Yesterday I posted a shocking statistic as my Facebook status. Since the Sandy Hook shooting there have been 74 school shootings. 74. Seventy-four. That averages out to about one a week. And those are just the school shootings. We are currently on target for gun deaths to overtake automobile accidents as the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15-24 in 2015. WTF people? Seriously? How are we not outraged as a society? Why do we continue to elect people who show no signs of doing anything about it As President Obama said yesterday, “We’re the only developed country on earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it—it’s a one-day story. There’s no place else like this,” and, “Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country on earth that would put up with this.”
SO WHY DO WE?
As I raised this question yesterday, people asked what I propose we do about all the mass shootings. Here is my list:
- Stricter background checks including for mental health and domestic violence. If someone is on antidepressants for example, they should not be allowed to own a gun. Nor should anyone in their household unless they can demonstrate that they are inaccessible to the person who is receiving treatment. Additionally, if you have committed domestic violence against your partner or a family member you should have your weapons bought back. (57% of mass shootings involved the killing of a family member or a current or former intimate partner of the shooter.)
- You should have to register your gun like you register your vehicle, annually. The tax money raised could go toward victim’s assistance.
- Waiting periods. Period. There is no good reason why you have to have that gun TODAY instead of a month from now.
- Age restrictions. Children do not need to own guns. Perhaps 16 (with parental supervision) or 18, the ages where you can drive and join the military are a place to begin the discussion.
- Mandatory gun safety courses and licensing that must be kept current. Just like a driver’s license.
- Automatic and semi automatic weapons should at the minimum have stricter rules. (Since 1984 51% of mass killers have used semi automatic guns, 3/4 of which were legally purchased.)
- Limit magazine size and amount of ammo that can be purchased in one transaction.
- Secure storage requirements.
We are the only country in the developed world where this is tolerated or accepted. In fact the U.S. leads the developed world in gun ownership, 88 guns for every 100 people (yes you read that right) as well as 10 gun related deaths per 100,000 people. Just to compare, Switzerland was second to us with 45.7 guns per 100 people and 3.84 gun related deaths per 100,000 people. Japan was lowest with .6 guns per 100 people and .06 gun related deaths per 100,000 people. To be quite blunt, we can do better.
My question is when will we demand our legislators do something? How many people are too many? How many kids? As Bob Dylan said, “The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”
For those who think that perhaps the answer is the blurring of the lines between church and state as some of my friends have suggested. I humbly submit a post I wrote a while back called, The Bible Trumps the Law of The United States? I originally wrote this piece as it related to marriage equality, however I think it applies here as well.