Concerned about U.S. gun violence

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 12, 2014 

Rep. Jason Overstreet, R.-Lynden, has proposed that firearms be exempted from all sales tax in House Bill 2529.

I disagree, and instead recommend that guns should be taxed to compensate for the harm they cause. If this eliminates all sales, so be it.

Here are the facts that I believe Rep. Overstreet is ignoring:

In 2011, almost half a million Americans were victims of gun violence and guns accounted for about 70 percent of all homicides. Guns were used in more than 400,000 crimes, and a third of all Americans now know someone who has been shot.

The U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.

I believe guns are not a "basic necessity" as Overstreet believes, but instead a huge and costly problem.

Medical treatment, criminal justice proceedings, new security precautions, and reductions in quality of life are estimated to cost U.S. citizens $100 billion annually.

The lifetime medical cost for all gun violence victims in the United States is estimated at $2.3 billion, with almost half the costs borne by taxpayers.

Currently, there are more guns in the U.S. than people, but apparently Rep. Overstreet thinks we need more.

I believe what we don't need are more guns, but fewer clueless politicians.

Douglas Ogg

Bellingham

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