A week after the massacre that broke America’s heart we’re uncertain if meaningful change will occur. The NRA’s shameful press conference was actually the rollout of a new product: a gun in every school! The answer to every problem is always buy more guns.
This is unacceptable. The status quo is unacceptable. We owe it to those 20 children in Newtown to not let their deaths be in vain. To tell me there’s just no path to a less dangerous future is unconscionable. One-hundred-thousand Americans are shot or killed with a gun each year.
This is not because we have more mentally ill people than other nations. We don’t. That’s an obvious deflection from the real issue: we have way more guns. We have more retail gun sellers than McDonalds restaurants. This chart shows America alone in purple to denote us having far more guns than the rest of the world. There are no simple solutions but gun laws can help.
Both the violence policy center and Richard Florida have found correlations between gun laws and rates of death. Strong gun laws can lower gun death rates. And there are many common sense gun safety policies that don’t destroy the rights of responsible gun owners.
1 Closing the gun show loophole is common sense. So many criminals get guns this way that some call gun shows Tupperware parties for thugs. Everyone buying a gun in America should submit to a background check and registration. Including online sales.
2 Criminalize straw purchasing. Once you own a gun it should remain your responsibility and if a crime is committed with it, you become an accessory.
3 Gun trafficking transparency. The Tiahrt amendment restricts police access to crime gun trace data. The CDC is not allowed to study ways to stop gun violence. The ATF is barred from keeping a database of gun sales. There is no national gun registry. All this is the NRA shrouding the problem. And we must microstamp bullets. And get a permanent director of the ATF–which the Obama administration has never had, thanks to GOP obstruction.
4 An assault weapons ban is common sense. And not one riddled with loopholes that makes it meaningless.
5 An extended magazine ban is common sense.
6 Limit the purchase of guns to one a month.
7 Limit the purchase of ammunition.
8 End Stand Your Ground laws that encourage shooting.
I’m not sure if all of that would’ve stopped Newtown but it would change the gun culture and save some lives. Doing nothing is immoral. Columbine had an armed guard and as David Frum tweeted: ” Semi-auto fires 45-60 bullets a minute. How fast can a retired cop run from one end of a school to other?” Since when do Americans shrug and say we can’t solve a problem? America is better than being terrorized by guns. Better than being held hostage by the NRA and the Party of Glocks.
Better than a nation where Newtown is the norm. Garry Wills says America treats guns like a secular god. E.J. Dionne says depose the false deity. I say amen. We owe it to those 20 Newtown babies that their lives do not end in vain.