No Other Country Lets This Happen

Gun control shouldn’t be a political debate. It SHOULD be common sense. And yet, here we are yet again. No talk. No debate. No common sense discussion about the glut of guns in our communities and the ease of access to them. Just thoughts and prayers. And the words: “the shooter…has been identified as… a white male”*.

Gun control shouldn’t be a political debate. But it IS a public health issue. And yet our government can’t even track and research gun deaths (estimated to be among the top 5 causes of death for Americans under the age of 65).

It’s sick and I’m so tired of “thoughts and prayers” and “but there are good guys with guns!” and the rest of the nonsense. And don’t tell me not to politicize the issue right now. Gun control shouldn’t be a political debate, but it is… always has been.

Yes, the right to bear arms is a constitutional right (as part of a “well regulated militia”, but we tend to overlook those words). But, just like the right to free speech, it is not an unlimited right. There are regulations on free speech, so why not robust regulations on bearing arms?

We live where efficient killing machines are able to be had on a whim. Where a person can stockpile these weapons and ammo. A place where ONE MAN can kill 59 and injure 500+ more in the span of 8 minutes or less. ONE MAN.

We regulate everything from driving to drinking to buying cold medicine.

Lawn darts injured 6000 people in 8 years, and killed one. We banned them.

Drop-side cribs caused 32 deaths over 10 years. We banned them.

KinderEgg chocolates have caused 3 deaths in other countries. We banned them.

Every day, 93 Americans are killed with guns – and we do nothing. And when we TRY to do something (like, make it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun), it gets revoked to score political points with the NRA.

For the last 4 years, on December 14 I write my congress-people to ask for the following things, which I think are “common sense” regulations on the right to bear arms:
– Limit the size of large capacity ammunition clips, and create a database to track all purchases of ammunition (similar to database used to track the sale of pseudoephedrine-containing products).
– Require a criminal background check, mental health screening** and mandatory waiting period for anyone to buy a gun, eliminating gun show and private-sale loopholes.
– Mandate spousal/ex-spousal notification before a gun can be legally obtained (similar to Canadian gun laws) and maybe reduce the horrific number of domestic abuse deaths in this country.
– Institute a gun-ownership purchase permit and license that requires the passing of a test and annual renewal of your license (similar to drivers licenses and license plate renewal).
– Require legal gun owners to secure their weapon and safeguard against theft and misuse (and maybe reduce the 200+ children who unintentionally shoot themselves or others each year).

I keep going back what British journalist Dan Hodges said in 2015: “In retrospect, Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was all over”

But I keep calling, I keep writing. This week I’ve called and emailed my congresspeople asking them to oppose the GOP-sponsored SHARE Act moving through Congress that would that would deregulate gun silencers.

I will continue to make my plea on the anniversary of Sandy Hook that we do SOMETHING, ANYTHING. I will continue to hope that our elected officials act like the public servants they are and stop offering prayers and condolences as if they were a corner preacher.

—–

*I would be remiss if I didn’t point out all the ways this particular, and all, white terrorists are described in the media by their “virtues” while any victim or suspect of color is described by any vices the media can dig up.

**I am very aware that most domestic terrorists do NOT have a diagnosed mental illness. And in calling their acts “crazy” or implying that they are mentally ill only further stigmatizes the mentally ill. However, as nearly 2/3 of gun deaths in the US are suicides, I maintain that by screening for mental health issues before purchasing a firearm we could reduce the number of people who take their own lives.

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