Nine dead in Dayton today. Twenty dead in El Paso yesterday. Three dead in Gilroy, California a week ago. America has entered a period of madness. Aren’t you sick of gun violence? I’m sick of it.
It’s happening because anyone who wants a gun can get one. The problem is not video games or crazy people. Other countries have video games and crazy people — but not the mass shootings. The problem is the availability of guns.
The list of horrific shootings this year goes on:
- July 6 — 5 dead in St. Louis County.
- June 8 — 5 killed in White Swan, Wash.
- May 31 — 12 killed in Virginia Beach, Va.
- Feb. 15 — 5 killed in Aurora, Ill.
- Jan. 23 — 5 killed in Sebring, Fla.
I can barely wrap my head around it. Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than many leading causes of death combined. It’s just a matter of time before you or I find ourselves at the scene of a mass shooting.
Thoughts and prayers don’t work. A quick police response doesn’t work. Everything that has been done so far — and it’s not much — has failed to stop mass shootings. But there are things you can do to fight the gun plague in this country.
- Attend a meeting of Moms Demand Gun Sense in America. There’s a meeting in Tucson on August 12 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church at 3809 E. 3rd St.
- Support, donate and join the campaign of Mark Kelly, candidate for US Senate in Arizona. Kelly is a gun owner and a combat veteran, the husband of Gabby Giffords who was nearly killed in a shooting, and an advocate for commonsense, effective gun laws.
- Fight the NRA, which has manufactured the gun violence epidemic. To do this, get active in the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Learn to argue against the wacko “insurrectionist” claims.
- Host your very own evening of information and action to educate your friends and community about gun violence while helping support the Violence Policy Center. For an easy how-to guide, click here.
- Write or telephone your Congressman and Senator and demand that they support gun safety ideas (see below). Don’t bother with online petitions, which have little effect.
- Write a letter to the editor in support of gun violence prevention.
- Support gun-safety candidates like Anita Malik, Democrat for U.S. Congress in Arizona District 6. “We’re devastated. Yet, AZ06 Congressman David Schweikert has said nothing, done nothing to even acknowledge Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton. Nothing,” she says.
Ideas that work to stem gun violence:
- Ban assault weapons. The last federal ban on assault weapons was passed by Congress in 1994 to combat mass shootings, which fell significantly over the 10 years the law was in place.
- Ban high-capacity gun magazines. High-capacity magazines, commonly defined as ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, allow a shooter to fire more rounds without pausing to reload. The more rounds a shooter can fire consecutively, the more gunshot wounds they can inflict during an attack.
- Require universal background checks for 100% of gun sales and transfers. This will close the gun show loophole as well as online sales by private sellers. Research shows states that require background checks on all gun sales had 35% fewer gun deaths per capita between 2009 and 2012 and research from the nonpartisan Rand Corporation estimates universal background checks could prevent 1,100 homicides per year.
- Adopt gun violence restraining orders or red flag laws. Red flag laws allow family members and law enforcement to file Extreme Risk Protection Orders and restrict or temporarily remove a person’s access to firearms when their behavior suggests that they pose a violent threat to themselves and others.
- Call the police about potential threats. Report alarming behaviors — written, verbally or online — that allude to a person’s potential desire to commit a violent attack.
You can probably come up with more ideas to stop gun violence. Please share them in the comments or on Facebook. If you’ve found a tactic that is effective, share it online.