WASHINGTON, February 11, 2018: The law be damned. Owning a gun or other firearm must become almost impossible in the United States, like it is in Japan. Gun violence in Japan is virtually nonexistent today. Japan’s policies about gun violence are a worldwide model. The U. S. and every state, should adopt these policies.
What person or parent doesn’t want to walk around in a safe place, feeling secure and knowing that your guard can be down and your children can take themselves to school?
- Article in The Economist, May, 2017: As crime dries up, Japan’s police hunt for things to do. Subtitle: There was just one fatal shooting in the whole of 2015.
Japan’s gun policies and resulting lack of gun violence prove that fewer guns means less crime and fewer deaths. For every 100 people in Japan, there are .06 guns. In the U.S., for every 100 people, there are 101 guns.
A U.S. Congressional Research Service report in 2009 estimated there were 301 million firearms in this country, not including weapons owned by the military. The U.S. Census bureau stated in 2009 that the U.S. population at that time was 306 million. Of the 301 million guns tallied that year, 114 million were handguns, 100 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns. In Japan, in 2015, there were 8 crimes that involved gunfire. Japan has a population of about 127 million people.
There is no disagreement possible with the proposition that there is too much gun violence in the United States. Please see this video about Japan’s gun policies and their results, currently posted on Facebook :
The Arguments for Gun Ownership Deflated
Seemingly, there are two arguments for owning a gun in the U.S. The first involves the concern for self-protection. The second involves the Constitutional “right” to possess arms.
Personal defense and safety are often-debated topics. While studies show various numbers to support various points of view, they all point to a very low incidence of gun-owner actually having to use a gun for protection. One study (Violence Research Group) indicated a gun was used about 65,000 times per year across a three-year period (1987-1990), counting approximately 3.2 million crimes, or .2 percent of the time. The 65,000 times per year estimate equates to 2 times per 1000 incidents and includes criminal incidents where the criminal was not using a gun.
The takeaway from the study is the extremely low number of times that a gun was actually used for protection or self-defense. With the ridiculously high number of guns owned by Americans, if “self defense” or “protection” by gun was truly necessary, one would think the number of times a gun would be used in self-defense would be astronomically higher.
Next, forget that the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment has been interpreted over the decades both to support or defeat the “right” to own a gun. The last fifteen years or so finds politicians approving of this “right” by taking a literal interpretation of the phrase “… a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed…”
President Obama changed his opinion mid-stream, pronouncing the “right” existed, clearly for political gain.
The support of gun ownership based on the Constitutional Amendment misses the point. The point is the sanctity of life. Because you have a right to do something does not mean you should do it.
The Nauseating Truth about Gun Violence in America
Statistics on everything involving guns vary wildly. For that reason, reliance on statistics to support arguments in this legal area is a fool’s game. A larger understanding of what is important – life and safety – trumps the statistics, whether they are a bit off or spot on. If a statistic says “x” people die per year from gun violence and another says twice that many, while a third says half that many, the point remains, simply, that too many people are in fact dying. Moreover, people do not feel safe at night in their communities, nor would they let their children wander off too far during the day.
Honestly, admit you have fears about attending a huge event such as a sporting event, or even a concert.
In the U.S., approximately 96 people die every day due to gun violence. Want more proof how dangerous guns really are? Despite any manipulation of statistics, every study shows that the states with the most guns also have the most gun deaths.
More guns = more crime and more gun-related death.
Recent mass killings have garnered media attention, creating a buzz around the urge to “do something.” Ultimately, however, little if any real change is made. These killings are most often carried out with guns, usually handguns, and most of those were obtained legally.
The solution is to make getting guns nearly impossible. We can next attempt the ridiculously futile effort of getting guns back off the street. One small step at a time will make a difference.
Thus, there is a clear and obvious need to make it very difficult to become a gun owner.
These are just mass gun death numbers
Mass killings do not begin to touch the surface of gun violence in the United States. Crimes including gang killings, shootings that were intended to be simply “other crimes” such as robberies, and killings that involved only the shooter’s family dwarf the number of deaths from mass killings. If counting, do not forget to include the staggering annual gun death toll from accidents and suicides.
Nonetheless, hold your breath or try to avoid crying as you consider some of the worst mass killings, by gunfire, over the last half-decade or so. And appreciate the following are ONLY the deaths. The massive number of people who were injured by guns also continue to suffer.
- 2017: Las Vegas, Nevada: 59
- 2017: Sutherland Springs, Texas: 26
- 2017: Charleston, South Carolina: 9
- 2016: Orlando, Florida: 49
- 2015: San Bernadino, California:14
- 2012: Aurora, Colorado: 12
- 2012: Sandy Hook, Connecticut: 27
- 2009: Fort Hood, Texas: 13
- 2007: Virginia Tech, Virginia: 32
- 1999: Columbine, Colorado: 13
- 1991: Killeen, Texas: 23
- 1986: Edmond, Oklahoma: 14
- 1984: San Ysidro, California: 21
- 1966: UT Austin, Texas: 16
The Japanese Way v. the American Way
Japan has a complicated firearms paperwork and approval process that can take up to a year. There is a training certification process that must be completed as part of the approval process.
The Japanese gentleman interviewed in the video referenced above asks:
“Can a short time frame and simple process to become a gun owner lead to overlooking a potentially dangerous person? How much can you learn from a short process with simple paperwork?”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, November, 2017:
“The rate of gun deaths in the United States rose in 2016 to about 12 per 100,000 people. That was up from a rate of about 11 in 2015, and it reflected that second consecutive year that the mortality rate in that category rose in the United States.”
Random thoughts by “just folks”
An article written (12 Things I Love About Living In Japan) by a U.S. woman who has lived in many places around the world offered as her #4 “thing”: It’s safe to walk (alone) basically anywhere as a woman.
Another article found on the Internet titled The 6 Things We Love Most About Japan included this observation:
“Having moved from the United States (New York City no less) to Japan, it took me a few weeks to adjust to the wonderful fact that, unlike in the US, I didn’t need to constantly have my guard up.
“Not that I ever felt real danger in New York, but it turned out that I had never fully grasped just how on alert my default way of being had been until, a few weeks after my move to Tokyo (a city much larger and more populous than New York), I felt my ‘guard’ dissipating, apparently having received sufficient evidence in the lack of threats that it was no longer necessary.
“This is certainly not to say that crime in Japan doesn’t exist. It does. I have one friend who had her wallet stolen while on a crowded subway in Tokyo, and you can read reports in the news of other crime in Tokyo and beyond. But, thankfully, crime rates are far lower in Japan than in almost anywhere else on earth (it’s one of, if not the safest large countries in the world), and you can tangibly sense it after spending a bit of time here. It’s the kind of country where kids can walk and take the subway by themselves to school.”
Elected officials: please, act. Your children, too, are potential victims.
Paul A. Samakow is an attorney licensed in Maryland and Virginia, and has been practicing since 1980. He represents injury victims and routinely battles insurance companies and big businesses that will not accept full responsibility for the harms and losses they cause. He can be reached at any time by calling 703-761-4343, via email, or through his website.
His book “The 8 Critical Things Your Auto Accident Attorney Won’t Tell You” can be instantly downloaded, for free, on his website: http://www.samakowlaw.com/book.
Samakow has now also started a small business consulting firm. The website for this business is brand new and Mr. Samakow will be most appreciative of any and all comments. www.thebusinessanswer.com.