The Republican solution to gun violence clearly confirms H.L. Mencken’s statement, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”
When someone accesses a high power assault rifle then murders children and administrators in a school, Republicans blame mental health issues.
They point to common sense solutions like Red Flag laws that remove firearms from someone having an emotional or mental health crisis and say: But Chicago has a red flag law and they still have lots of gun violence.
An old man shoots a young man mistakenly at his front door or a woman in the wrong driveway and Republicans blame the victim for being in the wrong place and cite “castle doctrine” and “stand your ground” laws.
America has gun problems, and no single solution will solve those problems. The reality is that gun violence in America does stem from mental health issues, and from gang violence and from poor community relations and from multiple other sources. The common denominator is that we are awash in guns so that it becomes too easy to take a gun and fire at someone.
We are barely 100 days into 2023 and have already had more than 150 mass shootings (defined as impacting more than four victims). We’ve also had thousands of individual shootings, many suicides and too many incidents involving children pulling the trigger. The greatest cause of death among children is now gun violence.
Republican “solutions” have failed. More guns do not work. Freer access to guns does not work. Doing nothing does not work.
After the recent Louisville shootings an ER doctor made the plea to, “Do something, doing nothing is not working.”
Steps forward are the responsibility of both legislators and citizens.
We citizens need to advocate for enactment and implementation of red flag laws. We need to ban assault weapons (there is no defensible reason that civilians need high power semi-automatic weapons). Background checks for the purchase of guns need to be as simple and common as getting a driver’s license. Law enforcement needs to enforce laws that allow high volume gun sales that fuel the flow of guns to gangs. Gun owners who keep a weapon in their vehicle need to lock them; a key source of guns used in crime is guns stolen from vehicles.
Parents should ask other parents if they have guns in the house and how they store them. If the answer is not responsible, they can refuse to let their child visit that home. The same can be asked of grandparents. When a family member is struggling emotionally or mentally, families should take the responsible steps to remove guns from that household until the crisis is resolved.
The only thing simple about reducing gun violence in America is that both legislators and citizens must take responsibility to act. Let’s start doing so.