NYT’s Kristof Wants Guns To Be Regulated Like Cars and Ladders

‘Ladders kill 300 Americans every year’

MOHYELDIN: “Joining me now is Criminal Justice Professor at the University of Alabama Adam Lankford and New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, author of ‘A Path Appears’. Nick, I’ll start with you here. Thanks for joining us. You wrote today, a piece in which you noted that 92 people – 92 people are killed by gun violence in the U.S. every day. One every 16 minutes. But more interesting, you write about this as being a health crisis, and it should be dealt with as a national health crisis. Can you explain that to us a little bit?”

KRISTOF: “Sure. I mean, we have a lot of experience dealing with potentially lethal objects around us, that we don't ban. But we regulate to make safer. Ladder is for example -- OSHA has seven pages of regulations to make ladders safer. Ladders kill 300 Americans each year. Meanwhile, guns kill 33,000 Americans each year. And from my point of view, we have negligible regulation of them. I hear all the time from people who say, what about cars? They kill people and we don't ban them. Of course we don't ban them, but we do regulate them to try to make them safer. And if you look at the auto mortality rates since 1921, we've reduced it more than 95 percent by having air bags and seat belts and limited licenses for kids. All these things, we need to do same -- to take the same approach to guns.”

MOHYELDIN: “What would that practically look like? I think one of the things is that automobiles and ladders are not going to be divisive issues; they're not going to be controversial issues. Certainly, maybe not having the same lobbying power that guns do. So when you talk about a public safety issue or health issue from guns, practically, what does that look like?”

KRISTOF: “I mean, a starting point is universal background checks. This is something that even members of the NRA seem overwhelmingly in favor of. We haven't been able to achieve. And then beyond that, I’d like to see limits on gun trafficking, so maybe limit gun purchases to one a month. There are things we can do on gun safety toward smart guns, that will take time, but it is crazy that if somebody steals my cell phone, they need my pin to use it, if they steal a gun, then anybody can use it. There are more things we can do to prevent serial numbers from being erased. There are a lot of steps that aren't silver bullets but in the center silver buckshot that can modestly reduce this incredible tool that Alison Parker's father was talking about.”

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