The American gun control debate has stretched beyond the country's borders, with comedians from the Netherlands adding to the debate. A video produced for a comedian's show there has gone viral, and could actually provide some good arguments for the conversation here at home. Arjen Lubach created an NRA — "Nonsensical Rifle Addiction" — PSA that explains exactly how ludicrous the country's gun laws seem to people overseas.
At times, the jokes may come off as a bit crass for an America audience, especially so soon after a massacre as was just seen in Vegas. But the point, that American gun culture is a sickness, is something that many can relate to. The video's voiceover starts with statistics: that 24,000 Americans will be injured and 11,000 killed this year, with 40 deaths every day from gun shot wounds. This is all "because of a terrible epidemic, Nonsensical Rifle Addiction." Then he goes on to explain:
NRA is a constitutional disorder caused by the prefrontal Second Amendment to the nonsensical cortex, causing patients to shoot people. It starts with an innocent Colt but soon patients will show signs of shotguns, sniper rifles, and M-16s even.
Next cue some of the more insensitive jokes. "Often patients use silencers to hide their condition," the voiceover continues, for example. But parts of it are all too true. "People who suffer from NRA all have a big impact on their environment. Family, classmates, and random strangers struggle with fatigue, anxiety, the feeling of getting shot in the face," the video continues.
Then comes the best argument of the video — at least one made by someone from a country with stricter gun laws. "Scientists still can't explain why, but while it's spreading like wildfire throughout the United States, NRA seems unable to cross the ocean, or the Canadian border," the video continues.
That's one big point that even those who prefer foreigners not involve themselves in our gun debate must see, that in other Western countries, the number of gun deaths is far lower. The Netherlands has just two exceptions to a blanket ban on gun ownership, according to the Dutch radio station RNW. "Dutch gun laws are actually quite strict. Gun ownership is seen not as a right, but a privilege, with hunting and target shooting the only two legitimate reasons for owning a gun," RNW explains. There are just under four guns per 100 people compared with nearly 89 in the United States.
That results in just .33 firearm deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 2.97 in the United States. That's a big difference, so something clearly must be working. Meanwhile in the United States, the real NRA, the National Rifle Association, has been trying to respond with their best interests in mind.
After the Las Vegas shooting, the NRA sounded open to exploring regulations on bump stocks, the mechanisms that allowed for semi-automatic weapons to be turned into what is essentially an automatic weapon. The gunman in Vegas used the device to fire so many rounds into the crowd at once. "The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations," they said in a statement.
But the NRA is still not looking for anything to be passed quickly, and an outright ban they won't support. Chris Cox, the NRA's head lobbyist, said as much on Fox News Sunday. "We don't believe that bans have ever worked on anything. What we have said has been very clear — that if something transfers a semiautomatic to function like a fully automatic, then it ought to be regulated differently," he said.
With that kind of attitude, Nonsensical Rifle Addiction looks like it's here to stay.