We have had enough. We struggle to find the right words. We simply cannot understand the insistence by gun advocates that civilians need access to automatic weapons fortified by high-capacity magazines, with the ability to kill dozens of people in seconds. Nor can we accept the argument that the entitlement to tools of mass destruction is somehow guaranteed to every American by the Second Amendment. The frailty of the gun lobby argument needs to be exposed and rejected.
On May 24, an 18-year-old gunman murdered 19 elementary school-aged children and two teachers and injured 17 others at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The story is painfully familiar. Nearly 10 years ago a 20-year-old gunman murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Since then, mass shootings have taken the lives of more than a thousand people at shopping centers, places of worship, festivals and more.
Each incident is followed by public outcries, hand wringing and crocodile tears by our elected leaders, who then do nothing to stop the mayhem. Mass murder has been normalized in our country — complete with a practiced communal ritual: First, there are calls for thoughts and prayers for the dead and their grieving families. Then the media reports on how the families are trying to make sense of what happened. That is followed by government leaders who decry the senseless violence and express empathy and outrage, along with talk of common-sense gun reform and the need for mental health counseling. And then, nothing happens.
Sometimes, like in the Uvalde case, we hear the lame-brained suggestion from gun defenders to arm teachers and other school staff so that they can defend against attackers. But no one explains why teachers should be able to fight off a gunman when local police aren’t able to do so, or how teachers and school administrators can be expected to defend against a mentally unstable bad guy who is armed for war. The Uvalde gunman legally bought two assault rifles just days after his 18th birthday. Why does a civilian teenager need an assault rifle, or any other weapon of war or of mass murder?
Shortly after the Uvalde shooting, Congress went into recess. But a couple of senators stuck around to discuss possible bipartisan gun legislation during the recess. Preliminary reports suggest that some progress is being made. But talk without action is useless. We therefore encourage our readers to call or write to our representatives and senators to insist that they not let the issue of sane gun laws fall by the wayside. And, in the process, see whether any of our elected officials can explain where in the Second Amendment a teenager is guaranteed the right to own assault rifles and other weapons of mass destruction.
We must insist that our representatives legislate sanity and limit the availability of weapons of war to those fighting wars. We need gun laws that make sense.