The Dec. 26 edition of the Enterprise featured an article about how lengthy background checks and piles of paperwork are driving some gun vendors and gun owners out of California. This article prompted me to dig further about gun violence in our state.
The owner of Spur R Guns said at least one customer a week tells him “We’re gonna miss you” on their way to Idaho, Nevada or Wyoming. In fact, states with less strict gun laws, such as Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming, have much higher gun death rates than States with stronger gun laws. The average gun death rate of the above three states is 50% higher than that of California (Giffords Law Center).
Nationwide, approximately 36,000 people are killed with guns every year. Our country’s homicide rate is about 25 times higher than that of comparable high-income countries with more restrictive gun control laws. We also lead the rest of the world in suicides by gunshot. The U.S. represents only 4% of the world’s population, but accounts for 35% of global firearm suicides.
While complying with California’s gun laws is tedious and time consuming, these laws exist to reduce gun violence. The mandatory waiting period to buy a gun creates a “cooling off” period that helps prevent impulsive acts of gun violence. Background checks reduce the potential for “bad guys” to get firearms and ammunition. Unfortunately, these requirements may drive some gun venders and owners out of state. However, I believe that the benefits outweigh the costs.