Tired of the arguments against gun control

I had a different post written for today, but a personal focus felt crass after a week when 19 innocent fourth graders were gunned down in their classroom in Uvalde, Texas. That came 10 days after 10 African Americans were shot in a Buffalo grocery store. In both cases, the gunman was an 18-year-old male with AR-15-style rifles.

Closer to home, fear of gun violence, not new to people on the South and West Sides, has spread throughout Chicago like a metastasizing cancer. No place feels safe today. Downtown, where I live, has seen a surge in shootings this year, including highly publicized homicides near the Bean and a Red Line station. I used to walk home from Millennium Park or the Goodman Theatre on warm evenings. Now I’m nervous walking the block from the bus stop.

I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said elsewhere, but I need to express outrage and frustration.

I don’t understand how our politicians can continue to let this happen, how a minority beholden to the National Rifle Association can overrule the desire of the great majority of Americans for stricter gun regulations.

I’m tired of hearing about Second Amendment rights, as if the drafters of the Constitution 235 years ago could foresee military assault weapons being brought into classrooms, places of worship, concerts, nightclubs, and supermarkets.

I’m tired of hearing the “thoughts and prayers” cliché after a slaughter, as if it is enough.

“Guns don’t kill, people do,” we hear, and more attention to mental health is proposed. Although New York State has a red flag law, and his school had reported him, the shooter in Buffalo was still able to buy two rifles. Mentally ill people can’t kill with guns they can’t get. 

Gun control doesn’t work, we hear. It works elsewhere. We’re the only developed country in the world with such carnage from gun violence. Countries that tightened their gun laws, such as the UK and Australia, reduced their rates of gun-related deaths, including mass shootings. 

Chicago has strict gun regulations, and they haven’t solved the problem, we hear. Guns are brought from Indiana and other states that are lax about firearms. We need national solutions.

The NRA and Republicans propose “hardening schools” with extra security measures. The Uvalde school district has its own police, classroom door locks, and other security safeguards. The shooter still got in. Nineteen police officers stood for almost an hour in the hallway on the other side of the door from the shooter. A school officer hid during the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida, that massacred 17 people.  

The NRA and Republicans propose more gun ownership for self-defense. According to researchers, people rarely use guns in self-defense. Yet Americans continue to arm themselves out of fear — more than 5 million Americans bought their first guns in the last two years — and our firearm homicide rate goes up. 

Ten years ago, 20 elementary school children and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Since then, there have been almost 1,000 school shootings among 3,500 mass shootings in the United States, and Congress has not passed one piece of gun legislation.

What can we ordinary people do? All I can think of is to stop electing representatives who take money from the NRA (see a list). The NRA overwhelming supports Republicans, so Chicagoans will need to help defeat candidates in other states.

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  • How do you reconcile that guns have existed in American society since its founding? Indeed, without guns, there would have been no American Revolution. It's only been the last 50 years that shootings have skyrocketed. Why? It's not the so-called "assault" weapon, a firearm that shoots multiple rounds. That has been around since the Colt45. The one thing that has changed is American society. Progressive education and progressive ideas that have integrated into society have erased the concept of right and wrong. Anything goes if it feels good and you want it. Until society admits that evil exists and must be punished nothing will change. And society can no longer acknowledge that there is evil so the carnage will continue. It is quite ironic that the idea of removing guns from black and brown people on the west and south sides here has incentivized the thugs to go to the middle and upper-income areas to commit their evil. As an aside, also please explain that the easy access to guns in IN has caused so much violence in Chicago but not IN? Could it be that the killers/thugs are not punished (see Kim Foxx).

  • Yes Marianne, I feel your frustration. The crime in Chicago has never been this bad. I don't know if moving out of state is really the answer either. I think twice before i take the Blue Line after dark.
    It never bothered me before.

  • Thank you, Marianne. Well done. We must replace the politicians who are beholden to the NRA. Whether you define the problem as illness or evil, it was not so dangerous when the ill or evil could not get military-style assault weapons, so we need those to be banned again. (I fail to understand why the ban was allowed to expire, unless it was a compromise to get it passed at all.)

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    I couldn't remember either, Margaret, so looked it up. See NRP's story:
    https://www.npr.org/2019/08/13/750656174/the-u-s-once-had-a-ban-on-assault-weapons-why-did-it-expire

  • In reply to Marianne Goss:

    Thank you for your research!

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