Will The New Law Be Able To Control Gun Lobby?

Gun culture has become the most daunting challenge for Joe Biden govt. The Gun lobby is super powerful, big companies are profitably selling weapons in the name of pride and hobby to citizens. In the United States, weapons have outnumbered the population in numbers and imbalanced the safety of society

By M R Dua

  • Due to the constitutionally sanctioned gun-holding freedom, 15,000 lives are lost every year
  • More than 2,15,000 students have experienced gun violence at schools in the country
  • The Second Amendment has made owning and bearing guns a fundamental right for all Americans
  • 90% of the Republican Party supporters favoured broad gun rights with minimal restrictive legislation

OWNING and keeping firearms is a constitutionally conferred fundamental right of the citizens of the United States of America. Besides the US, there are only two other countries in the world where people can freely buy and hold a pistol or a gun or other firearm. The people of Mexico and Guatemala have the freedom to buy, own and keep firearms. While permitting such rights might have been celebrated far and wide, however, very little thought was back then given when the rights were granted to the possibility of extremely horrendous consequences that could occur that the gun-owning liberties have resulted since then.

Till now the US has surpassed 200 mass shootings this year including a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that has killed 21 innocents including 19 children and a mass shooting in the bustling city of Chicago where 35 people were slain. These mass shootings have shaken not just the affected families and government, but have profoundly focused the attention on the richest and one of the most prosperous nation’s unique, but rather a veritable ‘gun problem.’

Recent research studies have revealed that nearly 57 percent more American teenagers are likely to die young as compared with children and teenagers in other advanced countries of the West. And guns are the reason

BALD FACT

Not just that, nearly 1,800 people were killed and some 500 wounded in over 1,600 other shooting incidents in the country in the same period. In Chicago alone, for example, 51 people were shot dead over Memorial Day, May 27 this year. However, it’s on record that normally, on average, 123 people are killed every month, and mass shootings account for about 4 percent of gun or other firearm violence in United States’s major cities and states such as New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Houston, etc. And because of the constitutionally sanctioned gun-holding freedom, 15,000 lives are lost every year.

Unfortunately, the bald truth is, and as experts opine, that all these lives could be rescued easily if a series of prudently framed rules and regulations were in place, strictly enforced, and clearly defining legally firearms and their ownerships-limits.

The moot question, therefore, obviously is what and why are adequate lawful systems and procedures not laid down to stem shootings? And, then we brand ‘America as the most advanced country in the world’. 

RED FLAG LAWS FOR GUN REFORM SAFETY

Red Flag Laws control and permit various police, family members, co-workers and others to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who they believe may be a danger to others or themselves

In the United States, citizens’ fundamental rights to buy, own and bear guns are sanctioned by the country’s constitutional Second Amendment adopted in 1791, as a part of the Bill of Rights, which provided a Constitutional check under Article 1, Section 8, to organise, arm and discipline the federal militia. The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right to people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Referred to in modern times as an individual’s right to carry and use arms for self-defence, the Second Amendment was envisioned by the framers of the Constitution as the “true palladium of liberty.” 

Guns

The Second Amendment also provided the state governments and also enshrined, “the principle of civil and military virtue by making every citizen a soldier and every soldier a citizen.” Later, the US Supreme Court held that self-defence was the central component of the amendment.”

Red Flag Laws are laws that control and permit various police, family members, co-workers and others to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who they believe may be a danger to others or themselves. Refusal to comply with the law/order is a punishable criminal offence. After a set time, the guns/firearms are returned to the person from whom they were seized unless another court order extends the period of confiscation.

Orders issued under ‘’red flag’’ laws, also called ‘risk-based gun removal laws’ are known by several names, including Extreme Risk Protection Orders in some states; and by different names in other states, the specifics of the laws, and the degree to which these are utilised, vary from state to state.

However, Flag Laws are to take action ‘’without trampling on constitutional rights intended to restrict potentially dangerous people rather than dangerous weapons. That approach is seen as more likely to attract bipartisan support than money and other gun control proposals. But the Democrats warn that ‘’red flag’’ laws may not be enough to meet the extraordinary prevailing situation of mass shootings in the country.’’

Besides, red flag laws are ‘state laws’ that authorise courts to issue a special type of protection order, allowing the police to temporarily confiscate firearms from people who are deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others.

Currently, 19 out of 50 states empower a judge to take away firearms. For example, in the state of Connecticut, 10 to 20 firearms are removed, and a life is saved. In California state, there have been 21 cases where a red flag law disarmed people threatening mass shootings. Bipartisan deliberations on this law’s final shape have not succeeded, this is a work in progress.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

There are very few answers to such a crying shame. Meanwhile, the greatest irony is that there are no direct clear answers. Perhaps the one strong, reasonably credible understanding is that it’s the lavishly-funded, hugely strong, eminently powerful and vigorously influential ‘Gun Lobby’, an organisation, namely the most gun-loving NRA – the National Rifle Association, headquartered in the far-off state of Virginia. No wonder, therefore, if the NRA’s mighty rulers may not even be aware of the horrible mass shootings in the rural town of Texas state, Uvalde’s elementary school where 19 innocent children and two teachers were mercilessly massacred in broad daylight by an 18-year-old young man. The entire country was stunned. But unfortunately, that is not the end. While this write-up was being finalised, news of yet another shootout in the state of Alabama appeared on the internet… And nobody knows how long this killing spree will continue. 

Meanwhile, a shared sense of anguish, pain and blame game keeps rolling endlessly, as mourners are fervently quizzing the authorities: ‘Why this? Why my child? Why the innocent kids?’ When the shared losses keep television screens aglow, numbing viewers’ senses now and then, uncomfortable questions keep piling up. There is no one to respond, though. Moreover, as new and fresh death news reports by firearms surface day in and day out, and unknown facts and figures pan out to display uneasy situations, common people’s sympathies for the victims prove short and soon run out. Only utter hopelessness is visible all over. 

20 million guns are sold in the country

Annually, nearly 20 million guns are sold in the country. It’s believed that American families procure more assault arms than the US army, which is a cause of concern

Recent research studies have revealed that nearly 57 percent more American teenagers are likely to die young as compared with children and teenagers in other advanced countries of the West. And guns are the reason. The findings of yet another survey divulge that ‘Americans ages 15 to 19 are 82 times more likely to be shot than similarly aged teenagers and themselves.’ 

According to an opinion study on the right to own guns, 52 percent said ‘absolutely’, while 46 percent ‘supported’ new restrictions on gun ownership. Incidentally, 79 percent of Democratic Party members backed the control measures. But 90% of the Republican Party supporters favoured ‘broad gun rights with minimal restrictive legislation.’

GUN SELLERS MINTING DOLLARS

About three lakh students have experienced gun violence in the last 50 years. In addition, 45,222 people died from gun-related incidents in 2020 alone, a 43 percent increase in a decade

While American people generally abhor firearms, particularly assault guns and handguns, because gun violence has, of late, turned out to be a major cause of death for children and adolescents in US schools. It has been authoritatively stated that nearly 2300 American children have fallen victims to gun violence in the last three decades in some form or other.  Yet another estimate has it that about three lakh students have experienced gun violence in the last 50 years. In addition, 45,222 people died from gun-related incidents in the country in 2020, alone -– a 43 percent increase in a decade.

The gun homicide rate in the US is said to be at least 25 times higher than in other high-income countries. There are an estimated 393 million firearms currently in the US. It has the highest rate of firearms deaths among the world’s wealthy nations – more than 20,900 people have been killed in gun violence in the US this year, according to Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit research group. In the last five months of the current year so far, 273 gun shootings have been reported. There were 692 mass shootings in 202 killing 704 people and wounding 2,839 others. On average, in one year, 10,300 firearms involving hate crimes are reported. These are mind-boggling American crime facts and figures rolled out by the FBI, year after year.

Though it’s hard to pinpoint one single source of America’s rather ‘infamous’ obsequious horrific gun culture and gun running to be the prime cause of umpteen fatalities in the United  States, year after year. But often almost all US handguns, assault firearms and heavy ammunition-making companies are jointly known as the ‘Gun Lobby’, are publicly, and have most frequently, been seen to be vehemently patronizing the Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP candidates for the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. Even the 2020 Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald John Trump, was also resolutely and uncompromisingly backed by the GOP – America’s the Grand Old Party.

The broad term, ‘Gun Lobby’, incidentally ‘encompasses efforts to influence both state and federal policy on guns, usually through supporting candidates who have pledged their opposition to the gun control measures.’ Such grandiloquent support for gunrunning and gun culture is massively (nearly 82%) opposed by the American people. The sole and perhaps the only argument in favour of allowing unrestricted firearms business in the US in the Constitutional Second Amendment.

In addition, National Rifle Association (NRA) members’ generous campaign donations and liberal funding of the GOP’s multifarious activities are too well known. Last year, NRA contributed $41.5 million during the GOP members’ poll campaigns, including providing financial and professional assistance to fight legal disputes on anti-gun issues filed by several civil, social and cultural organizations such as the Gun Owners of America, Daniel Defence, Firearms Policy Coalition, Urban Defenders, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, (Gun rights) ‘Shall Not Be Infringed’ – being the phrase used in the Second Amendment.

What’s now direly needed are stringent gun control laws: Demand Accountability from every aspect of the gun business and the gun laws.  The premier American gun violence prevention organisation: Firearms Accountability Counsel Task Force is a noteworthy example. It works with the nation’s preeminent law firms to challenge the Gun Lobby in courts and protect people’s most fundamental freedom — the Right to Live Peacefully.

Meanwhile, ironically, innumerable NRA-funded gun promotion societies have also been established. In addition, many gun manufacturers’ associations, and gun dealers’ independent GOP- sponsored outfits have been sprung up. Some of these include Everytown for Gun Safety, National Shooting Sports, National Shooting Sports, and the United States Concealed Carry Association. (This body supports making firearms that can be user-concealed so that the carriers of the arms legally go unrestricted.)

Yet another aspect of the overall gun business is that the gun lobby keeps pushing its radical criticism in interpreting and pushing support for constitutional Second Amendment provision for gun rights.

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, now in session in Washington, also prioritizes (anti-gun) legislation. As stated earlier in this article, currently a fierce debate is in progress as to how to bridle the mounting pace of murders. And as of now (June 22), no consensual total ban or a conditional control seems to be acceptable by the opposition, the Republican Party.  So much so that a Republican candidate for the US Senate in the state of Missouri has just (June 21) released ‘a violent new political ad. showing himself racking a shotgun, and his team armed with assault rifles…shouting–there’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.’ (The candidate named Eric Greitens is the former US Navy Seal responsible for Osama bin Laden’s capture on May 2, 2011, from Pakistan’s Abbottabad jail).

The fact is that open, interminable fear of open gunrunning prevails in the country even today. This 30 days after Uvalde (in Texas state) elementary school’s 21 children’s murder in the daylight. A child of that school writes in the June 21 issue of the New York Times: “What if a shooter comes to my school? What if it happens here? Will I be safe? What about my friends?… A parent of this child cries: ‘It’s happening everywhere… It keeps happening.”

Anyway, the American people perfervidly hope that the Supreme Court, which is currently hearing New York’s restrictions on people’s ability to carry guns in public and is also likely to rule soon on several other American states’ proposed restrictions on gun use. This ruling by the country’s apex court will pronounce a much-awaited judgement on people’s hope to curb and stop an intensively stinging prevalent murder sprees in the country.

Finally, America’s National Rifle Association, which is said to intimately support the GOP’s campaign on the so-called ‘safe gun use, with no restrictions at all on the sale and purchase of firearms. Because a free and uncontrolled sale-purchase of firearms business supports as a key to the manufacturers’ minting unaccounted millions of dollars.

As already stated, many restrictions do currently exist on guns and other firearms businesses. But these are not very stringent, and their transparent loopholes are believed responsible for hundreds of murders and deaths every year. A vast majority of Americans strongly affirm and strongly believe that there’s no reason that the loss of precious lives is allowed to continue any further. Gun laws indeed do save lives, but only if strictly enforced.

GUN LAWS PRACTICALITY

However, bipartisan support exists for ‘common-sense’ gun laws. The common-sense gun control measures included: 1. ‘universal background (criminal) check; 2. Ban on assault weapons; 3. Restrictions for ‘terror watch’ group; and, 4. those ‘no-fly’ listed. It is pertinent to point out here that a US constitutional Second Amendment, dating back to the year 1791, also provides a foundational text for gun rights advocates.’ That this many-decades-old amendment has survived till today amply proves that there is a huge solid majority that supports ‘fundamental rights to own firearms for self-safety.’

Though more than 8 million people have realised the enormously grievous impacts of gun violence and have joined the issue. But examining gun violence closely, one discovers that there are a plethora of issues that gravely influence the diverse sections of American society in multiple ways. Some of these include gun violence and police; gun violence and the public; hate crimes and guns; mass shootings and guns; child and teen gun safety; gun suicides; guns in school safety; and, last, the guns and domestic violence.

So, how to bridle this madness of mass shootings, particularly by the 18-year-olds? First of all, it has to be decided that there has to be guaranteed responsible ownership of the guns, and all other firearms. It should also be clearly defined: i) who should own and bear the guns; ii) gun access and ownership; iii) guns’ show and visibility in public; iv) keeping guns out of the wrong hands; v) ‘downable’ guns; vi) ‘ghost’ guns; vii) gun trafficking; viii) gun industry’s accountability; finally, funding for research on gun use, manufacture, sale and related issues.

The US states of Massachusetts, Texas and North Carolina have made granting gun permits easy

The US states of Massachusetts, Texas and North Carolina have made granting gun permits easy and simple. Responsible ownership can also be assured by providing safe readily available storage facilities

These are some of the moot suggestions that have been made by numerous research studies and defence firearms experts. Moreover, it’s time that government sources, schools, colleges and universities should frequently, soundly and convincingly debunk the delinquent statements such as: “I have a Second Amendment right to own and use a firearm.” In addition, as a write-up in the Washington Post warns, since ‘more than 2,15,000 students have experienced gun violence at schools in the country, there is an urgent necessity to take all possible strict measures to ensure gun safety in all academic institutions, especially all types of schools, right from elementary to university levels.

We should remember that school children are a nation’s most precious asset and a most invaluable holding that should be intimately, soundly and thoroughly protected from all forms of dangers of gun shootings, and all kinds of firearms. Thus, immediate steps to safeguard our future generation must be the need of the hour. To begin with, the concerned authorities should consider determining the minimum age ‘to buy or possess a gun.’ For example, both the young men responsible for deaths in the Buffalo (New York state) incident, and the Uvalde (Texas state) mass shootings were barely a few days above 18 years of age, the prescribed minimum age to own and bear arms.

But a question remains on the minimum age to buy guns. Should an 18-year-old be allowed to buy a semi-automatic rifle? In the last couple of years, California, Florida and Washington state have responded to the string of mass shootings by young men by raising the minimum age to buy certain kinds of rifles, such as the Bushmaster. Gun rights groups, meanwhile, have sued, calling this a violation of young adults’ Second Amendment rights. NPR.org states that last month,  a panel of three federal judges in California agreed, overturning the higher minimum age approved by the state last year. “There’s a big fight brewing over these restrictions on guns for 18, 19, and 20-year-olds because the courts are in the midst of a great expansion of Second Amendment gun rights,” says Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor, who writes about gun policy.  The author of the California law, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, says he hopes the state attorney general appeals the federal ruling. “It makes sense to appeal. This is a fight worth fighting, and again, look at what happened in Buffalo,” he says. “You have to be 25 to rent a car. You have to be 21 to drink. Why would we put a semi-automatic rifle in the hands of a teenager?”

US PRESIDENT SIGNS GUN LAWS

25 June will be considered historic to people of America as US President Joe Biden signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades

SATURDAY, June 25, 2022, will go down as a monumental day in modern history of the United States of America. It was on this day that the US President Joseph R Biden signed into law a partisan gun bill after nearly thirty years of bitter wrangling on some of its provisions bipartisan concurrence could not be arrived at. Prompted and moved by a nationwide hue and cry over two latest mass shootings incidents that claimed more than 30 precious lives, including 19 innocent school children, in the towns of the states of New York and Texas.Though the new legislation will not ensure foolproof safety, as Biden said, “the bill fell short of sweeping measures”, but these new provisions of the gun laws will act as a break in the mass shooting sprees in the country.

The Senate passed the bill 65-33 with 15 Republicans voting for the measure. All of the Democratic senators voted for the bill. The bill enhances background checks for gun buyers 21 years of age, provides billions for mental health services and closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole” to prevent convicted domestic abusers from purchasing a firearm for five years.  In addition, the plan provides $750 million in grants to incentivize states to start crisis intervention programs, clarifies the definition of a federally licensed firearms dealer and creates penalties for straw purchases and gun trafficking.  The passing of the legislation by both chambers brings to an end 30 years of Congress inaction regarding changes to federal firearms laws, despite a rise in gun violence and mass shootings across the nation. 

The new legislation is also significant because it is the first time in decades that the reforms have received support from both Democrats and Republicans. Before signing the bill into law, President Biden said he was present when previous gun legislation was passed three decades ago and stressed the importance of the legislation. Historically, efforts to strengthen US gun laws have been blocked by the Republican party. The National Rifle Association (NRA) opposed the bill, arguing that it would not stop the violence.  

ALARMING FINDINGS

Remember, as a research investigations tell us that ‘Americans ages 18 to 20 account for 4% of the US population, but 17% of those known to have committed a murder.’ It is only in a few states of America that the minimum age to own a gun is 21 years. But overall, only 17 out of 50 states limit the purchase of a handgun to those 21 or older, according to a reliable source. Believe it or not, the minimum age to buy a bottle of beer is 21 years. While another report says that ‘17 percent of all firearms offenders obtained guns legally, but they would not have been able to do so if their state-required handguns purchasers to be at least 21.’ Based on this rule, they would not have been eligible to buy firearms.

Be as it may, the fact remains that the 1968 US Gun Control Act does lay down some general and ordinary conditions and restrictions to buy guns and firearms. These are simple and it takes minutes to go through these checks to buy guns. However, some of the universal background checks include: asking orally: full name, place of residence, age, country and citizenship, and criminal record listed on the national crime information centre. However, denials for the sale of guns are ‘rare’, are less than 1%, according to the US federal bureau of investigation (FBI). But mental illness declared by a court, a conviction for a felony, unlawful use of or addiction to marijuana, narcotic drug, or being a fugitive from justice, and misdemeanour with sentences exceeding two years, are to be responded to by the purchasers to the satisfaction of the FBI office. However, 22% of firearms are said to have been purchased without any problems.

MAJOR MASS SHOOTING INCIDENTS IN US

To some, though, it may not be a new, unusual incident. For, just look at the unending stream of murders in different parts of the United States with massive deaths reported in the recent past
  1. UVALDE, TEXAS: MAY 24, 2022. 21 DEAD. Salvador Ramos legally purchased two guns in the days before the attack that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School. Ramos purchased two rifles just days after turning 18, the minimum age under federal law for buying a rifle.
  2. BUFFALO, NEW YORK: MAY 14, 2022. 10 DEAD. Payton Gendron legally purchased the Bushmaster XM-15 E2S used in the attack on Tops Friendly Market from a federally licensed gun dealer near his home in Conklin, New York.
  3. BOULDER, COLORADO: MARCH 22, 2021. 10 DEAD. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa bought a Ruger AR-556 pistol, a semi-automatic weapon with a capacity of up to 30 rounds. Ahmed was prone to sudden rage.
  4. SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: MAY 26, 2021. 9 DEAD. Samuel James Cassidy legally purchased the three 9 mm handguns he used to kill co-workers and then himself.
  5. ATLANTA: MARCH 16, 2021. 8 DEAD. Robert Aaron Long purchased a 9 mm handgun just hours before going on a shooting rampage at three massage businesses in Atlanta. He claimed to have a sex addiction.
  6. MIDLAND, TEXAS: AUG. 31, 2019. 7 DEAD. Seth Aaron Ator purchased an AR-style rifle through a private sale, allowing him to evade a federal background check, and fired it indiscriminately from his car into passing vehicles and shopping plazas.
  7. DAYTON, OHIO: AUG. 4, 2019. 9 DEAD. Connor Betts’ classmates said he was suspended in high school for compiling a hit list and a rape list, but authorities said nothing in his background prevented him from purchasing the AR-15-style pistol used in the shooting at Ned Peppers Bar.
  8. EL PASO, TEXAS: AUG. 3, 2019. 23 DEAD. Patrick Crusius bought an AK-47-style rifle and 1,000 rounds of hollow-point ammunition online before he walked into a Walmart store and opened fire, killing 23 people and injuring two dozen others, before confessing that he had been targeting Mexicans.
  9. VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA: MAY 31, 2019. 12 DEAD. Former Virginia Beach city employee DeWayne Craddock opened fire on a municipal building, killing twelve people.
  10. THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA: NOV. 7, 2018. 12 DEAD. Ian David Long, a former Marine machine gunner who served in Afghanistan, used a legally purchased pistol in the shooting.
  11. PITTSBURGH: OCT. 27, 2018. 11 DEAD. Robert Gregory Bowers carried a licence and legally owned handguns, which he used to kill Jew worshipers at Tree of Life synagogue.
  12. SANTA FE, TEXAS: MAY. 18, 2018. 10 DEAD. Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student, used a shotgun and handgun that his father purchased legally and attacked his high school. He killed eight students and two teachers. 
  13. PARKLAND, FLORIDA: FEB. 14, 2018. 17 DEAD. 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, murdering 17 people.
  14. SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, TEXAS: NOV. 5, 2017. 25 DEAD. The gunman was a domestic violence convict and had purchased weapons locally. Devin Patrick Kelley’s history of domestic abuse barred him from buying guns, but he was able to because information about his crimes was never entered into a federal database.
  15. ORLANDO, FLORIDA: JUNE 12, 2016. 49 DEAD. Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old man, killed 49 people and wounded 53 more in a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub. Orlando Police officers shot and killed him after a three-hour standoff. Omar purchased an AR-15-style rifle, a Sig Sauer MCX, and a handgun from a licensed dealer before the Pulse nightclub attack. 
  16. LAS VEGAS: OCT. 1, 2017. 60 DEAD. Stephen Paddock purchased 33 of the 49 weapons found in his hotel room and at his homes in the year before he opened fire on a country music festival. Sixty innocents were killed in concert by a lone young man, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
  17. SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA: DEC. 2, 2015. 14 DEAD. A mass shooting and an attempted bombing occurred at the Inland Regional Center. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple living in the city of Redlands, targeted a Christmas party of about 80 employees in a rented banquet room. 14 people were killed and 22 others were seriously injured.
  18. ROSEBURG, OREGON: OCT. 1, 2015. 10 DEAD. Christopher Harper-Mercer legally purchased the handguns and rifles used in the Umpqua Community College shooting. A 26-year-old student fatally shot an assistant professor and eight students in a classroom. Eight others were injured. After being wounded, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. The mass shooting was the deadliest in Oregon’s modern history.
  19. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: JUNE 17, 2015. 9 DEAD. All African Americans were killed by a White gunman – Dylann Roof, during a Bible study session. A drug arrest should’ve prevented Dylann Roof from purchasing the pistol he used at Emanuel AME Church, but a record-keeping error and background check delay enabled the transaction to go through.
  20. WASHINGTON: SEPT. 16, 2013. 12 DEAD. Aaron Alexis, a former reservist turned civilian contractor, legally purchased the shotgun used in the Washington Navy Yard shooting despite recent mental health treatment and a history of violent outbursts.
  21. SANDY HOOK SCHOOL, NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT: DEC. 14, 2012. 26 DEAD. Adam Lanza used his mother’s weapons, including a .223-calibre semi-automatic rifle, in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 
  22. AURORA, COLORADO: JULY 20, 2012. 12 DEAD. A mass shooting inside a Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. Dressed in tactical clothing, James Holmes set off tear gas grenades and shot \o the audience with multiple firearms. Twelve people were killed and 70 others were injured, 58 of them from gunfire. It was the deadliest shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. James Holmes was receiving psychiatric treatment when he legally purchased the weapons. 

The funniest situation is that despite all these checks in place, more Americans have died from guns – including suicides, murders and accidents – than in all the wars in the US history, including suicides, murders and accidents – than in all the wars in the US history, going back to the American Revolution: An unparalleled black mark on the United States as the richest and the mightiest nation in the world! Therefore, the immediate task should be that the US dislodges the stigma of recording a 45,000 gun-based annual toll, which is sadly more than that of any nation in the world. 

Meanwhile, although the Second Amendment has made owning and bearing guns a fundamental right for all Americans, it does not necessarily mean that all Americans should have the freedom to run riot and kill their own fellow Americans with the guns that their fundamental rights have made them own. Moreover, a pragmatic possibility is that if permits and licences can be issued for purchasing, allowing liquor, hunting knives, tobacco, and along with many other deadly products that are made available, then why not for firearms?

Besides, there are vast possibilities for yoking logical, acceptable, and practical devices to make owning and keeping guns feasible for all and any American. For example, making licensing compulsory, just like owning an automobile. The American states of Massachusetts, Texas and North Carolina have made granting gun permits easy and simple. Responsible ownership can also be assured by providing safe readily available storage facilities. Individual states can control gun trafficking, ghost guns, ‘downable guns’ from the internet and other online facilities to supply guns.

The mass shooting spree in America

With the new GUN laws in place, one can hope the shooting sprees will be persuaded to rest in America

The gun-making industry needs to function under strict state control and vigilance. Annually, nearly 20 million guns are sold in the country. It’s believed that American families procure more assault arms than the US army, which is a cause of concern. Young boys and girls with an interest in civilian marksmanship should be prudently, caringly cautioned against firearms as they grow up to their 18th birthday, and even beyond. Finally, theNational Rifle Association (NRA) members pursue all varieties of political faiths, but majorly the Republican.

The Republican Party members of both the houses of Congress have agreed to legislate ‘Red Flag’ rules with limited restrictions on buying firearms. It will be a big day for the United States if and when these laws hit the legal books of the nation. It’s learned that while these laws will not be fully able to meet the American people’s current fever to own and bear firearms, we can say: Well begun is half done. With these new laws in place, one can hope the shooting sprees will be persuaded to rest. 

M R DUA

The author was a professor and head of print journalism at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, for nearly two decades. He also taught journalism at different universities in California, Calicut, and Chandigarh. He was editor of publications, Union Labour Ministry. He was also director of JIMS, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, and Institute of Media, Gurugram. He has authored five books on media issues. His writings have appeared in national newspapers, magazines, and media research journals in India and USA.

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