23 Cartoonists Unite to Demand Action to Reduce Gun Violence: Watch the Result

The United States has only five percent of the world’s population, but somewhere between 35 and 50 percent of the world’s privately owned guns. Is it a surprise, then, that we have significantly higher rates of gun violence?

According to research published by the National Institutes of Health, homicide rates in the U.S. are 6.9 times higher than they are in other high-income nations. For 15- to 24-year-olds, the homicide rate is 42.7 times higher. Firearm suicide rates are 5.8 times higher in America than in other countries, even though the overall suicide rates are 30 percent lower.

A succession of high-profile massacres–Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook–has taken place against a baseline of daily gun deaths that rarely make the national headlines: murders, suicides, accidental killings. Since the December 14 mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six adults were gunned down by a heavily armed man, there have been well over 3,300 gun-related deaths in America. If current trends continue, gun deaths are projected to exceed traffic deaths for the first time by the year 2015.

So what is being done? At the federal level, nothing.

Earlier this month the Senate not only struck down legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, it also struck down–at the will of a 45-member minority–a bipartison compromise to expand background checks for gun buyers, a measure supported by 90 percent of the American people.

In response to the paralysis (some would say cowardice) on Capitol Hill, a group of 23 prominent cartoonists, including Garry Trudeau, Ruben Bolling, Art Spiegelman and Tom Tomorrow, have joined forces to fight back against the gun lobby. The cartoon (above) was organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and is narrated by actors Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

“Enough. Demand action,” say Moore and Hoffman. “As a dad, as a mom, as a husband, as a wife, as a family, as a friend. As an American. It’s time. We can’t back down. It’s time for our leaders to act right now. Demand action”

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Comments (10)
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  • Bill says:

    How about these 23 cartoonists give up their 1st amendment rights first, jsut to show us they are serious in strippign from us other rights.

    Yes, I know, ridiculous.

  • Mike Springer says:

    By rights, do you mean for example the right to walk into a gun show and buy an AR-15 without a background check? Yes, it would be ridiculous to strip that right from anyone. And hey–speaking of our rights–whatever happened to the right to buy and sell rocket-propelled grenade launchers on eBay?

  • Randy says:

    I’m glad to see these artists taking a common-sense stand, in line with 90% of the US.

    I’m disappointed not to see more.

  • David I. Stevens says:

    Great start guys but I too am a bit disappointed not to see more!

  • Jerry says:

    “By rights, do you mean for example the right to walk into a gun show and buy an AR-15 without a background check”

    You realize that you really can’t do this, right – that every purchase from a dealer (dealer sales constitute about 95% of gun show sales) ALWAYS goes through a background check RIGHT NOW and ALWAYS requires an ATF trace form to be filled out?

    You know that that is current law, right?

    You also know that rifles of all sorts are used in less than 400 murders a year in the US, right? That more people are killed with hammers, baseball bats, and fists than rifles? That more people are probably killed with golf clubs than “assault weapons”?

    You also know that the purpose of this law is to create a firearms registry, right? Which has been used in every nation and every jurisdiction where they have ever existed to confiscate firearms, right?

    Because if you didn’t, you sure would sound like an ignorant wank to everyone who actually understand the laws regarding firearms ownership and who are familiar with the history of the 20th century…

  • Alexov says:

    Did no one, including the author of these notes, notice that the “research” on which they are based was conducted in …..?

    2003, ie ten years ago and hardly up to date, that’s when!

    Is there no data that is a little more modern?

  • Mike Springer says:


    No, you really can do this. A large-enough gun show is a place where a person (felon? terrorist?) can expect to walk in and do business with a private seller and evade the background check. If the gun show loophole involves such a small percentage of overall gun sales, why all the opposition to closing it? All gun sales–through a dealer or not through a dealer, at gun shows or anywhere else–should be regulated.

    Yes, I am aware that rifles account for less than 400 murders per year, according to 2011 FBI statistics. Far more people are murdered with handguns than with rifles. (Indeed, handguns are a major part of the off-the-books dealing that takes place at gun shows.) If fewer than 400 is an acceptable number to you, why don’t you tell it to the relatives of the victims at Sandy Hook and Aurora?


    Do you have any information that contradicts those findings? It’s interesting that you should bring up the issue. In 1996, after the Center for Injury Prevention and Control published studies detailing the dangers associated with guns, Republicans in Congress tried to eliminate the agency. When that failed, they took away $2.6 million from the budget of the Centers for Disease Control–the amount it had spent on gun safety research in the previous year–and attached a provision that reads: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to Advocate or promote gun control.” As Alex Seitz-Wald wrote last year in Salon, this clause, “which remains in effect today, has had a chilling effect on all scientific research into gun safety, as gun rights advocates view ‘advocacy’ as any research that notices that guns are dangerous.”

  • Rene Magritte says:

    You will impress me when you “demand” an end to violence, not simply gun violence. The gun violence issue seems a bit pandering compared to our nation’s massive tolerance of violence, in general. Reach beyond the ineffectual, but popular, and go for truly significant change. Or, just remain who you are, but do not fool your self that you are seeking real change. This is simply following a popular bandwagon – your stock in trade.

  • Cat says:

    dernt teeerk owr geerns! We need dem gerns to shoot dem thievin people who wanna steal owr precious tee-vees and our other stuff! Owr stuff is owr stuff! them thief people need ta get dead… and let’s not ferget the Bertish! The Bertish might invade our cerntry!
    I shure feel safer in a nation filled with people who all have gerns. it’s a right, dernit! I need mah gern!
    If sumbuddy wanna tek mah wallet, I shoot em wit mah gern!
    Thas wot gerns are fer! Can’t tek mah pershus right to have mah gern!

  • Michael R. H. Swanson says:

    I was a bit disappointed not to see the cartoons, though I enjoyed the video from YouTube. Is it possible to post at least some of the cartoons, or is that not possible. I’d love to see them and share them individually.

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