Follow the money behind gun violence

Why is anyone opposed to common-sense gun control laws like waiting periods and background checks? The reason is purely financial, suggests a new documentary “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA.”

The film will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Thursday May 26 at the Peoria Public Library North Branch, 3001 W. Grand Parkway, Peoria. The free public screening is co-sponsored by Community Word and the Peoria NAACP.

A 30-minute question and answer period with a panel of community leaders will follow.

Whether you feel indignant and angry about increasing levels of gun violence or indignant and angry about efforts to regulate gun ownership, this documentary offers a clear perspective: The National Rifle Association is not about defending the Second Amendment. It’s about making huge, vast amounts of money for Wayne LaPierre and other NRA officers, lobbyists and the firearms industry.

With millions of dollars at stake, a vast army of public relations experts is deployed to paint this issue as gun owners against advocates for gun safety. No. This issue is not about gun ownership rights, it’s about the NRA’s interest in keeping the ferment going and producing money for the NRA.

The leading take-away from this documentary is that common ground can be found and a compromise is possible if the NRA leadership is taken out of the debate. Even 74 percent of the NRA’s own membership supports universal background checks. Responsible gun owners want irresponsible gun ownership curtailed. Responsible hunters want gun violence to end.

Highlighted in the film are the profits made by gun sales. The NRA has an annual budget of $345 million a year and $43 million of that is in salaries. The firearms industry makes an annual profit of $11 billion.

Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, co-sponsored a free public screening of the documentary at the Evanston Public Library recently.

“As the debate on gun laws becomes increasing polarized and stagnant, violence continues unabated. In order to get past this situation, it is essential to find plausible areas of common ground between gun owners and safety advocates,” he said. “The first step toward finding that common ground is distinguishing between the interests of gun owners and the financial interests of gun manufacturers, and this film plays an important role in doing so.”

Highlighted in the documentary:

74 percent of NRA members support universal background checks.

40 percent of gun owners did not go through a background check.

48 percent fewer on-duty police are shot to death in states with background checks.

Every 16 hours, a woman is shot and killed by her husband or boyfriend.

46 percent fewer women are shot to death in states with background checks.

NRA CEO and vice president Wayne LaPierre made $927,863 in 2014; according to Zillow, his house is valued at $1.7 million.

7 children are killed by guns every day in the United States.

Chicago police seize an illegal gun every 72 minutes.

More Americans died of gun violence in Chicago between 2001 and 2010 than died in the war in Afghanistan.

Black Americans are twice as likely to die in gun violence as white Americans.

Black men are 10 times more likely than white men to be killed by guns.

After watching this film, you’ll probably have the same sick feeling we all had after watching “Schindler’s List,” but “Making a Killing” holds a special horror because it’s not something that happened before we were born. Gun violence is happening now. Today. It’s happening against children, sometimes by children. It’s happening with military assault weapons made for war and used in the streets and homes of America.

“Making a Killing” maps out the common ground necessary to move forward.

Clare Howard

 

 

Clare Howard

Clare Howard is the editor of the Community Word. She can be reached at communityword@yahoo.com



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