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Guns over people

Guns over people
Highlights

Free market-driven democracies have a dubious distinction of putting profits over people while framing public policies. In developed democracies like United States, big business determines the public policies at times, even if they are detrimental to the interests of the people. 

Free market-driven democracies have a dubious distinction of putting profits over people while framing public policies. In developed democracies like United States, big business determines the public policies at times, even if they are detrimental to the interests of the people.

The classic case in point is the United States Senate rejecting measures restricting gun sales. The latest refusal to impose even reasonable restrictions on use of assault weapons is much more alarming as it comes close on the heels of Orlando massacre allegedly by an ISIS-inspired youth.

Despite incidents of mass shootings with awful regularity, the US fails to impose even modest restrictions on sale and use of guns. Market forces sell murder in the name of freedom. Despite indiscriminate use of such lethal weapons, the United States still has Constitutional rights to bear arms.

There is a voluminous evidence to suggest a direct link between increasing gun violence and weak gun laws in United States. Still efforts to reform and refine American gun laws failed to be enacted due to the strong influence of gun industry.

A recent paper published by the Harvard Business School found that mass shootings lead to a 75 per cent rise in measures easing gun control in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. This shows the close nexus between fire arms industry and politics in United States. This is despite, as the latest issue of The Economist reports, more than 30,000 people dying in shootings in America each year.

A study by the National Research Council, funded by the US government, reveals that laws that allow people to carry weapons are associated with a substantial rise in the incidence of attacks with a firearm. Not just mass shootings, the gun culture is also responsible for many other crimes like rape, robbery, domestic violence etc, reveals the research.

It’s much more shocking to know that the gun rights lobbyists are also enforcing reduced public spending on research on the link between guns and violence. The published data in the reputed Journal of American Medicine substantiates this phenomenon of gun lobby controlling even research to bolster their market interests.

At a time when even the terror elements are sneaking into US posing a serious threat to its citizens, a free-for-all situation prevails in the gun trade in such a civilised country. The United States urgently needs freedom from violence, freedom from terrorism, but not freedom to own and use guns.

The Republicans are more supportive of gun ownership as the gun lobbyists have a stronger presence among its law makers. The electoral outcome in the US can have an impact on the phenomenon too. Even measures to mandate background checks on most gun sales also failed to come through in 2013, indicating the power of the gun industry.

The spurt in gun violence cannot be controlled without restricting the gun trade. Restrictions on trade in firearms and other assault weapons are not possible without strict gun control measures. But, reforming gun laws needs larger political reforms. The market forces-embedded politics of United States has to undergo more democratic reforms to usher in measures that constrain use of arms.

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