*America has a love affair with guns which is literally killing us. Take a quick look at the most recent gun-related tragedy which led to the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The alleged shooter was considered too mentally unstable to attend a local community college. The army refused to allow him in its ranks. But he had absolutely no problem buying a Glock handgun with a 33-round magazine. And before he could be subdued, he shot and killed six people including a 9-year-old girl; he wounded 13 others and he shot the congresswoman in the head.

No civilized nation can allow this. But is America a civilized nation? No! When it comes to handguns, we are not. Just note the facts: In 1992, handguns were used in the murders of 33 people in Britain, 36 in Sweden, 97 in Switzerland, 128 in Canada, 13 in Australia, 60 in Japan and 13,220 in the United States.

And nothing has changed in recent years. Currently, Americans own 30 percent of all guns in the world and we buy 50 percent of all new guns manufactured in the world. These are the reasons we are the most violent society in the world.

Americans do little more with guns than kill one another. The idea that we use them to protect our homes is an urban myth not supported by the facts. As Nicholas Kristof wrote in an excellent New York Times op-ed piece last week, “The chances that a gun will be used to deter a home invasion are unbelievably remote, and dialing 911 is more effective in reducing injury than brandishing a weapon.”

Current estimates are that there are 85 handguns for every 100 Americans and a new handgun is manufactured in this country every 20 seconds.

Disproportionately the victims of handgun violence are African Americans. And we are not being shot by the Ku Klux Klan; we are being shot by one another. Amazingly, the second leading cause of death for Black males aged 5 to 14 is a firearm. Meanwhile, the leading cause of death for Black males aged 15 to 24 is the handgun!

When will we wake up? Handguns need to be BANNED. They serve no useful purpose in a civilized society. They do not need to be better regulated. We do not need more thorough background checks. We need to ban handguns!

Blacks should be in the forefront of the struggle to end America’s handgun insanity. We are the primary victims. This is a health (life and death) issue. This is a civil rights issue.

President Obama drew positive reviews for his speech following the Arizona shooting. But he missed the mark. His focus was on America becoming a more civil society. In other words, he wants us to be nicer and more polite to one another. Wrong answer!

The American problem is the easy availability of handguns. The lack of niceness is not what is killing us. It is an idiot with a gun that is killing us. Ban guns NOW!

[Robert Taylor welcomes responses to his commentaries. Email your “Letter to the Editor” to [email protected]. You can also go online and visit Taylor’s website at www.blacknewsjournal.net.]