Guns don't kill people, ping-pong kills people. That's more or less the dangerous message that a Texas state lawmaker is sending in a defiant rejection of any effort to curb gun violence by restricting access to firearms and ammunition.
Republican Rep. Kyle Kacal was just elected to represent District 12 in the Texas House of Representatives. He is also a cattle rancher and operates a "full-service" seasonal hunting business. A staunch Second Amendment supporter, Rep. Kacal is making national headlines after making some downright ignorant, or perhaps disingenuous, remarks about guns and violence.
The Bryan-College Station Eaglereports that as the debate about gun control heats up in the wake of the horrific Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre, Rep. Kacal is vehemently opposed to any effort to restrict access to firearms, even weapons of war. In fact, Kacal is even against a proposed bill that would help Texans safely store their assault weapons.
"People know what they need to do to be safe," Kacal explained. "We don't need to legislate that, it's common sense," he said, perhaps unaware that just last weekend a 3-year-old Oklahoma boy blew his brains out with a gun he found in the home of his uncle-- a state policeman.
"Once everyone's gun is locked up, then the bad guys know where everyone's gun is locked up," Kacal asserted, perhaps believing that ne'er-do-wells possess psychic floor plans of their victims' homes.
Then, Kacal dropped this jaw-dropper:
"I've heard of people being killed playing ping-pong. Ping-pongs are more dangerous than guns."
"Flat-screen TVs are injuring more kids today than anything," he added.
To set Kacal straight: There were exactly zero ping-pong deaths reported in the United States last year. Televisions-- although usually of the older, heavier, non-flat screen variety-- pose a slightly more serious threat; 29 Americans were killed by falling TVs in 2011.
By contrast, the Centers for Disease Control counted 31,347 firearm deaths in the United States in 2009. The Children's Defense Fund counted 2,793 children killed by guns in the US in 2009, meaning a child is more than 100 times as likely to be killed by a firearm than by a falling TV.
Now go tell that down in Texas. Chances are, your words will fall upon deaf ears. Statistics and science mean little in a part of the country where millions of people believe that the earth was created less than 10,000 years ago.
The Lone Star State has some of the most permissive firearm laws in the nation. Any 18-year-old who clears a background check can buy a shotgun or a rifle. Any verified 21-year-old can purchase a pistol or semi-automatic weapon, including military assault rifles modified to fire semi-automatically. Oh, and there are no restrictions on the number of bullets that can be fired from a magazine. Perfect for Newtown-style massacres, impractical and downright unnecessary for anything else short of a war.
Get yourself a Class III license, which is decidedly more difficult but very much within the realm of possibility for most law-abiding citizens, and you can amass an arsenal of genuine weapons of war-- machine guns, .50 caliber anti-tank guns that can blast a human head to bits like a watermelon (I should've warned you before you clicked that link-- my bad), and even bazookas are all perfectly legal under Texas law.
But it's table tennis we've really got to protect our kids from...
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