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Final note: There are more than 58,000 gunshops in the U.S.

The U.S. flag flies at half-staff over the White House in Washington.

This final note today, about what happened in Newtown, Conn., this morning.

This isn't gonna be something you usually get from Marketplace. But I've got four kids, as I think I've said before. My first reaction was that there wasn't really an angle for us and that we'd leave it to others.

Then I thought about it. And we did some digging around. There are lobbying numbers and gun sales numbers and firearms permit numbers.

And then there's this.

There are, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (PDF), more than 58,000 gunshops in this country.

There are fewer than 20,000 Starbucks (PDF) in the whole world.

Jay Carney, the president's press secretary, said this morning that this isn't the time to talk about gun control.

If today's not the time, then when?

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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How about when there isn't a tragedy such as this fresh in our minds that will cloud our judgement with emotion? Americans are already overly sensitive about their security. Parents are even more so when it comes to their children. Look what we got ourselves into after 9/11 with the likes of the "Patriot" Act and even worse, the NDAA. A knee-jerk overreaction is not what is needed. Even celebrity websites (like http://www.celebsinshape.com/ ) spend time acknowledging that.

Fire arms and arms related violence have increased to so much extent that the danger posing arms is affecting the normal lives of the people. I have been wondering about these increasing violence as well as the recent months ago incidents in Connecticut are worth noticing too. These hamper the progress and indirectly affecting the lives of the people. Gun shops are so much in number and they work out openly or hidden supplying arms, but for safety only. But most them are using as playing toys, need to see through the matter seriously and hastily.

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I want to thank you Mr. Ryssdal. You are my "companion" on the ride home from work, and I wasn't expected those final words of yours on the day of the shooting. I'd been trying not to think about it during the work day. I've got two teenage sons, and one can't work and weep at the same time. Your simple question about when there would ever be a better time to really talk about some reasonable gun restrictions was right on. Let's leave assault weapons to soldiers, and beef up our databases to make it harder for people in need of mental health services to buy a gun. We were given brains to use them - these are reasonable ideas. I don't understand the love of guns myself, but we all love our children. In the name of those kids and families in Newton, let's do something we can be proud of and support gun laws that really do protect us.

i've heard that there are something like 50 million American households with guns - just an anecdotal ?number? - and for the near future, it seems likely that Americans will buy MORE guns . Many more.
i'd like to hear some firm number$$$

Could it be that guns are "Too Big To......"

The horrific event in CT may indeed be the catalyst for the conversation. However, it would be wonderful if we could bring insight instead of maligned analogies. Kai, I have up to this point respected your insight and have never questioned your reasoning on an issue. However, your analogy comparing the number of places to purchase guns to number of Starbucks outlets simply is ignorant and is trying to compare apples to omlets, let alone apples to oranges, or heaven forbid we should compare apples to apples. Perhaps some your interns can research the number of straight vehicular accidents in the US in a year as well as the number of vehicular homcides. Indeed it is not the vehicle that has driven itself into a lake or a tree and killed all of the passengers - but clearly vehicles can be dangerous. Perhaps in the same bills that will be introduced to control firearms we should also introduce legislation that will control vehicles? Or perhpas your interns can figure out how many Mothers with post partum depression have drown or otherwise murdered their children. Perhaps we should control bathtubs?

I applaud you for using your platform to express your abhorrance with this situation, however, as a long time fan of Marketplace, I hope that your ill advised analogy does not instigate the isipid nature of suspicion specifically your audience being suspicious of the truth or validity of everything else you tell us.

I was very glad to hear Kai Ryssdal's closing comment about the number of guns in this country. The empirical fact is that when there are more guns, there is more violence: more murders, more suicides, more accidents. (Look at the stats for Washington, DC when guns were banned there.) I don't see the point of hypothetical discussions about teachers whipping out their handguns and shooting intruders when we know, from actual evidence, what happens when you increase the number of guns. Why won't we act to save lives?

Becoming a police state will not solve the illegal use of guns. We still let drunk drivers behind the wheels of cars as proof. We have tried taking away alcohol maybe it is time to ban cars.

But Kia, you do have angle which Market Place can report. Almost all of the high profile mass murders have been done by metally ill or otherwise socal outcasts. I put it to Market Place to ask the question; why is the only place to get limited free mental healthcare is in prisons? With the coming budget cuts are we going to take away help from more people resulting in a few more people snapping and causing more mass murders?

To be fair , I am a gun owner and I will fight this all or nothing attitude. You cannot blame the tool when it is misused. There are some style of guns that I won't buy, for various reasons, but I will not deny someone elses right to legally own what they want and that applies to guns, cars, or collectable salt and pepper shakers. But I would love to know why it is socailly acceptable for someone to think it is ok to go murdering people. We have to look at everything from drugs, video games, movies, and lack of mental healthcare to name a few. When American does not use a gun and mass murder happens (say by a bomb) we call him a terrorist, but the same causes and or lack of treatment options are still there.

Comparing the number of "gunshots" with the number of a brand name coffee shop (that allows citizens to be armed - thank you Starbucks) is misleading. Why not compare the number of "gunshots" (which includes Walmart, Kmart, sports stores, etc) to the total number of coffee shops? The number of places that sell firearms is not the problem anymore than the number of connivence stores causes fatness.

The law in Connecticut banned 'assault' weapons (defined by cosmetic features), required licensing, mandatory registration, background checks and banned guns from school grounds. It also was illegal for anyone under 21 to own or posses a hand gun. All these laws did was make sure teachers could only lock the doors and cower with the kids in a corner. Had a teacher been armed she could have fought back as the bad guy broke into the rooms.

But to say that gets you attacked as "wanting pre-k kids to have guns". The only "discussion" the anti-gun want is wither to ban guns out right in violation of the Constitution or to make it so hard to own a gun no one does.

If they want to ban guns, then amend the Constitution. Repeal the Second Amendment. Take everyones weapon except the police and military. Turn the US into a police state.

>"If they want to ban guns, then amend the Constitution. Repeal the Second Amendment. Take everyones weapon except the police and military. Turn the US into a police state."

Thank God, at last an american who realises what it will take to stop these killing sprees!

Seriously though - 2nd Amendment is for the maintenance of a Militia to prevent us (thats the UK BTW) from taking your country back over - which looks like a pretty good idea right now. So suck it up and join the National Guard if you want to shoot your guns, and its 'gunshops' not 'gunshots' - I'm pretty sure the total number of ALL stores in the US does not even come close to the total number of gunshots in the US each year....

Kai, first, many thanks for closing your show with your comments. Everyone who feels something in our country is broken needs to stand up and speak. The murder of 2o small children in an elementary school must show people this or our country is lost. I speak as a father of 4, a victim of gun violence and an elementary school teacher. We need to see our country's fixation with guns and violence in the same light we saw the fight for civil rights and equal rights for women. Thanks again for having the courage to share your thoughts on this tragedy with your listeners.

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