As reported earlier on this site, we all woke up this morning to the news of over 50 people killed and 400 wounded in what is now the worst mass shooting in American history. That one person, on his own, could inflict such carnage on innocent people attending a concert beggars belief. But should we really be surprised?
The current president of the United States won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. One of first acts of his administration was to allow people with a history of mental illness to legally purchase firearms. Even as we sit over our morning coffee, reading the newspaper or listening to television, the Republican-controlled Congress is considering making the purchasing of silencers on guns legal. There is absolutely no rational reason for anyone, even the most ardent gun enthusiast, to need a silencer. They are not necessary for hunting nor are they necessary for self-protection. In fact, if you have a gun for self-protection (as I have had in the past) making the loudest noise possible is in your best interests.
How many more people would have died in Las Vegas if the shooter was able to attach a silencer to his gun. It was the sound of gunfire that alerted most people to the danger and led them to seek shelter, or to use their own bodies to protect loved ones.
There was a popular bumper sticker when I was growing up “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” Well, let’s try for a new one “If you allow crazy people to buy guns, crazy people are going to use them.” Now before you go all “Stigma of mental illness” on me, I freely admit that I have a history of depression and anxiety which included a stay in a psychiatric hospital. If this prevents me from legally buying a gun, that is a price I am willing to pay. And no, I am not anti-gun either. I grew up around them, shot a .22 rifle from the time I was 12 and kept a loaded.38 Smith and Wesson snub nose revolver in my house for protection before I got married.
This is NOT a Second Amendment right issue. This is, and always has been, a public safety issue. Yes, there are cities such as Chicago which have strict gun control laws and still endure one of the highest crime rates involving weapons. Do you want to know why?
Congress, our representatives, have permitted loopholes in the background checks regulations for people purchasing guns at local gun shows. Just how hard do you think it is to get in a car and drive from Chicago to Texas to purchase as many guns as you wish, legally? Although somewhat more difficult, the same loophole applies to private purchases of guns from individuals. Until these loopholes are closed, guns are freely available to anyone who wants them anywhere in the country.
Already some people are saying that this is not the time to politicize gun control. If not now, WHEN?
For decades the NRA has been one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington D.C. They have funneled millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of senators and congressmen. But you have a weapon that is more powerful than their money. That weapon is your vote and your voice. Their money does no good if you do not support their candidates. In fact, you can turn if from an advantage into a liability for anyone seeking public office. Let your voice be heard that you will not vote for anyone who accepts their blood-stained money.
When one individual can attack members of Congress, nearly killing one of them, then the time to take action has come. How many more Sandy Hooks, Columbines, San Bernadinos, and Orlandos do we have to endure before people come to their senses? Waiting periods and background checks do not infringe on your right to bear arms. They simply, in a limited way, keep the rest of us safe from irresponsible and dangerous people.
Responsible gun owners have nothing to fear from stricter gun control laws. People who use guns to hunt animals have nothing to fear.
Only people who use guns to hunt other people fear gun control laws.
On this Sunday morning, let us pray that God will help us see the right and give us the will to do it.