The recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in which 17 people were killed and 14 injured, reminds us of a gun violence epidemic in the United States.
In 2018 there have already been 18 school shootings in the United States – and it is only February.
Although I am not currently a gun owner, I have owned several guns in my life. I have nothing against gun ownership by trained, responsible gun owners. But the ease in which guns can be bought in this country by the general public has got to stop.
I point to Japan as an example that the U.S. should follow.
In Japan, those wishing to buy a gun must attend an all-day class, pass a written test, and achieve at least 95% accuracy during a shooting range test. Then, they have to pass a mental health evaluation done at a hospital, and pass a background check in which the government examines their criminal record and interviews friends and family.
In 2014, Japan had six-gun deaths, compared to 33,599 in the United States.
The current administration has called for teachers to carry guns as the remedy to the gun violence epidemic. I find great fault in this. A policy of more guns in schools is not going to decrease shootings.
In the 2016 presidential election, the National Rifle Association (NRA) contributed over $11-million to Donald Trump’s campaign. And the NRA’s attempts to influence politicians does not end in the White House.
Senator John McCain has received $7.74-million from the NRA. Senators Richard Burr, Roy Blunt, Thom Tillis, and Cory Gardner have received contributions of $3-million to $6.9-million apiece from the NRA.
Does it matter that all five of these senators are Republicans? I don’t know. But it’s a statistic worth noting.
Reasonable gun control laws shouldn’t be a matter of Republican versus Democrat. It should be a priority for all American citizens.
While thoughts and prayers can be offered to the victims of gun violence and their families, it does nothing to solve the problem. We the people, as a whole, need to make responsible gun ownership a priority.
Preventing further gun violence is the only fitting act of condolence that matters to those who have lost loved ones to these crimes.
We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it. We also shouldn’t be too proud to follow the examples of other countries who have more efficiently curbed gun violence.
Peace. Love. Trust.