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The Struggle Continues… By Sherry Cannon “Connecting the Dots”

The longer I live the more I understand, that what is often referred to as being political, actually has more to do with doing what is morally correct. Right-wing politicians implore us to not make these latest mass shootings political.  And their favorite talking point is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people;” and “a good guy with a gun, will stop a bad guy with a gun.”   

The mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX where nineteen 3rd and 4th graders and two teachers were massacred proved that not to be true.  Law enforcement from several agencies with guns was unable to prevent these killings. Not only did they not stop the slaughter, police officers did not attempt to engage the shooter for over 75-minutes.
This mass shooting occurred a week after the killing of 10 African Americans at a Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, NY.  That shooter was also approached by a good guy with a gun.  However, the good guy, retired police officer, and Top’s security guard, Aaron Salter’s bullets could not penetrate the shooter’s protective armor, and he was killed trying to stop that mass shooter armed with an assault-style rifle. 

Both of these mass shooters were teenagers, who made the decision to go on a killing spree.  When people as young as 18-years-old are able to legally purchase assault rifles, but cannot purchase a handgun, buy alcohol, buy cigarettes, or rent a car, there is something very wrong with this law.

A few days later, another mass shooter killed 4 people at a hospital in Tulsa, OK, before he killed himself.  He purchased an AR-15 rifle just a few hours before going to the hospital to murder the doctor, who he blamed for his chronic pain after having back surgery.

Mass shooters’ weapon of choice is the AR-15 rifle, a semi-automatic that can shoot 60 rounds a minute.  These guns have a higher muzzle velocity and bullets travel nearly three times the speed of sound, causing extensive damage to bones and organs. In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed a Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was scheduled to expire in ten years.  Under George W. Bush the ban was not renewed.  Mass shootings have doubled since the ban expired in 2004. 

Gun violence is a uniquely American problem, one that the American Public Health Association characterizes as a public health crisis. There are more than 200 million guns in circulation in the United States. According to data from the Gun Violence Archives, gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the United States, with 38,000 deaths annually. 

In 2012, when 26 people, 20 of them ages six and seven were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the majority of Americans supported common-sense gun laws. However, Republicans continue to resist any efforts to pass any type of gun control laws.

Instead, these Republican politicians spew worthless sentiments of sending thoughts and prayers to the victim’s families.

In 1996 Australia imposed an Assault Weapons Ban after a mass shooting.  That country banned all types of semiautomatic rifles and shotguns and spent $500 million buying up nearly 600,000 privately owned weapons. Australia’s ban was followed by nearly a decade free of fatal mass shootings. 

We have had 246 mass shootings this year, where at least 4 people were shot or killed.  In response to the exorbitant number of mass shootings in the US, the handgun market in Canada has been frozen. Canada’s Parliament is reviewing passing more stringent gun laws, including a mandatory buyback of some rifles.

After the Memorial Holiday, the House Judiciary Committee was called back from recess to hold an emergency meeting to work on a package of gun control measures called, “Protecting Our Kids Act.”  It would raise the age limit from 18 to 21 to purchase semiautomatic rifles, make it a crime to import or manufacture high-capacity magazines, and further tighten regulations around ghost guns and bump stocks.

A gun control bill will likely pass through the Democratic controlled House of Representatives, only to fail in the Senate, because of the filibuster rule. The filibuster rule requires 60 senators to vote yes before any measure can advance to a final vote.

The NRA and gun lobbyists have a lock on Republican politicians.  According to Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization the NRA has bankrolled the following Senators: Mitt Romney $13,648,000, Richard Burr $6,987,000, Roy Blunt $4,556,000, Thom Tillis $4,421,000, Marco Rubio $3,303,000, Joni Ernst $3,125,000, Josh Hawley $1,392,000, Mitch McConnell $1,267,000, and Ted Cruz $176,000. 

This is where we Connect The Dots. Everything from the day we’re born, until the day we leave this earth is political.  And it is politically expedient for Republicans to refuse to pass any type of gun control laws.  They do not want their voter base to be upset or their money train to dry up.

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan claims that the House Bill would just be a start to Democrats attempt to appeal the Second Amendment.  He also said law-abiding citizens would be punished by these laws, while these laws would do nothing to make our communities safer.  Another Republican Rep. Greg Steube, appearing virtually from his home, pulled out a number of pistols, claiming they would be outlawed under the Democrat’s gun control proposals.  Both of these politicians were lying.

The other side of the coin is, Voting is how we build power, and we must continue to Vote until we get what we need.  Voting is how we elect people that will institute laws that represent our interest.