Last week the NRA unleashed its attack dog John Lott to explain to the American people why more gun laws don’t do anything to curb gun violence. And what was his proof? The fact that Dylann Roof killed all those folks in a Charleston, SC church with a legally-purchased Glock. And since background checks can’t predict whether someone who passes a check will then go on a rampage, and since everyone knows that criminals don’t obey laws, what’s the point of burdening all those law-abiding gun owners with more laws and regulations that keep them from enjoying their guns?
I’ll tell you the point. Laws work. And the reason they work is that every, single gun that gets into civilian hands first got there because of a legal, regulated sale. And if every transfer of a gun thereafter had to go through some kind of regulated exchange, don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why, but fewer guns would get into the ‘wrong hands.’ And if you don’t believe me, just take a look at the cogent and well-articulated piece in The Trace by Evan DeFilipis and Devin Hughes which explains, how gun laws reduce gun crimes.
Asking our lawmakers for proper and effective responses to gun violence will be the centerpiece of a national, community-based effort led by Everytown on July 10. They have created a series of public events in communities around the country with the most appropriate theme – Whatever It Takes. Some of the events will be fashioned around the general issue of gun violence; others will be remembrances of specific events; others will focus on convincing public officials that work remains to be done.
In Asheville, NC, there will be a meeting to remember the horrendous Virginia Tech massacre that killed 32 people in 2007, including a student named Julia Pryde, whose father will speak at the event. Raleigh, NC will be the site of a gathering to honor Kim Yaman, a survivor of the 1991 University of Iowa shooting , and at Hilton Head, SC, a group will remember 17-year old Dominique Xavier Milton-Williams, who was killed at Coligny Beach on July 19. A contingent will be in DC, of course, to present the case on Capitol Hill, and a group will visit the Nashua, NH office of Senator Kelly Ayotte who voted against expanding background checks after Sandy Hook but then pretended she voted for background checks when, in fact, she voted for a Republican-backed substitute bill that didn’t expand NICS checks at all.
September 11 will mark the 14th anniversary of the Twin Towers attacks, a day which, between the Trade Center, Pentagon and Shanksville, America lost 2,996 souls. A moment none will ever forget. Know how many Americans have been killed by gunfire in the last fourteen years? Try 470,000 and I’m undercounting by more than a bit. Know how many combat deaths we suffered in both World Wars, Korea and Viet Nam? About 50,000 less.
So there’s every good reason to mark these gun deaths tomorrow or any other day. In fact, perhaps Everytown should get some like-minded Senator or Congressman to introduce a bill that would officially mark Gun Violence Day every single year. And if the NRA, the gun industry and simple fools like John Lott want to tell you that none of these killings would have occurred if everyone was walking around with a gun, they can all lay brick. It’s time for honest people who put human life above childish self-defense fantasies, come together and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should say Everytown didn’t coin the phrase ‘whatever it takes.’ It was actually first said by the father of slain TV journalist Allison Parker, who now knows first-hand the pain which comes from losing a loved one to this terrible state of affairs. Let’s help him and everyone else who somehow go on living even though their lives have been shattered by a gun. Time to get it done.