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Why Do We Get Riled Up About Gun Rights, and Not Rights to Health Care and Education?

Billionaires like the Koch brothers are helping shift our priorities.

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But the story is wrong, says Rosenbaum. Instead of keeping guns in people’s homes, she told Klein, in Switzerland, “They’ve been moving to keeping the guns in depots. That means they’re not in the household, which makes sense because the literature shows us that if the gun is in the household, the risk goes up for everyone in the household.”

And, interestingly, they’re doing the same thing in Israel. As Rosenbaum told Klein, “In Israel, it used to be that all soldiers would take the guns home with them. Now they have to leave them on base. Over the years they’ve done this — it began, I think, in 2006 — there’s been a 60 percent decrease in suicide on weekends among IDS [Israeli] soldiers.”

That’s because there’s a clear correlation between having a gun in the house and the risk of suicide, because suicidal impulses come and go, but if they come when guns are around they’re a lot easier to carry out. And, as in the case in Newtown and most of our mass shootings, to carry out in a way that is made very, very high-profile by being able to kill a bunch of other people at the same time.

We have our priorities totally wrong in the United States.

The Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, which brings together corporate lobbyists and Republican state legislators to write “model” legislation to introduce in Republican-controlled states on behalf of the corporations, has been doing everything they can to help out the gun industry.

As reported by Alex Kane on AlterNet, they include:

·Guns on campus

·Doing away with waiting periods to buy guns

·More “Stand Your Ground” laws like the one ALEC got passed in Florida

·No borders to firearm movement between states

·Annulling local gun-control regulations

·Putting in jail government officials who take away people’s guns in emergencies

·Promoting more semi-automatic weapons like those used by the Newtown killer

So we have this “right to guns” in America, that the Koch brothers are heavily invested in. While the rest of the developed and civilized world has granted their people universal rights to free healthcare and free education, and declared that owning a gun is a “privilege” and not a right, the Kochs have helped make sure that we’ve done the exact opposite.

Which is insane.

We no longer have a “well-regulated militia” in this country – Jefferson lost that battle two centuries ago – and therefore there’s nobody who should have a “right” to a gun in America.

Instead of talking about “gun rights” in this country – a phrase that’s being used more and more thanks to a hard push by gun manufacturers lobbies and their bought-and-paid-for members of Congress – we should be asking who needs to own a gun. And, then limit gun ownership to only those people who can demonstrate that need.

Meanwhile, we should be looking at things that the rest of the developed world long ago determined are basic human rights – even the UN has enshrined them as such – and move toward making physical and mental healthcare free and fully accessible to all our citizens, along with a high-quality and free education from kindergarten through a PhD.

The former Charles Koch Foundation now named “Cato” is right that Israel and Switzerland are models we should look at, even though they got their facts about those countries wrong. In both countries people have rights to education and healthcare, and no right to own a gun unless they can prove they actually need one.

 
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