This past weekend came the news that 2 mass shootings occurred less than 24 hours apart, one in El Paso killing over 20 and another in Dayton killing 10. The bloodshed in El Paso was fueled by right-wing racism and in Dayton by pure unbridled rage. All of this happened in a nation where there are an estimated 1.2 guns for every man, woman and child (over 393,000,000 in all); a figure far higher than any other nation on earth (source – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_ownership). We also lead the world in gun deaths by a significant margin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States).
Eleven years before I began attending the University of Texas in 1977, a deranged man climbed to the top of the UT Tower and shot 45 people below, killing 14. Some fifty years later, another madman in Las Vegas shot 480 people (killing 58) from his hotel room on the 32nd floor. In between, we’ve suffered through shootings at homes, workplaces, schools, shopping areas, churches, mosques and synagogues. Basically… everywhere.
There is a familiar pattern that happens in the aftermath. “Thoughts and prayers” are offered to the families of the victims. Questions about our lax gun laws are deflected as “coming too soon”. Then blame is laid on mental health, video games or even the ban on school prayer. Any attempt at limiting access to the weapons themselves is hailed as an assault on the 2nd Amendment… even to our very liberty.
I’d like to know where the right to own and carry guns ends and my unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (as mentioned in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence) begins. Is the right to carry any style of assault rifle more crucial than our nation’s domestic tranquility and general welfare (mentioned in the first sentence of our Constitution)? Do our leaders bear any responsibility for their rhetoric and inaction?
You need a driver’s test and a license in order to drive. How about an annually renewed license to own a firearm complete with mandatory police testing and background checks? If an airbag misfires, auto makers are required to recall and repair those models affected. How about applying that to gun manufacturers instead of legislating away their responsibility? And how about re-banning those weapons and magazines expressly designed to rapidly kill lots of people? Because right now, they’re doing it in record numbers.
Opponents violently oppose these measures (“you’ll pry my gun from my cold dead hands”) and maintain the only way to stop these shootings is for everyone to arm themselves. There is a word for those places where a majority of people carry guns in such large numbers with such fierce conviction.
They’re called war zones.
More info on guns in America – https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts
For saner gun laws – https://everytown.org/