MAKING THE HARD CHOICES TO END GUN VIOLENCE
In this country we see thousands die from a bullet from a gun and tens of thousands more suffer life-changing injuries from these guns. This is a fact, this is our sad reality, and this is how life is in America, but it does not have to be this way, we can change things on this issue.
There are many things we can do right away to end gun violence if we really want things to change and lives to be saved. Personally, I have as mentioned previously lost someone to gun violence, so I have stake in this issue and want to see change more than anyone, but of course there are those who attack me for having my pro- gun control views and do not want any changes at all.
We must change things, if we don’t then family after family will continue to bury loved ones because of gun violence. This is an entirely preventable problem, it is something that can be fixed and the reason that I say this is because other countries and even some U.S. states have passed laws that have saved lives and changed their own problem with gun violence.
If you look at places like Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, and others you will clearly see how they took steps to end their gun violence problem or at least reduce the carnage. Yes, these places still have shootings but much less than we do, much less. It is because of the hard choices they made that they have less gun deaths and these are choices that we here in America must make, yet we refuse to despite evidence from these other nations that gun control works.
In a previous chapter I outlined things we can do to fix our gun violence problem, but I would like to briefly go into detail of how each of those measures would prevent or at least reduce gun violence in America like other countries have reduced and in some cases eliminated their own gun violence epidemic. Each of these measures would save precious lives and the people who oppose gun control know this, they just do not want to give up their guns or have any restrictions at all.
Australia among other countries have shown that simple gun control measures do save lives and prevent tragedy and I firmly believe that could work here as well if we as a country would only get our act together and act on this issue once and for all. It works if we pass these laws like other countries have but we must have a set of uniform laws on a federal level, when we have strict gun control in some states but not in others then it of course will not work but if we pass gun control nationwide like those other nations have then it will absolutely work and save lives.
Ban high-capacity magazines– This is something we can do right now to reduce the number of people who die in a mass shooting as well as in other shootings. High-capacity magazines are used in most of our mass shootings and when they are used they cause mass numbers of casualties, but for some reason, our lawmakers refuse to act on this issue.
Banning them would for sure reduce the death toll in these shootings and this is a fact. For example, the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona in 2011 that killed six while wounding more than a dozen others including Gabby Giffords would have been stopped sooner and less would have been shot if these large-capacity magazines were not available.
This is often disputed by the gun people, but it is a fact. There was a 9-year old girl who was one of the six lives lost and she was killed with bullet number thirteen, had magazine capacity been limited to ten rounds then she would have lived. It was when the shooter tried to reload that he was tackled, and the shooting then ended, and more lives were spared.
This is proof that banning these magazines saves lives. They are used in most of these mass killings yet the politicians in D.C. refuse to act on them on a federal level. Some states have acted and banned them but even in the states that have, there is pushback by the NRA and Republicans and these bans are limited. For example, in California, they banned the sale of these magazines, yet a judge recently ruled that the voter approved initiative that banned the possession of them was unconstitutional.
The fact remains, limiting the number of bullets in a magazine would save countless lives and we need to act and ban the sale as well as the possession of magazines that hold more than ten rounds on a federal level, so we can prevent more death in not only mass shootings but all shootings. This is one of steps that we can take now that would reduce the damage done in shootings and certainly is one of the things I advocate for the most and will continue to do so.
Ban semi-automatic rifles– These weapons are also used in most mass shootings and allowing people to keep owning them is dangerous. Weapons like the MCX, AR-15, and more have no business in civilian hands and until we make these weapons illegal then more innocent people will die. It just makes sense to outlaw these guns but those at the NRA and Republicans in D.C. and on the state and local level fight against any measure that would restrict these weapons.
The Orlando shooter at Pulse nightclub, shooters in San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Newtown, and dozens of other mass shootings used semi-automatic rifles as their weapon of choice and in most cases either they or someone they knew bought these weapons legally, if these weapons were not so readily available then these shootings would have been far less deadly, and lives would have been saved.
These are assault weapons and they need to be banned. The gun movement changed the definition of an assault weapon to call them “sporting rifles” but these weapons are dangerous and clearly have one purpose and that is to kill as many people as possible in a short period of time, clearly, they are assault weapons and they need to be restricted and outlawed as soon as possible.
Mandatory mental health exams– Many in pro-gun circles say that requiring a mental health evaluation would violate their constitutional rights but this is not true. We require background checks to purchase a gun and that does not violate any rights, so why not expand these background checks to include mental health exams, this would make sure mentally ill people are not gaining access to firearms.
Currently you do not need to prove you are mentally stable to purchase or possess a gun and that results not only in mass shootings but also random acts of gun violence and suicide by gun. What people do not realize is that if you never have sought treatment then nobody knows if you have a mental health condition or not, but if we require that people get evaluated by a mental health professional before they can purchase a gun then we know if they are stable enough to own one.
It just makes sense, if you never have had contact with the mental health system either by seeing a therapist or being in a mental health hospital then there is no way to know if you have a mental health condition or not. It is something that we must do, to evaluate people to prove their mental fitness. Our failure to do so is a big reason why we see so many who legally purchase these guns commit these mass shootings and other acts of senseless gun violence.
Liability insurance– This is yet another measure I am in favor of. In many shootings, even in these so called “self-defense”, there are costs that occur, and someone must pay those costs. An example, let’s say that you pull out your gun and accidently shoot someone who is innocent or cause damage to someone’s business or property, you should have liability insurance to help with those costs.
It makes sense for people to have insurance in case their gun hurts or kills innocent bystanders or even if they harm a criminal. I do not believe anyone should shoot anyone and especially if you shoot someone who is not armed, that person should be allowed to sue you. Just look at the case of George Zimmerman when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, Trayvon did not have a gun and Zimmerman did, Martin’s family should have been able to sue Zimmerman.
This is where liability insurance would benefit all parties involved. Just like when you are driving and slam into another car or hit a pedestrian, you have insurance to cover yourself as well as help pay medical costs and damage to the other party. We should have this with guns as well, it only makes sense yet for some odd reason the NRA and gun people do not want this requirement.
Registration– This is yet another common-sense measure that we could take right now that would help to reduce and prevent gun violence. We do not know who has what weapons, so it only makes sense for us to have a national database that would tell us who had what weapons. We have a database of other things in this nation like automobile registration, medications are tracked if they fall under the controlled substance category, and other things are required to be registered.
If we had a registry, then when there was a threat we would know who had those weapons and where they lived or when weapons were stolen they could be tracked easier and so on. Think of it this way, if people have arsenals of guns and ammunition, shouldn’t law enforcement know about it, so they can keep an eye on them and keep the public safe? I think so.
Another element of the registration issue would be to develop a system that is like how we track smartphones and cars when they are stolen or lost. When my iPhone is missing, I have an app that allows me to find it no matter where it is, and we have similar things when a car goes missing and so on. GPS trackers in guns would work wonders and if we have a computer database that lists every weapon legally owned by every citizen then we could track these weapons and know where they were always, it just makes sense to have a system like this and registration in place.
Smart Guns– Just like I was talking about above, guns that have GPS trackers and other technological advances are needed now more than ever. The reason for this is because so many kids get their hands on guns and end up either shooting themselves or another child and that is tragic. If we had more smart guns in homes, then less kids would meet this fate and people could still have a gun for home protection.
The implementation of things like fingerprint scanners or a pin on people’s guns would save countless lives and keep children safe from accidental shootings. It would also prevent theft and having guns that are lost or stolen from being used in crimes. It would solve so many issues, yet many gun owners do not want such things, they seem to be content to take their chances and by doing so, they put the lives of their children and any child that is in their home at risk.
Expanded background checks — Now, this one I partly discussed when I talked about mental health evaluations being required to purchase a gun but I believe we can do even more to make our background check system better than it currently is and this one is a big one in preventing gun violence, it is something that must change if we are to better address this issue and something that is simple and can save countless lives, yet the right does not want to look at it at all.
Currently, the background check system is flawed and the Republicans on the hill do not want to change it so our background checks are more secure and they prevent people who should not have guns from getting their hands on them.
We need to have longer waiting periods, so people can be properly vetted. There are cases where a person would not have passed the background check, but it took so long for the federal authorities to complete the check that they went ahead and approved them to purchase, the Charleston church shooter was one of those more recent examples.
Another thing we must do is have background checks on all sales, not just some. We must close the gun show loophole and require a federal background check to be performed on private sales and family member to family member transfers.
Doing all of this would save lives and keep guns out of the wrong hands. It would have prevented many of the mass shootings that we have seen in recent years as well as prevent gun violence, or at least help to reduce it from what it is now.
I believe that we can change things on this issue and if I didn’t then I would not fight so hard for reform. I know that in this country people love their guns, but I believe that we can have common sense laws that save lives while still allowing people to have guns.
Now, do I support the 2ndamendment?
No, I do not. I believe that it is outdated and should go, like I talked about in the last chapter. I also believe that getting rid of it will not be easy, so I am willing to compromise and the list of measures I just outlined do not infringe on that amendment, I do not believe those steps take away any rights. I know that the gun people who read this book will disagree with me, but I stand by my beliefs on this issue and will always fight to help reduce gun violence in America.
Banning and restricting firearms is one way that we can help reduce gun deaths, but the other way is through education on the issue. The love for guns in this country is extreme and much of that is due to this creation of a gun culture over the years that not only teaches people to solve their problems through violence but twists what the 2ndamendment means.