Letter: Mass shootings
To the Editor:
When will we say enough to rampant gun violence and mass shootings? We are all complicit, from the president with his hate-filled rhetoric, to politicians in the pocket of the NRA, to people who offer only “thoughts and prayers.”
The carnage in El Paso and Dayton brought the number of mass shootings this year to 250, and every day there is another one somewhere in our country. A mass shooting is defined as a single attack in which four or more victims are killed.
Mass shooters have two things in common, the vast majority are white males, and have easy access to firearms. Although some display prior signs of mental health problems, the fact is that people with mental health issues are more often victims than perpetrators. Video games are blamed, but statistics show that Japan, which has the highest number of video gamers, has the lowest number of mass shootings.
Mass shootings are more common in the U.S. than other countries due to lax gun laws. Australia has not had a mass shooting since a massacre in 1996, when they banned firearms, and have tightly controlled their use since. New Zealand recently followed with a mandatory buy back program after the massacre in Christchurch.
In 1994, Clinton banned assault weapons and mass shootings dropped by 43 percent. In 2004, Bush let the ban expire, and mass shootings have risen over 230 percent. We must demand the assault weapons ban be reinstated. Five months ago the House of Representatives passed legislation mandating universal background checks and closing loopholes in the gun laws. Since then the Senate has refused to even consider debating these bills.
We the people must hold our elected officials accountable and take a more active role to protect our families, friends and communities from tragedy.