top of page
  • Writer's pictureDaisy

The Time to Act on Gun Reform is NOW.

On November 20, 2022, the nation watched in horror as the news broke. Another mass shooting had occurred. A gunman entered a Colorado Springs, LGBTQ club and began firing with a semiautomatic rifle, killing 5 people and injuring 25 others.

The story has become all too familiar. As the initial shock sinks in, Americans take an inventory, and people make comparisons with other mass shootings. How many were killed at Pulse Nightclub? Sandy Hook Elementary School? How many were killed at the grocery store, at school, the post office, the movie theater, the music festival, the church, the synagogue, or the mosque?

The numbers of those killed are staggering, and the list is long:

McDonald’s, San Ysidro, CA. - 21 killed, Edmond Post Office, Edmond, OK. - 14 killed, Luby’s Cafeteria, Killeen, TX. - 23 killed, Columbine High School, Littleton, CO. - 13 killed, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. - 32 killed, 17 injured, Fort Hood Army Base, Fort Hood, TX. - 13 killed, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, CT. - 26 killed, Century 16 Movie Theater, Aurora, CO. - 12 killed, 58 injured, Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, FL. - 49 killed, 53 injured, Inland Regional Center, San Bernardino, CA. - 14 killed, Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, Las Vegas, NV. - 60 killed, 850 injured, First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, TX. - 26 killed, 20 injured, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL. - 17 killed, Walmart, El Paso, TX. - 23 killed, 26 injured, Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, TX. - 21 killed.

Inevitably, with every new shooting, Republican politicians come out in droves to offer their empty thoughts and prayers, which are just as quickly followed by absolutely no action to prevent the violence. Their goal instead is to spread disinformation aimed at lining their own pockets and appeasing the gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The firearm industry is worth approximately $28 billion, and with mass shootings becoming an increasingly common facet of American life, gun rights groups spent a record $15.8 million lobbying in 2021. That money buys them allegiance from a party more concerned with wealth, big business, and rights without responsibility than they are with the lives of the American people.

Research has shown that mental health issues are not a major contributor to mass shootings. Yet that is the story invoked by both the NRA and the Republican Party every time we lose more people to a lone shooter with a semiautomatic rifle and a history of hatred for people that look remarkably like the victims of the crime.

Research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, tells a different story than Republicans do and demonstrates that only about 4 percent of violence in the United States can be attributed to mental illness. Data indicates that most individuals with mental illness will never perpetrate violence. By insisting that mental illness is to blame for mass violence the Republicans elected to advocate for the people they represent simply shift attention from strengthening gun laws to lining their pockets for a job well done and a high five by the gun industry.

After the mental health excuse runs its course a new one will take its place. One that paints a picture of America in which every door should have a metal detector, every purse and backpack should be screened, armed teachers, armed security guards, and armed citizens should occupy every building, and every building should be surrounded by security fencing. Instead of gun reform, we can turn our neighborhoods into prisons where we all live with a false sense of security, and the Republicans in Congress, the NRA, and the gun industry profit from their lies.

Gun violence is an American problem. The United States is not the only country with mental health issues, domestic violence, or hate-fueled ideologies. We are, however, the only country that has consistently bowed to the pressure of a select few and failed to pass meaningful gun legislation to protect our citizens. Within the United States, states that have weak gun laws and higher gun ownership also have higher rates of mass shootings yet Republican lawmakers continue to make excuses, not changes.

There is broad public support for a variety of gun control policies. A poll conducted between July 28 and August 1, 2022, by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Associated Press shows 71% of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, including about half of Republicans, the vast majority of Democrats and a majority of those in gun-owning households. If Republicans are interested in heartbeat laws and pro-life legislation now is the time. Every victim lost to gun violence had a heartbeat and a life. Listen to the American people and pass common-sense gun reform laws. The time for change is now before another parent, child, brother, sister, husband, wife, or friend has to end the day with empty arms and a broken heart.

118 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All