And still, we do nothing, drifting along as a leaderless ship as Republicans in power insist that all is well.
Oh, sure, President Donald Trump last week promised action, emphasizing the role that mental illness plays in mass shootings. But it must be remembered that Trump in 2017 revoked an Obama-era rule — which had not yet gone into effect — that would have made it more difficult for mentally ill people to purchase guns. And it must be remembered that there was a ban on assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 — until the law was allowed to sunset — and our civil liberties did not magically disintegrate.
The trope is that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. The absurdity of that claim is easily exposed. What if we said, “nuclear weapons don’t kill people; people kill people. So why should we care if North Korea has nuclear weapons?” Sounds silly, doesn’t it?
And yet the United States allows such arguments to take root in a society that has, by far, the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world. It is not a coincidence that we also have the highest rate of mass shootings and more than 30,000 gun deaths each year.
Of course, all of this is spitting into the wind. At least until we elect leaders who are willing take action instead of pretending that nothing can be done about it.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said last week that she would consider “red-flag” legislation preventing people deemed a danger from having firearms. “Inaction isn’t an option, and I’m willing to pursue any bipartisan solution that keeps firearms out of the hands of those in mental health crisis as long as it contains strong due process protections.”
Considering that Herrera Beutler in the past has received donations from the NRA, and that she received an A rating from the organization when it used to grade lawmakers, and that she has said she has no interest in banning assault weapons, we’ll take her recent concern with a grain of salt.
And we’ll wonder how long we have to keep asking if now is a good time to talk about the issue.