In less than a month America has endured three mass shootings and over 30 deaths. In each case an assault-style weapon was used. Once again the nation mourns the tragedies; once again we debate gun safety; and once again nothing will change.
I have heard too many times that the right to bear arms is a sacred right. That construction is part of the problem. The Second Amendment has been deified and guns are worshipped. Just where in the Bible does Jesus talk about guns? Elevating guns to a place of holiness makes any discussion of gun safety dead in the water. All constitutional rights have limits; the right to bear arms is no different. Yet any mention of, for example, universal background checks (supported by the majority of Americans) or a ban on assault-style rifles (majority support) will not pass the Senate.
Another frustrating argument by gun rights advocates is the trope, “it’s not the gun but the person who pulls the trigger.” Part of the problem is access to guns, especially assault-style rifles. If the Buffalo and the Uvalde shooters were restricted to handguns, the carnage would have been far less. If they could not have a bought their rifles, they would not have killed 29 people.
Another part of the problem is American culture. Anger seems to be our default emotion. Virtually any perceived slight or inconvenience can result in extreme outbursts — screaming, foul-language and dehumanizing name-calling. Why is it surprising that people harboring racist or other misguided beliefs would feel justified to use guns to address their perceived grievances?
America is the only country in which these mass shootings occur with unrelenting regularity (not forgetting the regularity of gun violence in the non-mass shooting category). I wish there was a simple solution to reduce this type of horror, but there is not for such a complex problem. I do know this: expressions of being heartbroken, sending thoughts and prayers, and setting up memorials do nothing. As long as we misinterpret the Second Amendment and worship guns, the carnage will continue.
Randolph L Mowry