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Auchter's Art: We are awash in guns

John Auchter
For Michigan Radio

It's not as if America didn't have lots of guns 60-plus years ago. We most certainly did. But then, there was a much higher percentage of people who used them for hunting and sport. The weapons themselves were typically much less lethal — single-shot rifles, revolvers, and the like. And critically, there wasn't a political party completely beholden to gun manufacturers and their lobbyists.

Reliable statistical data for and about guns are notoriously difficult to find. This is mostly by design (again, the aforementioned gun manufacturers and lobbyists). But it is pretty obvious that the total amount of guns manufactured and sold in recent years is significant — 16.6 million firearms purchased in 2022.

That's down from a record 21.8 million in 2020, but even if last year's sales were zero, we'd still have a problem. Firearms aren't like Chevy Chevettes or modern day dishwashers — they are highly durable and likely to last more than a few years. The old ones don't go away, and we just keep accumulating more.

The total number of firearms in America is mind bending. Sure, we have 331 million people, but per capita, America still easily dominates the developed world.

We are awash in guns, so it's no surprise that we are awash in gun violence, or that a loaded weapon might find its way into the hands of an eight-year-old to take to school.

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganPublic.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.
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