“‘No Way To Prevent This’, says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”
This headline has been printed in The Onion four times over the last two years. While The Onion is satirical, it needs a ridiculous truth to direct its mirth towards, and the gun violence and lack of gun legislation in America typify that. Mass shootings in America are more common than in any other country in the world. With 31% of the world’s mass shootings since 1966, it’s time for the United States to catch up with the rest of the world and introduce gun controls.
The right to bear arms seems now to be a relic from the 18th century age of empire.
After the massacre at Dunblane Primary School in 1996, the UK acted. Our two major parties, so often theatrically opposed to each other, worked together to pass more restrictive gun laws. Across the pond, there has been no such action. The National Rifle Association, America’s largest pro-gun lobby group, has received $20 million in donations from the gun industry. It’s handed over $4 million to members of Congress. How do you fix such a broken system?
American gun laws are moving further away from the rest of the world. The NRA feel enabled by Trump, saying last November that, “this is our historic moment to go on offense”. They pledged to take on individual states with tough gun laws – despite the fact only one state prohibits carrying a gun in public. That state, Illinois, has the 11th lowest rate of gun-related death in the US. Alaska and Louisiana have twice as many gun-related deaths as Illinois, and have some of the most liberal gun laws in the country.
The Second Amendment is the holy text of the gun fanatic. They contend that the Second Amendment gives them the right to bear arms, and gun control restricts that freedom. However, the full Second Amendment states that only a “well-regulated militia” is allowed to keep and bear arms. The interpretation of the Second Amendment to allow any Tom, Dick or Harry to carry a gun anywhere is a modern phenomenon. Besides, the right to bear arms seems now to be a relic from the 18th century age of empire.
Gun violence is a stain on America. The recent shooting in Las Vegas has only served to bring that under a sharper focus. Politicians must reject the dirty money of the gun lobby. Judges must view the Second Amendment as what it is and not see it as a repudiation of any gun control.
Americans deserve to be free from gun crime. Washington must ensure that they will be.
Opinion pieces are the view of the author and in no way reflect the views of Forge Press.
Words by Stan Beal
Image credit: Ibro Palic