In America: Is Gun Control What We Need?

Exodus 20:1,13 “I am the Lord your God… You shall not murder.”

In this second article we are looking at our 2020 Presidential candidates’ 3-part plan on how to combat the rising hopelessness we are told has come upon us. We discussed their first plan, to increase government’s control over our lives. Now let’s look at the second. in the wake of the horrible mass murders in the El Paso and Dayton, we are told that we need increased gun control. Why has gun control become such a priority?

‘Everyone for Gun Safety’ released its annual report of mass shootings in the US from 2009 through the end of 2017. Here are some of their findings: “From 2009 to 2017, there were at least 173 mass shootings in the U.S (“mass shooting is defined as an incident in which four or more people, not including the shooter, are killed with a firearm). 2017 was the deadliest year on record for mass shootings. There were four times as many people shot in mass shootings in 2017 than in the eight years prior.

In nine years, mass shootings resulted in at least 1,793 people shot, with 1,001 who died and 792 injured. One in five victims were children under the age of 18. At least 70 shooters also died by suicide after perpetrating a mass shooting, and another 17 were killed by responding law enforcement.

In at least one-third of mass shootings, the shooter was legally prohibited from possessing firearms at the time of the shooting. In half of mass shootings, the shooter exhibited warning signs indicating that they posed a danger to themselves or others before the shooting. The majority of mass shootings were related to domestic or family violence. The vast majority of incidents (59%) took place entirely in private homes (102 incidents). These incidents were responsible for 86% of mass shooting child fatalities.

Mass shootings that involved the use of high-capacity magazines resulted in more than twice as many fatalities and 14 times as many injuries on average compared to those that did not.”

From these findings, there are four policies the report advocates that they claim would reaffirm the value of gun violence prevention in curbing the frequency of mass shootings. Let’s review each of these.

  1. Background Checks on all Firearm Sales. At least one-third of the mass shooters were prohibited from possessing firearms. So how did they get their hands on a gun? The report explains that “Under a 1994 federal law, licensed dealers are required to run a background check at point of sale to identify prohibited buyers and stop the sale. This has blocked over 3.5 million people with felony convictions, domestic abusers, fugitives, and others from having guns.” But federal law does not cover unlicensed sellers, where people normally prohibited from buying guns can do so without any background check, especially on line.
  2. Red Flag Laws. One-half of the mass shooters exhibited warning signs that indicated they posed a danger to themselves or others before the shooting. As their report explains, these ‘Red Flag Laws’ would “allow family members and law enforcement to seek the temporary removal of guns from individuals who have exhibited recent dangerous behavior.”
  3. Domestic Violence Laws. In at least 54% of mass shootings, the victims were a current or former intimate partner or family member. And 86% of the 224 children killed in mass shootings between 2009 to 2017 were due to domestic or family violence. The report explains that those states having laws prohibiting domestic abusers from buying or possessing guns have a 10-16% lower intimate partner firearm homicide rate than those states which do not.
  4. High-Capacity Magazines. Those firearms capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammo allow a shooter to fire multiple rounds without reloading. Their report notes that “States with restrictions on magazine size experience mass shootings at half the rate of states without the restrictions.”

These four initiatives are part of the national debate, and will certainly be part of the 2020 Presidential campaign. Yet the phrase ‘gun violence’ is a confusing way of defining the problem, since we know it isn’t a gun that commits violence. Just as with an automobile, it is the user who commits the violence.

The most important initiative to curb ‘gun violence’ is not getting much media coverage, and yet is the most effective. Our verse this week, taken from the Ten Commandments, says that initiative is control on moral values. ‘Gun control’ won’t reduce mass shootings. We must focus on ‘soul control’, our topic next week.

The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #362

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