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Gun deaths will stop when Americans reject guns

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If Travis Keala Adams were alive today, he would be 47.

He died nine years after being accidentally shot in the head at a friend’s home in 1982.

If you remain a journalist in America long enough, you will have to report on a child or a teenager killed by a gun.

I reported on Travis back then and the image of him lying in a coma, tended to by his mother, remains both fresh and haunting.

Travis’ mother, Laulani Adams, has become a strong and passionate champion for better gun laws. She ruefully recalls how the gun that killed her son was owned by a past president of the Hawaii Rifle Association, who had given it to his son to store.

In the years that Travis was alive but in a coma, Adams would host Travis’ friends at her house to visit Travis lying in his bed in the living room, and they would talk about guns, their dangers and the training you need before touching one.

In three decades, the situation has not gotten better. It is worse.

President Barack Obama last week spoke about the latest American mass shooting in Oregon and not only memorialized the victims, but talked about the numbness caused by the horrific repetition of this national tragedy.

“The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation and the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this,” Obama said.

Politico reported: “According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a Michael Bloomberg-backed nonprofit that bills itself as a gun-violence prevention group, there have been 142 school shootings since the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.”

Not surprisingly, there is a direct correlation between gun ownership and being killed by a firearm.

The more guns a place has, the higher your chance of getting shot.

Statistics from a United Nation survey of small arms ownership shows that America by far has the most guns — 88.8 guns per 100 people. The second highest is Yemen, with 54.8 guns.

The report notes Americans make up about 4.43 percent of the world’s population, yet own roughly 42 percent of all the world’s privately held firearms.

Ian Mercer, the father of the murderous Oregon shooter, said last week that he was stunned by how his son had gotten so many guns.

According to a CNN report, Mercer said the laws should be changed because the attack would not have happened if his son had not been able to get guns.

That is just about the entire gun debate wrapped up in the summation of one shocked father.

LeBron James is a leader on the basketball court, but is a stronger one in the national debate to control guns.

At the same time Obama was decrying America’s latest massacre, James was speaking out after several children in Cleveland were killed by gunfire.

The latest was a 5-month-old girl, who was in a car with her mother and grand mother when she was shot in a drive-by killing.

“There is no room for guns,” said James. “It’s not just in Cleveland. It’s the whole nation that goes through this as well. We all hurt from it.”

No other developed country has America’s problem with guns and homicide.

If it is going to stop, it will be because Americans say no more guns.

Richard Borreca writes on politics on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Reach him at

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