Why Can’t We Control Guns?
Did you think that after the Parkland shooting, in which 17people died, anything would be different? As we now know, nothing has changed. The rhetoric has quieted, the proposed congressional laws have not gone forward, and we, the citizens and children, still suffer. Yes, some states have adopted measures to restrict access to guns and to ban some particularly heinous aspects of guns, like the bump stock. But, in reality, the National Rifle Association controls both the Republican majority in Congress and the president to prevent any progress in the sale and restriction of semi-automatic weapons, background checks on all weapons sales, the sale and distribution of bump stocks and many other measures that would make it safer for our children to go to school, or for citizens to assemble or walk the streets.
Since the February school shooting in Parkland, there have been several events. In May, the NRA held its annual meeting in Dallas at which guns, ironically, were banned. President Trump was the featured speaker and defended the NRA’s position and gun rights, but declined to speak about the kids and teachers killed in Parkland. Also in May, we saw another mass school shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, in which ten people were murdered. They were victims of policies set in place by the president and the NRA in Texas, but “thoughts and prayers” wouldn’t have saved their lives. Republicans, typically, responded by ignoring the role of guns. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick thought: “abortion and video games are responsible.” Senator Ted Cruz opined: “There have been too damned many of these.” President Trump said the obvious: “This has been going on for years, even decades.”
Simply said, the problem remains the unrestricted access to assault weapons by almost anyone who is capable of killing people as quickly as possible.
It is incumbent on us, as a civilized and responsible society, to restrict and control the sale, distribution, and possession of guns. There are over 300 million guns in this country, about one per person. What are we waiting for? For our own lives to be affected by gun violence? Our children and grandchildren are practicing “active shooter drills” in classrooms! Four-year olds are concerned that their sparkly shoes might give away their hiding place to an attacker at pre-school! Ordinary neighborly disputes can result in tragedy.
I implore all of us to work towards a solution to this national epidemic. The solution is to work hard at replacing the members of Congress that support or are supported by the NRA. Those congressional members are predominantly and nearly exclusively Republicans. Our greatest weapon to lift our country and to save our children from gun violence is to vote. Let’s use it! Know your candidates’ position on responsible, reasonable gun policy, and vote accordingly. Our lives depend on it.
Larry Pifer is a member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum. He writes from Tilghman.