Your turn: Gun violence in America — a bottomless pit of grief
America is knee-deep in the blood of the innocent.
By the twenty fourth day of January 2023, there had been forty mass shootings (mass shooting tracker.org). Outstanding to me, as I have written about gun violence over the years, has been the fact that the number of mass shootings almost always changes by the time an article appears. This time, the numbers changed from 38 to 40 within 24 hours, due to shootings in California.
As common citizens, I think we feel helpless to change this ever repeating scenario of gun violence, to cure this sickness, to pull the families of victims and the country as a whole out of this bottomless pit of grief. We live with the specter in our everyday lives because the gun lobby has America in a headlock.
There are legislators who care about our safety and there are legislators who do not. Those who do not, are willing to sacrifice American lives in schools, in the grocery store, in synagogues and churches, at Fourth of July parades, and anywhere else so that their constituents can own all the guns they want, with few restrictions.
Through inaction, these legislators sacrifice children in school, people targeted in hate crimes and anyone who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
McNamara:Strengthening Illinois gun laws will lead to safer communities
People are collateral damage in a scenario where the Second Amendment is worshiped on a delusional level. There is a manufactured nightmare where government officials go door to door taking people’s firearms. Common sense gun law advocates are not out to take people’s handguns or hunting guns.
My uncle, a Marine veteran, lives in the Ozark Mountains where he frequently encounters grizzly bears. He once killed a water moccasin with a shotgun as it was striking. He needs a gun. I wouldn’t think of telling him otherwise. But he will be the first to tell you that no civilian needs an assault weapon.
Assault weapons are a deadly plague on our sense of freedom and safety.
The original Federal Assault Weapons Ban was passed as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. In 2004, the ban expired. Data shows an almost immediate – and steep – rise in mass shooting deaths in the years after the ban expired. (theconversation.com).
While some common sense gun legislation has been passed in the years following Sandy Hook and the months following Uvalde, a national assault weapons ban is still needed.
“Congress passed the first federal gun safety law in 30 years in June 2022 to tighten background checks and offer ‘red flag’ grants for states that allow families and police to try to keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous people before they commit violent acts.” (Dec. 13, 2022 NBC News article by Sahil Kapur-Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence).
The Protect Illinois Communities Act, banning the sale and distribution of assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and switches in Illinois, was passed by the Illinois House and Senate, and it was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker on Jan. 10, 2023.
This is an important step in protecting citizens and yet some sheriffs in Illinois say they will not enforce the act and a judge in Effingham County has temporarily blocked enforcement of the act. The judge said that lawmakers showed “blatant disregard for Constitutional Law”.
Clearly, the biggest problem is blatant disregard for our lives.
Paula Coulahan, of Rockford, is a lifelong educator and member of Moms Demand Action and EveryTown for Gun Safety.
This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Your turn: Gun violence in America — a bottomless pit of grief