There were 13 mass shootings over the weekend. 18 dead. 72 injured.
We routinely regulate any thing that can impact our children’s lives. Car seats, bottles, toys, swimming pools, diving boards, baby food, clothing, cribs, adoptions…even the teddy bears they carry. Anything that could cause harm or death is rigorously tested and recalled when deemed unsafe.
There are those who would deny a woman’s right to control her own body, going so far as to claim preventing conception is murder, yet they wont consider stopping the despicable, senseless deaths for those alive and breathing. Gun violence is now the number one cause of death for children.
Guns are built well and last forever, unlike appliances, computers, phones, even cars. For a period of time gun sales had actually dropped which meant gun lobbyist, the NRA, and gun companies had to find an alternative to promotion guns for protection and hunting to implying that owning an assault weapon makes you a man. Bushmaster actually advertises owning a semi-automatic gun as “getting your man card back.” The cover of their catalog showed an assault rifle promoting them “for the free” or in order to “control your destiny.” They fueled fears of immigrants swarming the border, non-whites “replacing them” economic issues, health concerns, inflation, and job insecurity to promote sales.
In many states, guns are not regulated and can be openly carried. Production has tripled since 2000. We now have more guns than cars or people in this country. Despite having 4% of the world’s population, we have 31% of the mass shootings. And when they do occur elsewhere, they happen once! Severe consequences and laws ensure it will never happen again. But not here. Here it has become a way of life with some actually stating “we need to accept them as part of a free society!” That’s insane.
We have always been a nation of guns. We have always been an outlier. We have no peers. Of the top gun owning countries in the world, the U.S. has 121 per 100 residents. Yemen is the closest to us at 52 per 100 residents. The only countries with more gun related deaths per capita are those where people are fleeing from regimes because of mass murders and executions.
Assault weapons are designed to kill people quickly and in large numbers. They have absolutely no recreational use. They can spew their entire capacity of up to 100 bullets in one minute- destroying, decimating and damaging every area it hits. It’s meant to mangle and macerate everything in its path. That’s what happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas- a mass shooting so devastating and destructive it required DNA testing of the 19 children to discover who perished.
No one should have to worry they’ll never see their family, friends, or coworkers because they went to school, church, out for an evening, to a ballgame or needed groceries. These senseless deaths have to stop. It’s like playing Russian roulette. The next time, it could be anyone of us.
Assault weapons were banned in 1994 but that law expired in 2004. There’s no question deaths dropped from mass shootings in the ten years we were protected. The only reason it wasn’t renewed was because of financial compensation to those in charge of keeping our best interests at heart.
Thoughts and prayers are meaningless. Thoughts and prayers do not stop the killing sprees or bring back loved ones.
Former Chief Justice Warren Burger, a lifelong Republican appointed by Richard Nixon, said in a PBS interview after he retired from the bench that the Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
NPR explored the history of the Supreme Court’s stance on gun control and outlined, that the court has never said the right to bear arms in this country is absolute.
“In declaring an individual the right to bear arms, the court made clear that there are limitations on that right, just as there are limitations on other constitutional rights. There is a First Amendment right to free speech, but someone can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. And a person can’t parade loudly through a residential area at 2 a.m. either. Similarly, the court said in 2008 that the right to bear arms doesn’t bar the government from regulating firearms. The justices specifically said the government can ban firearms for felons or the mentally ill; it can ban guns in sensitive places, like schools and government buildings; and it can impose conditions and qualifications for the commercial sale of guns.”
Arming our teachers isn’t the answer. Not only should it not be the job of educators, they aren’t trained. Encouraging everyone to carry a weapon isn’t the answer, we’ll just shoot each other.
Having an armed agent at an entrance isn’t the answer. Someone who wants to kill can take dozens of lives in under a minute.
There are tried and true solutions we know work:
Red flag laws
Banning all sales of assault weapons
Universal background checks
Safe storage laws
Laws that require a permit
Limit magazine capacity
Increase the age to buy guns to 21
A 3 day waiting period
Prohibit possession by people with a history of a violent misdemeanor crime
These are common sense laws that protect us all. No one is trying to take away guns. America was founded on the Wild West. Guns are an indelible part of our society. I own a gun. One I had to wait three days to obtain. One that required a background check to buy. One I learned to use safely in a gun class I attended. One that holds a few bullets I have to individually discharge. One I keep safely secured. Those were the state of Arizona laws I had to honor when I purchased my gun decades ago.
We have waited long enough. We have lost far too many lives.