That’s how many days have passed so far in 2019.
That’s how many mass shootings there have been in America in those 153 days.
On Friday Virginia Beach surpassed in infamy Virginia Tech, Newtown, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, Aurora, and Pittsburgh for being the setting of the deadliest mass shooting this year in the United States.
According to United Nations (UN) data, the U.S. experienced 29.7 firearm homicides per 1 million people in 2012. By contrast, Switzerland experienced 7.7 million; Canada, 5.1 million; and Germany, 1.9 million.
The U.S. comprises about 4.4 percent of the global population but has 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. Empirical research proves settings where more guns are present increases the likelihood gun violence will ensue.
At a Democratic state convention in San Francisco on Saturday, Massachusetts Senator and presidential hopeful, Elizabeth Warren, stated:
“It’s not just mass shootings…on sidewalks and playgrounds and people’s backyards. It’s happening family by family across the country. And it doesn’t get the same headlines. And that is wrong.”
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker already has a comprehensive plan for gun control reform that includes licensing reform and a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, he said:
“We are not helpless to stop this. This is a uniquely American problem. We have carnage in our country that no other nation sees.”
“This idea that we are helpless to stop this, evidence points differently. We know that… licensing like Connecticut did, dropped gun violence in their state by 40%, suicides by 15%. We’ve allowed the debate to be framed by the corporate gun lobby which has… eroded common sense…enough is enough. We can do things about this problem. We know it. The only thing lacking seems to be a sense of moral urgency. But unfortunately after what happened in Virginia Beach, you see that growing.”
Those inclined to posit we are doing nothing about this epidemic of gun deaths should know that in February, the Democratic-majority House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (HR8) requiring background checks for firearms sold at gun shows and online, closing the loophole currently not requiring checks for private, unlicensed sales.
But did the Republican-controlled Senate even consider it?
Colorado Senator and 2020 candidate, Michael Bennet, summed it up on ABC’s This Week:
“We know what’s going to happen, which is the House has passed it, Mitch McConnell will not allow it to come to a vote in the Senate, and we will not have national background checks.”
Then there are those who naturally trot out the “Both sides are to blame” premise.
While it is true 26 House Democrats voted with Republicans against HR8, it is Democrats openly pushing comprehensive gun control reform.
White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney even admitted complacency when he told NBC‘s Chuck Todd:
“Let’s not get too deep into politics too soon. You’re never going to make everything perfectly safe, but we are doing a lot better on enforcement.”
Donald Trump didn’t even have the decency to pretend to care.
He showed up to a Virginia church this weekend for 15 minutes in golf clothes and said nothing to the shooting victims.
It seems our hope for stanching the raft of gun violence, at least for now, lies not at the pitiful Federal level, but with the states.
In the year since the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., 26 states have passed 67 new gun control measures, including those intended to prevent firearm access to domestic abusers, “at-risk” individuals, and those under age 21.
Virginia–the site of Friday’s massacre–however, didn’t seem to get the memo.
Is there ever actually going to be “#enough,” or is that just righteous rhetoric we reserve for hashtags?
Image credit: buckmire.blogspot.com