An American Gun Crisis
America is unique in our freedom of guns and the number of people, particularly children, killed by gun violence. We have been over lobbied, falsely told that our guns will be taken away, and bullied into an untenable situation whenever the topic of gun reform arises. Guns don’t make us safer, they make us the least safe developed nation in the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data that showed 2020 had the highest rate of U.S. gun-related deaths in more than 25 years – a jump of 35%.
Some argue that the primary problem is the nation’s need to refocus on mental illness and the breakdown of the nuclear family. This is absolute nonsense, assault-style weapons are the problem. As President Biden noted after the recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas, mass shootings went down after the passing of an assault weapons ban. However, once the law expired, mass shootings tripled. This same concept has been applied to nations around the world with statistics showing refined regulations decrease gun violence and death. Australia’s 1996 National Firearms Agreement (NFA) banned a variety of firearms and the government bought back hundreds of thousands of the banned weapons from their owners. Studies then showed that by removing so many weapons from the community, homicides, suicides, and mass shootings were less common. Adding comprehensive background checks, safety training requirements, red flag laws, waiting times,
Advocating for Gun Reform
Advocating against gun violence is an issue I have supported for decades. In 1999, I spent $250,000 (that I probably had to borrow at the time to invest alongside the rest of the state donors) and raised $500,000 to stop concealed weapons from becoming the law of the land in the state of Missouri. On the other hand, the NRA spent $4.7 million on the ballot initiative. Although we actually defeated them, it was a hollow victory because Republican legislators went against the wheel of the voters and passed the legislation anyway. We’re up against an enemy that is well-armed, has vast wealth, and won’t leave on their own accord – so we have to vote them out.
While I am a gun owner and don’t support law-abiding owners giving up their guns (with the exception of military automatic weapons), the idea that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is an ineffective argument. Mass shootings in America are not isolated incidents – they have become the norm. Established safety procedures can mitigate children’s blood being spilled in their school halls.
Facts, Figures, and the Future
FBI statistics showed that active shooter incidents in 2021 surged by more than 50% from 2020 and nearly 97% from 2017. Many who oppose proactive gun laws argue that it is unconstitutional to change their rights and access to weapons. However, the United States already banned most machine guns consistent with the Second Amendment, so restricting semiautomatic assault weapons should not be considered unconstitutional. Military-grade firearms are destructive weapons and controlling them is the only way to change the trajectory of gun violence in the U.S. Nevertheless, as long as the NRA exists, there will be no constructive dialogue regarding the regulations and creative solutions we need.
At this point, you are either in favor of the status quo of continued mass shootings, or you are vehemently opposed to them. It will take every one of us and our political and personal will to change the landscape of America for safer, future generations. We can do better, and we must.