If the shooting of one of their own–Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords–and the murder of 20 six-year-olds did not move lawmakers, certainly the dead at Umpqua Community College last week will not pry Congress out of the gun lobby’s cold dead hands.
After the first graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, federal lawmakers still thought universal background checks and an assault weapons ban were too extreme. Even an amendment “to increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking” was too extreme for lawmakers and was defeated after Sandy Hook.
The Oregon shooter, like 10 recent mass shooters, was a legal gun owner amassing an arsenal of lethal weapons as the gun lobby says he has the “right” to do. Like the Sandy Hook murderer, the Oregon shooter also had a gun extremist for a mother who took him shooting. Nice. She was reportedly obsessed with the Second Amendment and government “confiscation” of guns.
At NGVAC, where we have lost loved ones because of loose gun laws, we deplore two lies that surface after every mass shooting–that the “real problem” is mental illness and that “no laws” would have stopped the bloodshed. Every country in the world has mental illness but they don’t have weekly shootings and–every developed country has enacted laws to prevent such mass shootings.
There has not been one mass shooting in the United Kingdom since strong gun laws were passed after a shooting in Dunblane in 1996 in which 16 children and one teacher died. The same is true in Australia where strong gun laws were passed after a 1996 mass shooting at a popular tourist site in Port Authur in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded. Before the Australia laws there had been 13 mass shootings; afterwards none.
As our military installations, media members, churches, movie theaters, restaurants, stores, offices, factories, schools, colleges, national parks and US highways are under siege and Congress won’t act, we have asked President Obama to declare a state of emergency. He declared a state of emergency in 2009 when the H191 flu hospitalized 20,000 people and killed 1,000. Guns cause 10,000 homicides, 70,000 injuries, 18,000 suicides and 2,000 accidental deaths a year in the US.
A state of emergency can be declared when the government lacks the procedures and capacity to address an unchecked natural or man-made public health epidemic. Clearly, that describes the US situation now as everyone waits for the next Aurora, Charleston, Chattanooga, Roanoke or Roseburg.
PLEASE SIGN THE NGVAC PETITION FOUND HERE.