The world watches in astonishment as Americans kill each other with guns at a rate that is 25 times greater than in any other developed country! Those killed are not just adults as increasingly the target of gun terrorists are children. Already in 2022 there have been more children slaughtered by gun-toting terrorists than the total shot in any other developed country.
There is an increasing plea made most recently by our President that “enough is enough!” I submit that we are well past the point of reaching some indictor that we now must act. There is an epidemic of gun violence affecting not only those who are shot and killed but also those who are shot and do not die, those family members and friends of the victim, and those who are traumatized in their homes, schools, churches, and community by the increasingly real potential that they could be next. Gun violence is a public health crisis.
There are those who point to the Second Amendment and use it as an excuse for the most violent in our society being able to stockpile guns of massive destruction and rounds of ammunition that can be used to kill innocent citizens. Such an excuse ignores the reality that the Second Amendment in its time related to citizen militia when there were no standing armies. Furthermore, none of the freedoms are so absolute that you can use your freedoms to end the right of other citizens to enjoy their freedoms. The Second Amendment is no more absolute than are the freedoms of speech, assembly or the press.
I have no problem with individual persons owning guns for their own hobby or recreational use. In the many years I have been in the legislature I have never known of a bill being introduced that would have denied the right of responsible citizens owning guns nor any bill that would confiscate guns from owners. My concern is with our insistence that every whacko be able to have a gun even if there is a likelihood that person will harm others. I believe that public safety requires that reasonable, common-sense gun safety laws be passed.
Why do we not have common-sense gun safety laws? State legislators and members of Congress have not had the political will or courage to take the steps supported by the American people that would remove the plague of gun violence from our society. There are too many examples of politicians losing their political office because they supported the most reasonable of gun safety measures. Make candidates for office hear from you that we have reached the point of where action must be taken on ending gun violence and that your vote depends on their gun safety positions. If you belong to the NRA, let the organization know that the responsible members who support the end of the gun-related carnage outnumber the crazies who seem to love their guns more than the lives of others including our children.
If we are not past the point of agreeing that enough is enough, will gun violence have to visit our community to have us realize that we are past the point of enough?
Ken Plum is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.