Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, shot in the head two years ago today, has launched a new effort for common sense gun safety legislation with her husband Astronaut Mark Kelly. There have been eleven more mass shootings since she and 18 others, six fatally, were shot at a shopping center. We went to war when 3,300 Americans were killed on 9/11 and instituted invasive searches of all air travelers after one failed shoe bombing incident yet we refuse to do anything after 30,000 Americans die from gun violence every year.
Fifteen of us protested outside a gun show Sunday in Leesport, PA. Several gun owners stopped to engage us in discussions and most proved to be delusional. One responsible gun owner said he keeps his locked up, has had extensive training and so forth but, in my experience, he’s the exception. I’ve seen too many reckless gun owners and hunters. I saw three gun owners openly laughing at us as they drove past. What about 30,000 gun deaths a year do they find humorous? I held a sign saying “guns kill kids.” What was so funny about Newtown?
It is far past time for comprehensive gun legislation. We need a permanent director for ATF and adequate funding for the agency. We must fund adequate mental health care and put mental health on an equal funding basis with physical health. All gun purchasers should undergo background checks and gun owners should be responsible in the same way as vehicle owners: prove you’re competent and carry liability insurance. Gun manufacturers should be subject to liability lawsuits along with irresponsible gun owners. Large capacity ammunition clips and assault rifles should be banned once again.
Gun owners must be required to keep their weapons locked in gun safes with ammunition stored separately. Gun dealers should be required to keep inventories and be subject to surprise, multiple inspections. The gun show loophole must be closed: 80% of all guns used in crimes are bought at gun shows. Lost and stolen guns must be reported to police so gun traffickers can be tracked and prosecuted. Gun nuts are fond of the talking point that if we take guns away only criminals will have them. At the same time they oppose efforts to enact these common sense laws to keep guns from criminals.
More guns equals more violence, more death. Nations which restrict gun ownership have but a fraction of the murders and suicides we have from guns. Every statistic shows that more guns equals more deaths, more mass shootings. The isolated examples where a gun owner is saved by virtue of their weapon pale in numbers to those killed by their own guns. Having a gun in your home makes one far less safe than homes without them. These are facts, cold hard facts we’ll press into your feeble brain instead of from your cold, dead hands.
After Newtown I have one question for the gun nuts: how many more innocent children have to die before we act?