Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Say Hello To My Little Friend!"

From the AP:

Silent on central questions of gun control for two centuries, the Supreme Court found its voice Thursday in a decision affirming the right to have guns for self-defense in the home and addressing a constitutional riddle almost as old as the republic over what it means to say the people may keep and bear arms.

The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns and imperiled similar prohibitions in other cities, Chicago and San Francisco among them. Federal gun restrictions, however, were expected to remain largely intact.

The court's historic awakening on the meaning of the Second Amendment brought a curiously mixed response, muted in some unexpected places.

The reaction broke less along party lines than along the divide between cities wracked with gun violence and rural areas where gun ownership is embedded in daily life. Democrats have all but abandoned their long push for stricter gun laws at the national level after deciding it's a losing issue for them. Republicans welcomed what they called a powerful precedent.

From the the Brady Campaign, an anti-gun group:

• In 2004, 29,569 people in the United States died from firearm-related deaths – 11,624 

(39%) of those were murdered; 16,750 (57%) were suicides; 649 (2.2%) were accidents; 

and in 235 (.8%) the intent was unknown. In comparison, 33,651 Americans were 

killed in the Korean War and 58,193 Americans were killed in the Vietnam War. 

• For every firearm fatality in the United States in 2005, there were estimated to be more 

than two non-fatal firearm injuries.  

• In 2004, firearms were used to murder 56 people in Australia, 184 people in Canada, 73 

people in England and Wales, 5 people in New Zealand, and 37 people in Sweden. In 

comparison, firearms were used to murder 11,344 people in the United States. 

• In 2005, there were only 143 justifiable homicides by private citizens using handguns in 

the United States.


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