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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