BERNARD COLUMN: Music Midtown 2022 cancelled — Georgia gun control failure

Published 9:30 am Friday, September 9, 2022

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By Jack Bernard

Bernard is a retired corporate executive

Well, now they have done it. They are messing with my music.  Georgia has a horrible record regarding gun control when compared to other states with tighter gun control. So, our gun-toting governor, the guy who pointed a shotgun at a teenager in his campaign ads, and the extremists in our General Assembly responded by making it even easier to carry a gun in public. Fearing violence, the folks running Music Midtown decided to cancel their event-better to lose money than lose lives. 

In Georgia, between 2014 and 2021 there have been 5,245 shootings that resulted in death, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The 5,245 figure also includes nearly 400 children killed but does not include the thousands of suicides by gun. During this time period, there were 128 mass shootings in Georgia. There were only 589 cases of a “defensive shooting,” the NRA’s oft cited reason to have a weapon.   And things are not getting better. In 2019, there were 15,468 Americans shot and killed (homicide/murder/unintentional) versus 19,480 in 2020, the last year of the Trump administration. About 1,400 of those killed were children. And these numbers do not include the 24,156 suicides by guns in 2020. Mass shootings are also up from 417 in 2019 to 611 in 2020.  It’s outrageous that the US is the only major democracy without reasonable gun control laws. Because we don’t have them, we are also the nation with the most gun deaths per capita.   

The Gun Violence Archive lists all of the mass shootings that have taken place in the USA just this year.  There is an annual report issued by a pro-gun magazine which details exactly where gun laws are the laxest. As shown, a disproportionate number of these mass shootings are taking place in red/rural states, where guns laws are weakest. 

For example, four of the five states with the laxest gun laws have more gun murders per capita than the national average -AZ (5th most gun deaths per capita); ID (10th); AL (8th); and OK (15th). Only KA has less deaths per capita (33rd). Georgia is number 11 regarding lax gun laws and also has the 19th most deaths per capita, higher than 31 other states. 

Contrary to what the NRA asserts, the data shows having more guns does not mean fewer deaths and shootings. Having more weapons means that they will more often be used aggressively to kill more of our neighbors, relatives and friends. 

The NRA and similar groups say that the “gun grabbers” want to take away all of our guns. In reality, virtually no reputable gun control organizations demand this approach. So, what can be done?  

We must have thorough background checks, doing away with automatic approval after 3 days. Weapons sold in one-on-one private sales (outside of family members) must be first reported to the authorities for background check purposes. Gun show sales must be subject to prior background checks.  

Assault weapons and extended magazines must be banned. The minimum age for firearm purchases must be raised to 21. Interstate shipment of weapons to individuals via mail must be stopped. Red flag laws to remove guns from mentally deficient individuals must be passed and enforced. Tightened concealed carry restrictions are needed. The repeal of the Dickey Amendment, prohibiting the CDC from gun control research, is necessary.  To pay for enforcement of these laws and to compensate victims, much higher taxes on guns and ammunition are needed. 

There is only one reason that laws to reduce firearm deaths have not been passed. We have not told our national and state politicians that to get our vote, they must act.