US gun laws have global implications

While the gun law debate tends to be only focused through domestic lenses – 31,000+ Americans died in gun-related incidents in 2007 – we must not forget the fact that we live in a globalized world now. No longer are issues “personal;” everything we do has global consequences. This includes the way in which we regulate (or don’t regulate) firearms. From Politico:

Anders Behring Breivik wrote in a 1,500-page manifesto that he bought 10 30-round ammunition clips for his .223 caliber rifle from an undisclosed, small U.S. supplier, which had acquired the clips from other suppliers. Norway forbids the sale of clips for hunting rifles that hold more than three bullets, according to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.

Breivik wrote in his manifesto that while he could have purchased the high-capacity magazines in Sweden, they would have been significantly more expensive than ordering them from a U.S. supplier. He wrote that he spent $550 for the 10 clips. He also described legally buying four 30-round clips for a Glock handgun in Norway.

The article does not mention it, but according to MSNBC he bought the clips online – through the computer; through the thing you’re on right now. To reiterate: because we have access to global markets we have access to global goods and are therefore each directly affected by the way in which the local laws affect the production of these goods. Breivik was able to get his hands on his ammunition because our notion of human rights in the 21st century includes “The Right to Own an AK-47 and Enough Ammunition to Bring People to Their Knees.”

Prior to its expiration, the legislative ban on assault weapons made it illegal to sale or transfer gun clips that held more than 10 bullets, but since the law expired in 2004 you can bet the invisible hand of the market decided to load up and meet demand. Thankfully there are some Democrats in the house who are trying to reintroduce legislation that would change this but it really has no chance of going anywhere in the GOP-controlled house. The catalyst? The January shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.

Why must we be moved by tragedy? Why are we moved to act only after we’ve fallen over the ledge and not as we see it fast approaching?


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