It took Donald Trump just over 48 hours from the Paris terrorist attacks to insist that less restrictive gun control laws in France would have left the people of Paris safer on November 13. From Politico:
“Had there been some guys with a gun, there would have been a shootout and probably the primary people that would have got whacked would have been the killers,” Trump said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “You can’t any tougher than Paris, and you can’t get any tougher than France” on gun control, he continued. “They just said, come here, boom, come here, boom…shot these people at will.”
Trump and his millions of fans ought to take note of another interview that aired at about the same time, this one on National Public Radio. Journalist Robert Siegel offered a view of the evening of the attacks from the experience of an emergency room doctor who treated many of the victims. The doctor — who treated 27 gunshot victims in a Paris hospital emergency room that night — mentioned that it is unusual it is for him to be called upon to treat a gunshot wound.
“Usually,” he says in his stilted English, “in the emergency department in France, you may have a car crash. Sometime, one gun, but not that type of number of patients was of gun.”
Siegel, an American, tries to help him out by clarifying that the doctor is accustomed to treating only around one gunshot wound per weekend.
No, the doctor corrects him, “One per year.” And he adds: “Not like in the USA, you know?”
What a sad statement about the United States. This is how our western neighbors view us, and for good reason.
So if it’s okay to suggest what sort of guns laws might have left Parisians safer on November 13, it’s obviously fair to ask what kinds of laws keep them safer every other day of the year? “You can’t get any tougher than France” on gun control, Trump pointed out.
Alas, Trump is right about France’s gun control laws, and the doctor is right about their results. They are indeed “restrictive” (to use the term of gunpolicy.org). In France, where liberty is the first word of the national motto, there is no “right to bear arms.” No one can even own a gun without a hunting or sporting license, which needs to be repeatedly renewed and requires psychological evaluation.
The result? Around 0.2 gun homicides per 100,000 in population annually. (That is, for every million citizens, 2 per year die by gun homicide.)
Compare that to the United States, whose laws are characterized by gunpolicy.org as “permissive.” We end up with between 3 and 4 deaths per 100,000 in population — or for every million citizens, 30 to 40 gun homicides per year.
In a word, 20 times more.
Sadly, the “boom… boom…” (to use Mr. Trump’s expression) that rang out in Paris on November 13 killed 138 innocents. That same boom, boom, so unfamiliar to Paris, rings out every night in American cities, taking lives in much higher numbers over not too much more time.
Not like in Paris, you know?