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Life’s a Beach: An American Crisis

Firearms


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Life’s a Beach
By Shelley Murphy

By Shelley Murphy

Last week, an article printed in this publication chronicled Mayor Pro Tem Gene James’ crusade to proclaim San Clemente a Second Amendment Sanctuary City (SASC).

The hollow declaration is without legal ramification and could compete with our Spanish Village by the Sea’s current claim of “world’s best climate.”

James is preying on the fear of gun owners who sense a threat to current firearm legislation. He’s predicting the United States may try to enact gun control measures like Australia did in 1996 after its worst mass shooting killed 35 and wounded 23 in Port Arthur, Tasmania.

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To this day, Australia’s quick and decisive action has helped prevent a second mass shooting.

On his quest to designate San Clemente a SASC, James opines, “I’m not changing my mind, I’m still going to proceed …” His statement embodies the reasonable and fair-minded thinking one expects from a politician.

Also, in the article, James revealed his telepathic gift when he stated, “The Founding Fathers and Framers saw this day coming and wanted us to be protected.”

Unless James can also provide the winning numbers for the Mega Millions jackpot, he should stop his self-serving prophesying rhetoric.

The Founding Fathers’ verbose wording is vague and allows for inference and interpretation by historians and scholars.

What constitutes “arms?” Could the Founding Fathers imagine their muskets and flintlock pistols morphing into semi-automatic assault weapons?

I urge James to journey from an era of 18th century idealism into that of 21st century realism.

Last year was one of the deadliest on record for the United States. According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, in 2020: Gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans; nearly 300 children were shot and killed—a 50% increase from 2019; and, on average, there was one mass shooting every 73 days.

The Denver publication Westword reports that since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, at least 284 school shootings have occurred in America.

Have we learned nothing from the murder of 12 students and one teacher more than 22 years ago? Or are we anesthetized to the madness and gruesome casualties count?

Considering the statistics, why wouldn’t parents pause before sending their children back to school post-pandemic? In America, gun violence occurs every day, and it’s far more deadly to our kids than COVID-19.

The day after the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter of 20 first-graders and six school employees, Shannon Watts began what would become Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America (MDA). The group fights for public safety measures to protect people from gun violence.

MDA is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country; it counts more than six million supporters, of which I am one.

Gun violence is preventable. And like any preventable harm facing my kids, I’ll do everything possible to keep my family safe. Yes, my kids did receive all childhood vaccinations, and I have their yellow immunization cards to prove it.

Instead of lobbyists, MDA relies on common sense; it’s a non-partisan group supporting sensible gun safety measures.

Despite fearmongers on the far right espousing otherwise, MDA advocates for responsible gun ownership.

MDA supporters show solidarity by sporting their signature red logo T-shirts at community outreach events. The National Rifle Association (NRA), the gun rights advocacy group founded in 1871, brandishes its camaraderie via snappy slogans.

The NRA markets merchandise to its supporters splattered with various rally cries, including: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

I disagree and concur with comedian Eddie Izzard, who says in rebuttal, “I think the gun helps. Standing there going ‘bang’ isn’t going to kill too many people.”

I oppose James’ campaign to declare San Clemente a Second Amendment Sanctuary City. Although I do agree citizens in our city have a right to be safe, especially our most vulnerable residents—children.

Thoughts and prayers are heartwarming, but they aren’t enough; we need actions and policies to disarm preventable gun violence. The city council will meet on June 1. June 4 is the seventh National Gun Violence Awareness Day. More information about the group can be found at momsdemandaction.org.

For more than 20 years, Shelley Murphy and her husband have lived in San Clemente, where she raised her two sons. She’s a freelance writer and has been a contributor to the San Clemente Times since 2006.

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