Gun violence is a tragedy in America, and a national embarrassment.

September 11, 2022


Gun violence is a tragedy in America, and a national embarrassment.

By Dr. Alan Gabelman

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  At the time this was written, there was no national army, because people were afraid such an army would usurp the authority of the states. The objective of the second amendment was to allow the existence of militias, to ensure this did not happen. It had nothing to do with individual gun ownership for other purposes.

We do not have or need an amendment for every right we enjoy as Americans. We have a right to own a home, live anywhere in the country we choose, buy a car, go to the movies…the list goes on. And we have all those rights without a constitutional amendment. Why do we need an amendment for the right to own a gun?

Something else to consider: at the time the second amendment was written, the most advanced gun was able to fire one bullet at a time, three times per minute (depending on how fast the shooter could reload), and the bullet velocity was one-third of that reached with today’s weapons. (Can you hear the founders rolling over in their graves?)

Gun violence is not only a tragedy in America, it’s a national embarrassment. No other wealthy country has this problem. Others who experienced a mass shooting took legislative action immediately, and have had few if any mass shootings since. This includes the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. After their tragedy in 2019, it took New Zealand six weeks (!!) to ban assault rifles. In response to recent tragedies here in the US, Canada has banned assault rifles, and they will soon freeze sales of handguns. Canada has about 30 guns per capita, one-fourth of the US number. The number of mass shootings in the US so far this year? Over 200. In Canada? Zero. 

Yet Republicans continue to assert that the right to own a gun, even ones designed for the battlefield, to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible, is more important than our right to go to school, or work, or the movies, or a shopping mall, or a nightclub, without fear of being shot. The massacre of first graders at Sandy Hook didn’t convince them that assault rifles and high-capacity magazines are not needed for self-defense, shooting sports, or hunting. The murder of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde did not persuade them that a background check before buying a gun is a good idea, including at a gun show, and there should be no expiration after three days (the Charleston loophole). The killing of four people at a Tulsa hospital by a man unhappy with his surgeon because his back still hurt did not convince them that gun manufacturers should not be exempt from lawsuits and that it’s not OK for these manufacturers to market assault rifles to young men by appealing to their masculinity. Ten people buying groceries in Buffalo were murdered by a racist who traveled 200 miles to commit his evil act, yet Republicans still think it’s OK to buy untraceable ghost guns online, the boyfriend loophole is just fine, and like all of the above, requiring child locks on guns would be a step down a slippery slope.

Their proposed fixes would be laughable if the situation weren’t tragic. Lock the school doors. Arm the teachers. Really? That makes it safe to be able to buy military-grade guns and hardware, even 18-year-olds?  After Sandy Hook, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Actually, no. It didn’t work in Buffalo. Or Uvalde. According to an FBI report, citizens killed active shooters in only four out of 345 incidents from 2000 to 2019, and none of those was in an educational setting. Republican lawmakers know that the goal should be to prevent bad guys from having a gun in the first place, but they’re too deep into the pockets of the NRA to admit it.

And Davidson is one of them. He never met a gun rights bill he didn’t like, or a common sense gun control bill he could support. He and his colleagues have blood on their hands from Sandy Hook, Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa, and so many more, and we need to remind voters of it early and often. 
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