If there were killers wandering America, randomly shooting kids in their classrooms, stalking our sons and daughters on their high school and college campuses — and if the government refused to help — surely we would rise up and march on Washington, demanding action.
If the shameful toll of gun violence in our country is any indication, it is time to rise up, in fact way past time. Every day in America, some 30 people are murdered and some160 are wounded by gunfire, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How many deaths does it take?
There are killers out there, people who use guns to lash out at real and imagined enemies. We all know the rap of the National Rifle Association folks: Second Amendment rights are sacrosanct; guns don’t kill people; better enforcement of existing gun laws would solve the problem. This mantra is repeated ad nauseum, stonewalling any effort to pass reasonable laws that would keep guns out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill. The self-evident fact: The catastrophic number of shootings and killings on our streets, in our homes and in our schools demands a change in the law.
For the love of our children, we need to move beyond bumper sticker thinking. Guns don’t kill people, indeed. Guns do kill people when they’re in the hands of people who buy them without background checks, people who may be delusional, and people who may have a history of criminal behavior. Guns kill people when anyone with a few dollars can buy a gun illegally but easily on the streets of any American city.
Since the Newtown school shootings in December 2012, in which 20 first-graders and six adults were killed, there have been other school shootings across the country, some 24 incidents that have taken 17 lives, according to an investigation by the Daily Beast. And that’s just in our schools. Kids shoot other kids all the time. The New York Times reported last week that a 4-year-old Michigan girl found a gun under a bed in her grandfather’s house and shot her 4-year-old cousin to death.