Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
We have discussed the thousands who have been killed by guns in this country on several occasions on Professor Turley’s blog and we have seen some of the same responses from both sides of the discussions about reasonable restrictions on gun ownership and use. Some say that any restriction on gun ownership, no matter how small, is a violation of their Second Amendment rights.
Some of those who are in favor of reasonable gun control measures, point to the sheer numbers of women and children and men who die each day due to senseless murders and sorrowful accidents. Emotional arguments and reasons have been offered by both sides of the discussion, but yet not a single worthwhile National gun control measure has become law and the killings and deaths continue unabated.
To my dismay and shock, not even the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, where 20 small school children and 6 staff members lost their lives to an arguably mentally ill shooter, produced any resulting legislation that could be argued offers some relief in the ever larger numbers of gun deaths.
While researching this article I had trouble finding articles written on this subject after April of 2013. There were many articles, including articles on this blog from December of 2012 through April of 2013, but very little since. In light of the dearth of media interest since April of this year, I am curious about what it will take for the United States of America to decide it is time to stop killing itself?
In June of this year, I did find one article that discussed how little had been done since Sandy Hook and the article argued that the number of gun deaths since Sandy Hook has continued unabated.
“In the first week after the Newtown, Conn., massacre on Dec. 14, more than 100 people in the U.S. were killed by guns. In the first seven weeks, that number had risen to at least 1,285 gunshot killings and accidental deaths. A little more than three months after Newtown, there have been 2,244. The Huffington Post has recorded every gun-involved murder and accidental shooting death reported in U.S. news media since Newtown, revealing an epidemic that shows no signs of abating. The horrors cannot be contained behind yellow police tape or find resolution in a courtroom. For the victim’s families, the grief deforms all it touches. There’s the fear that the radio will play her favorite ballad. An airplane overhead, like the kind he flew, will strike panic. Home is not safe. One month, two months, two years, nine years since those fatal shots — the grief never leaves.” Huffington Post
The Huffington Post article that I have linked to above, discusses several shootings over the years and the damage it has done to families of the decedent’s and how difficult it has been to cope with their respective losses. It is always hard to lose a loved one, but it seems that losing a loved one to gun violence, misuse or accident is especially hard to recover from.
My intention with this article is not to argue the plusses and minuses of gun control legislation and to instigate partisan arguments as to who has the better argument about why Americans seems obsessed with guns. My intention is to discuss when will Americans do something, anything, to reduce gun violence?
The killing of 20 little children produced a hue and cry around the country and indeed, around the world. However, legislation to possibly ameliorate this epidemic of gun killings never materialized. You may blame Congress and its inability to pass any legislation on any subject. You can blame gun owners and gun manufacturers for their alleged stubbornness to back substantive gun control measures. You can even blame the conditions in the inner cities that seem to breed violence on the streets.
I submit the blame belongs in the lap of every American citizen. This epidemic of gun killings can’t be attributed to just one cause or one political party. It can’t be blamed on just one gun manufacturer or gun lobbyist. Only the collective pressure from an engaged citizenry can produce enough political power to attack the problem on all fronts.
Getting into politician’s faces, gun lobbyists faces, gang members faces and yes, our children’s faces and engaging and educating all concerned that if we do not take a stand after so many deaths, when will we? It may take reasonable gun control legislation. It may take reeducating our young people and it may take increased job opportunities to reduce poverty and the despair that goes with poverty. But without all of us drawing the line and saying that this country will no longer accept needless deaths, the change will never happen.
Stand up in your communities and let your fellow townspeople and city councils know that nothing will stand in your way to reduce the epidemic of gun deaths in almost every community. Educate your children about the dangers of misusing or playing with guns and make locking up your guns a reality. Let your legislators know that mental illness can’t be ignored. What do you think you can do to reduce gun deaths?
Can gun control legislation help reduce the number of deaths? Can Second Amendment advocates cooperate with gun control proponents to find a reasonable, yet effective middle ground? Are there any amendments to the Constitution that could somehow help reduce the number of gun deaths? Can America actually look to other countries for examples of a better way to handle guns in a civilized society?
Let’s hear how you would resolve America’s penchant for shooting its own people! This is a “war” that we cannot afford to lose.