “gun companies collected more than $1 billion over the last decade from selling military-style assault weapons to civilians, even as gun violence increased across the United States. These companies used disturbing sales tactics—including marketing deadly weapons as a way for young men to prove their manliness and selling guns to mass shooters on credit—while failing to take even basic steps to monitor the violence and destruction their products have unleased.” (sic)

From its report: During the Committee’s June 8, 2022, hearing on gun violence, gun industry expert Nick Suplina noted that “the gun industry has grown tremendously over the last two decades, business is booming, [and] profits are breaking records.” He further remarked that, “so are rates of gun violence.” According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources, 2020 and 2021 witnessed the highest gun-related death totals in the United States in decades. Studies by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center have found a strong correlation between an increase in gun availability and rates of homicides, suicides, and accidental gun deaths.” (Footnotes are available in the report for those who want to verify the information.)

I feel certain that you will be as surprised and disgusted as I have been when reviewing the report details on the marketing practices along with easy credit used by manufacturers to get assault weapons into the hands of as many people as possible to increase their profits. The report asserts that, “The firearm industry has been marketing directly and indirectly to white supremacist and extremist organizations for years, playing on fears of government repression against gun owners and fomenting racial tensions.”

The report concludes, “Congress must act to rein in the irresponsible business practices of the gun industry, prohibit the sale of dangerous weapons of war to civilians, and reassess the liability protections that prevent the American people from accessing the courts to hold gun manufacturers accountable for the deadly effects of their business decisions.” The Danish innkeeper could not understand why we do not take action to end gun violence, and it is sickening to realize that gun manufacturer profits may be part of the reason!

Ken Plum is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

Staff/Wire

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