EDITORIAL: Mass shootings aren’t inevitable. Gun violence is the choice of a nation deluded by the gun industry and its toadies 

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People grieve during a candlelight vigil on a corner near the site of a weekend mass shooting at a gay bar, late Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The biggest misconception about the epidemic of mass shootings and gun violence is that Americans are forced to suffer this scourge.

In reality, we choose this nightmare.

Most Americans live under the illusion that the calamity of more than 600 mass shootings this year, and every year, is inevitable.

Despite what gun rights activists and lobbyists profess, the United States can reduce gun violence of all kinds.

There would be no greater tribute to those killed and maimed last week at Club Q in Colorado Springs, earlier in Uvalde, Texas or a decade ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School and during the Aurora theater shooting than to finally act as a nation to stem this national tragedy.

Like a growing number of American communities, the hindsight of Aurora victims is crystal clear: America should have acted before, but we must act now — and we can.

The once-honorable National Rifle Association has evolved to become a ruthless political arm of the nation’s $71-billion-a-year gun industry, an economic impact estimated by National Shooting Sports Foundation. The clear focus of the NRA and, locally, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, is to ensure the easy and prolific procurement, use and sale of firearms and ammunition. Over the past few decades, the NRA and others have deviously woven a gun-rights mythology with fierce patriotism.

There is nothing patriotic about turning firearms on fellow citizens about 80,000 times a year.

Americans are the unwitting subjects of a vastly expensive and relentless marketing scheme coupled with an ocean of money spent annually on ensuring compliance from obedient and fearful members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike.

The NRA mythology is pegged on equating the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, guaranteeing free speech, with the Second Amendment, preserving the ability of citizen militias to help defend the nation against foreign invaders. They have worked tirelessly to persuade Congress and voters that there should be no regulation of firearms in the same way there is virtually no regulation of speech.

The result is a chaotic free-for-all where about 80,000 Americans are killed or maimed each year by firearms. We are killed and wounded by guns at a rate that is 25 times higher than any other developed democratic nation. It is our nation’s biggest embarrassment and preventable tragedy.

Just hours after the Club Q massacre, as newspaper and TV cameras poked in the face of Americans just like they’ve done after every other American mass shooting, people said they had little hope anything would change. Offering thoughts and prayers, many say these massacres are simply the price we pay for our Second Amendment freedom.

It is hard to fathom anything more un-American than that cynical despair. This is the nation that has conquered the Moon, slavery, Nazi Germany, polio and even Donald Trump. We can and must find remedies to this deadly nation scourge.

First, we must compel our elected officials to review and decide gun legislation on its merits and not under the crushing political weight of the NRA and other gun-industry lobbies.

Their decisions must be in our interest, not that of the NRA and the gun industry.

Second, we must allow the Centers for Disease Control and other U.S. agencies to freely conduct firearms research, analysis and policy development. Currently Congress limits this, as directed by the NRA.

Third, all firearms must be registered and licensed, and all purchases must include a background check. The licensing must at least parallel what we demand to license cars and drivers. Scholars have long agreed this is possible under the Second Amendment, even after controversial recent Supreme Court rulings. It’s just been banned by the NRA for years. Annual licensing could ensure training, safe storage and even a medical exam to help detect dangerous mental illness. Licensing would greatly help to reduce the number of weapons legally and illegally carried and used by gangs and other criminals.

Fourth, Congress must vastly reduce the quantity of firearms and ammunition now easily purchased and legal that is nothing less than weaponry designed and needed only for military application. Large quantities of firearms and ammunition should warrant review the same way we require review of large quantities of any lethal substance or device.

We must reject the ludicrous arguments from gun-activists that, in the words of GOP Colorado Rep. Ken Buck, popular assault rifles are just rural farm implements used to kill bothersome raccoons. 

For those who faithfully believe they need military weaponry to protect themselves against an attack by our own government or by foreign agents, we suggest psychiatric care, not military weaponry. The U.S. military and our state militias are not shorted any weapon to ensure our defense. All other arguments are nothing but NRA deflections and fatuous complaints.

For those who insist these and other measures won’t reduce gun violence and mass murders, the dozens of free, Democratic nations across the globe that protect the rights of hunters and sportsmen and reasonably regulate firearms are proof that it can be done.

Start now.

 

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Don Black
Don Black
2 months ago

I will agree that there are many gun control measures that should be passed. The majority of of people agree that some steps should be taken to at least control and follow who gets a weapon. While you are at it, take a close look at the Police Reform Bill here in Colorado that destroyed any effective law enforcement. If you don’t want everyone feeling they need a gun, then you need to be realistic about police protection.

Doug
Doug
2 months ago
Reply to  Don Black

You’re unhappy with holding police accountable, we understand.

DICK MOORE
DICK MOORE
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Your complete lack of understanding the problems and complexities of the City of Aurora never ceases to amaze me, Mr. King.

Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
2 months ago

Once again Perry is looking through the wrong end of the periscope and completely ignores the pathology that permeates inner city culture and the illicit drug industrial complex. What is this going to do to keep illegal guns from changing hands? How does he put the genie back in the bottle? How about focusing on who is pulling the trigger? Start there.

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
2 months ago

By “inner city” you of course mean “black people”.

And we all know that shooter at Club Q was black “inner city” and doubtless high out of his mind thanks to conservative lies the “illicit drug industrial complex”.

Evidence, how does it work?

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

Without gang violence, the US would have European levels of gun crime.

And if you know what a dog whistle sounds like, Jeff, that means you’re a dog.

GeneD
1 month ago

We have over 125 gun deaths daily, about 45,000 a year, of these, for whites most are suicides, for black and brown folk, most are homicides. These are not crimes (unless you count the crime of the cost to humanity of these lost lives), but they all have one thing in common: a gun.

How many deaths by firearms would be an okay number for you?

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago
Reply to  GeneD

You’re just as likely to die in a drunk driving wreck as you to be killed by someone with a firearm, Gene. About 80,000 people a year die from alcohol-related causes.

How many deaths from alcohol would be an okay number with you?

Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

Are you seriously suggesting the “problem” is people like this unstable white man? I’m not coding language here. I’ll say it loud for those in the back.

The evidence indicates young black men are vastly overrepresented in the commission of violent crimes. Against other young black men usually. They’re called gangs, and juvenile minority men are recruited specifically to work their drug trade.

But that’s not the reality you want, is it? Evidence is easy.

Doug
Doug
2 months ago

“focusing on who is pulling the trigger” too late. Has to be before that. That trigger puller should not have had access to begin with.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

“Minority Report” was a fictional story, Doug.

GeneD
1 month ago

More guns than people is fact.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago
Reply to  GeneD

This isn’t a refutation, Gene.

DICK MOORE
DICK MOORE
2 months ago

I wonder if anyone out there tell me what a “toadie” is defined to be? Seems like a journalist would use words in a headline that any reader would understand.

Anyway, for real, I’m looking for an accurate definition, anyone really know and want to educate me, please?

Never mind, google knows. I got it.

Got your latest email Dave. My over/under for your Aurora Sentinel blog is still 12/31/2023. I continue to take the under.