America has a gun problem and NRA support isn’t helping solve this political issue | Local Columnists


Let’s deal with reality, not the National Rifle Association’s fantasy.

The all-too-frequent mass shootings, defined by the FBI as having four or more victims, have little to do with “mental problems.” According to the American Psychiatric Association, less than 4% of gun violence — that is all gun violence, not just mass shootings — is committed by people with mental illness. In fact, the association points out that the people with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims, not perpetrators, of gun crimes.

While our nation’s leader points to grisly and gruesome video games as one cause of the rising tide of violence, that is, to put it mildly, so much bullshit. The same video games are played in South Korea and India, European countries, Australia and many other places, yet those countries do not have anywhere near the number of mass murders as our country.

As to social media, there is absolutely no evidence that this communication leads to mass shootings, either.

Nope, it is all about ideology and guns, particularly the latter.

According to The New York Times, this country has about 4.7% of the world’s population. America has 47% of the world’s guns.

However, what makes this percentage so deadly is that the American people have access to the most efficient killing machines. The shooter in Dayton, Ohio, in 2019, for example, shot at least 40 rounds in 30 seconds. The person who killed 10 people in Boulder on March 22 used an AR-556 pistol, which uses the same ammunition as the AR-15 rifle.

That, then, is what makes the ideologically-challenged so dangerous. A vast majority of the mass shootings have been committed with an AR-15, an AK-47, or some other weapon designed for, and used by, the military. These weapons are not primarily used for hunting deer or rabbits or other game. These weapons have one purpose: to kill people.

To make matters worse, these guns can, and do, accommodate 25, 30, 50 or more rounds in the magazines, which allow them to fire whatever is in the magazine without reloading. The shooter in Dayton had a “drum” with a capacity of 100 rounds. That is important. If such weapons are banned and the magazines are limited to, say, 10 rounds or less, fewer people could be killed or injured by them.

There would still be individuals who would attempt to kill or injure, but the number would be vastly reduced. The reason is simple: A military-style semi-automatic, or automatic, rifle can be fired rapidly and create several killings and injure many. Not so with a hunting-style rifle. The typical .30-06 rifle or bolt action rifle simply cannot be fired rapidly. So, deaths and injuries would be minimized — not eliminated, but minimized.

As has been seen in Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Portland, El Paso and Dayton, and this past week in Atlanta and Boulder, these weapons are very good at accomplishing their purpose. Add it all up and hundreds have died and even more have been seriously injured since the assault weapons ban ended in 2004.

Since then, the response by our elected leaders has been to offer “thoughts and prayers.” “Cancun Cruz” called the reaction “theater.” While thoughts and prayers may be of some solace to survivors or family members, it is reactive and does nothing to prevent further mass killings. What is needed is something proactive, while keeping the reactive.

Stronger background checks? Sure. But that is just a baby step and one that is easily taken.

It is past time for studying the problem.

Now is the time for acting. It is time for our leaders to explain to the NRA that money and support do not buy their vote. The time is here when the citizenry is, and will continue to be, outraged by the lack of action by our elected officials. They need to make a choice. Act or get voted out. To put it in Missouri cleaned up terms: Do something, or get off the pot.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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