Last week 10 people were gunned down at a Buffalo supermarket in what appears to be a racist attack. Yesterday, 19 children and two adults were murdered in a Texas elementary school. In both cases the killer was a young man with a military-style weapon that nobody outside of the military should be able to own.
In a piece of commentary more powerful than most, the Onion reuses the same headline after every mass shooting: “Nothing can be done about this, says only nation in which this regularly happens.”
The answer is as clear as it is impossible: with exceptions for police and military use, ban the manufacture, sale and possession of automatic weapons and handguns everywhere in America. If the Second Amendment is in the way of that, then repeal the God damned Second Amendment.
But that, of course, will not happen. In fact, it is almost a lock certainty that nothing at all will happen. It’s not that there isn’t plenty of public support for modest gun control laws, like universal background checks and red flag laws (over 70% of gun owners support those) but the age-old problem is that all of the passion on this issue is on the wrong side. Those who oppose even small, sensible steps are rabid in their opposition. They vote on that one issue alone, while the majority that favors some gun controls has a lot of other things on its mind.
That changes after incidents like this, but the gun lobby just runs out the clock, passions subside and the issue goes away until the next time.
The one thing that might change this time is that these murders happened relatively close to the November elections. Maybe, combined with the impending overturning of Roe v. Wade, this will be enough to motivate the Democratic base to turn out and moderate suburban voters to vote for Democrats. If the Dems could pick up enough seats in the Senate and hold the House, they could reform or remove the filibuster and pass some gun control laws. That is only a very remote possibility, but it is the only thing I can see that offers any hope at all.
Look, I’m a gun owner. I own a 30.06 deer hunting rifle and a shot gun. Weapons like that should remain legal because they are legitimate hunting guns. They could be used to kill people, but they’re not built for that. You could not kill 10 people in a grocery store or 19 kids in their classrooms with guns like these. Handguns (which are used mostly for suicides) and semi-automatic military style weapons have no place at all in our society.
No matter. As long as guns remain a senseless symbol of freedom to millions of rabid gun owners, nothing will change. This will happen again.