While shootings like the recent one in Las Vegas are reported widely, the real problem is not.

The proposition suggested by the slogan, “more guns, less crime,” is that the majority of shootings in America involve strangers and/or gang violence. Guns, therefore, are necessary to ward off predatory criminals. Yet, all available data from the U.S. Department of Justice and academic researchers is that, nationally, in a majority of shootings the victim is known to the shooter and that they are in the same family.

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A woman is five times more likely to be shot by her husband or boyfriend than by a stranger. The majority of shootings involving four or more victims, the DOJ’s definition of “mass shooting,” occur when a man kills his wife and children before himself. Children are significantly more likely to be shot by a friend or family member than a stranger at school. These are often kids killing kids, either accidentally or purposefully. Men kill themselves with a gun in at least 80 percent of all male suicides and is the preferred means of suicide among veterans.

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There are at least 300 million guns in America and in the possession of about 60 million homes. The NRA has a membership of about 5 million, yet it drives the debate regarding guns through its contributions to the political campaigns of congressional members. Rather than expressing sympathy for victims in school shootings, it uses them as the grounds for arming schools. How callous and cynical.

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Bob Harris

Albany (Sept. 20)

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