Yes, we must have better gun control

June 15, 2017

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

So, what do we do? Wednesday was another terrible day of gun violence in the nation. The events, which left a US Congressman and four others wounded in Alexandria, Va., and four UPS employees dead and two others wounded in San Francisco, had nothing to do with Donald Trump’s so-called “radical Islamist terrorists.”

The shooters, both killed, were home-grown folks.

Yet, what are we, as a nation, going to do to limit access to guns by people who are going to use them to kill innocents?

The shooting in Virginia came as House Republicans were practicing Wednesday morning for an annual charity baseball game that is going on as scheduled later today. US Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the majority whip, was wounded. So was a staffer for another member of Congress and a government affairs director for Tyson Foods. The heroes of the day were two US Capitol Police agents, who quickly responded to the shooter and, even though wounded, still managed to take him down.

The shooter died later from his wounds.

In San Francisco, a UPS worker opened up on his coworkers before taking his own life.

Guns.

Yet, Congress (and most states) refuses to tighten gun ownership laws, require more extensive background checks or even allow the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be able to undertake studies on gun violence.

Even the mildest proposals addressing gun violence are turned back.

US Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, a candidate for Attorney General Jeff Session’s former Senate seat, was at the practice session and told CNN that the gunman was holding what Brooks “described as a semi-automatic rifle in the area behind third base.”

The shooter, who the FBI has identified as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Ill., was a member of several online groups that took stances against Republicans and Trump, and he also served as a volunteer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Sanders, of course, has strongly denounced the shooting, as have Democrats, Republicans, and most everybody else.

There is no valid justification for either the shooting at the Republican baseball practice or the workplace shooting at the UPS site in California.

Still, there should be something – some step – we can take as a nation to limit such frequent gun violence.

How many more of these tragedies do we need before we’re motivated to act?

Or are we, as a nation, content to simply allow them to continue, undeterred, because we’re so wedded to our gun culture and the Second Amendment? Have we gotten used to so many innocent lives being taken in mass shootings and, yes, in individual shootings all across the nation?

Is this our normal?

It must not be. It must not ever be.

Nobody is arguing that guns ought to be banned. That will never happen. Guns are too interwoven into the country’s fabric.

But surely, something – some reasonable action, some reasonable idea – can eventually lead to lowering the level of gun violence in this increasingly violent nation.

 

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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