Society should never accept mass shootings
I read with horror Rod Watson’s recent column, “Another gun law? Just one more for madmen to ignore.”
Watson doubts that semiautomatic weapons can be outlawed because they are popular. However, the Supreme Court has held that the right to bear arms is not unlimited. So, yes, these weapons and high-capacity magazines could legally be banned or greatly restricted as they are in New York and other states.
The rate of Americans killed or injured by mass shooters who used guns or ammunition magazines previously prohibited by the Assault Weapons Ban of 1996 has tripled in recent years. Mass shootings are aberrations in the discussion of gun violence awareness – self-defense gun usage is virtually non-existent and the mentally ill are more often victims of violence than perpetrators.
The reality is that almost 1,500 children (under 18) die from gun violence every year in our country and children in “gun-friendly states” die more often. Another 6,900 are injured. Fifty-three percent of these are homicides, 38 percent are suicides and 6 percent are unintentional firearm deaths.
Watson’s scenario of being confronted by “three or four thugs” is a line right out of the NRA handbook. It’s also a scenario right out of a “Dirty Harry” movie. Watson might as well ask what to do if confronted by a helicopter gunship or aliens from space.
But to respond to his premise, I absolutely refuse to live in the world that he proposes – one where “we’ll just have to live – and occasionally die – with mass shootings.”
Upstate Coordinator, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
Member, Stop the Violence Coalition Buffalo