To the Gun People
When I say gun people, I don’t mean regular gun owners, who hunt or used to hunt or inherited their dads’ guns, or even have guns for target shooting. I’m referring to people who think everyone should be legally allowed to walk around with a loaded gun in Walmart, city sidewalks, or at the park. The people who get defensive every time someone mentions trying to keep guns out of the hands of young men like the ones who’ve been shooting up elementary schools at an ever-increasing rate. And the Republicans in congress who get paid by the gun industry to pass insane new open-carry and no-permit laws, right after they spent years telling us all they wanted to do was “enforce the laws that are already on the books.”
A study published last year by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine estimates that the 1994 assault weapons ban prevented about ten mass shootings in the decade it was implemented, and could have prevented 30 more if continued. While gun production tripled during the first 20 years of the new millennium, firearm-related injuries surpassed car accidents as the US’s leading cause of death, and mass-shootings ramped up in schools.
Since 2005, people have gotten pretty used to hearing about massacres in various settings, with 169 people dying in 14 of these mass-shooting events. The term “mass shooting” only refers to incidents that have four or more dead, not counting the shooter. And these 14 are just the mass-shootings carried out in schools, not even counting other places. These stats don’t count the Las Vegas concert sniper who picked off 60 people at once, the recent New York state grocery store mass shooting, or the ones in between.
I’m not great at deciphering non-verbal social signals or predicting what people are thinking or planning, but I distinctly remember knowing this assault weapons ban expiration was not going to age well. Unfortunately, I was right, and I bet a lot of you were too. Still, I understand that a lot of people didn’t realize at the time how bad it was to retire that law.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act signed by President Biden in June is historic in that it’s the first federal gun safety legislation written in almost thirty years. While it doesn’t undue to…