Guns: Can America Finally Address this Epidemic?
Here we are at the end of 2018 without any change to gun policy in the United States. Where is the outrage?
In November 2017, a little over a month after the Las Vegas shooting, we asked “Where is the Outrage? A Call to End America’s Gun Epidemic.” Even though almost 60 people died in that massacre, with some 500 plus injured, Congress lost any momentum it had to regulate devices like bump stocks. America fell into its usual pattern after a shooting: shared grief, thoughts and prayers on social media, and calls for regulatory action that eventually fizzled out. Advocating for this status quo was the National Rifle Association (“NRA”), the primary lobbying group for all things guns, who stuck to their typical mantra: “do not give an inch on gun regulation, for if you do, the government will take a mile.” Accordingly, Congress could not agree on sensible regulation banning bump stocks, which were used in the Las Vegas shooting, permitting that shooter to fully automate semi-automatic rifles and mow down innocent people trying to enjoy a concert.
Shortly thereafter, 26 people were gunned down at the First Baptist Church, many of them women and children. President Trump sent a few tweets about mental health being the issue, and he even expressed thanks that someone was shooting in the opposite direction. These statements undermined the fact that current federal controls failed when the Air Force did not enter the gunman’s criminal record into a federal database, actions that could have prevented his gun purchases.
At the beginning of 2018, we asked the question again: where is the outrage? America had moved on from the gun debate. We stopped asking ourselves how we could prevent another mass shooting, and how we could make public places safer. Instead, Congress engaged in divisive immigration rhetoric that almost resulted in a government shutdown.
Now we all live with the consequences of the school shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, which left 17 people dead and many asking why this same story plays over and over again. Almost a month has passed, and already, the public can sense the same pattern playing out. In fact, the Florida Senate recently rejected a proposed ban…