As the U.S. continues to struggle over gun violence, it appears that America’s love affair with the wild, wild west, where vigilantism and gun violence were rampant and romanticized has simply modernized and nationalized. We have regressed from using rifles and six-shooters in barely settled western towns to living in a nation where anyone can be killed or maimed at any time by assault weapons legally obtained by people on terror watch lists or toddlers pulling mommy’s handgun out of her purse and shooting her to death.
The real question, of course, is why 21st century American gun policy appears stuck in the 19th century. The latest polling data shows that a majority of Americans want more gun control:
- 55% favor stricter gun controls;
- 92% favor universal background checks that will forbid gun sales to those convicted of felonies;
- 54% favor a ban on the manufacture, sale and possessions of semi-automatic assault weapons;
- 54% favor a ban on the sale and possession of equipment known as high-capacity or extended ammunition clips;
- 87% favor banning convicted felons from possessing guns; and
- 85% favor preventing people on the U.S. terrorism or no-fly list from owning guns.
Yet, despite mass shooting after mass shooting from Sandy Hook to Orlando and countless tragic places in between, our dysfunctional Congress refuses to pass any meaningful gun control legislation. Worse yet, there are legislators who continue to propose legislation that would make gun possession more likely.
Contrary to any reasonable pro-business, local control ideology, a Wisconsin Republican state representative Bob Gannon is responding to the Orlando massacre by proposing legislation that would hold business owners liable for triple damages if they ban weapons in their business, but someone is shot there. Hopefully, this piece of retrograde legislation will be soundly rejected. However, the sad reality is that the United States will never change its gun laws until voters make gun control a deciding factor when they cast their votes.
The late, great disability advocate Justin Dart was well known for his saying, “Vote as if your life depends upon it, because it does.” In the case of reasonable gun control legislation, he was exactly right. In November, and in every election in the future, American voters can and should choose to vote as if their lives depended on it, and vote for candidates that support the majority view that we can and should have reasonable gun control across our nation. Every such vote has the potential of saving lives, including your own.
For more information on how I can help you accomplish progressive, effective systems change, contact Jeff Spitzer-Resnick by visiting his web site: Systems Change Consulting.