“It’s because of sin. They just need Jesus.”
“It’s people who shoot, not guns. Stop blaming guns!”
“If a teacher had a gun, they’d have been able to protect all those kids from the shooter.”
“If we lose the 2nd amendment, we will lose all our freedoms.”
You’ve probably heard (or said) some version of the above phrases before as a response to a mass shooting. They are a vast oversimplification of an unconscionable issue in the United States of America.
I strive to be respectful and compassionate with people who think differently about important cultural issues. I’m not going to throw away respect and compassion here, but I am going to be very adamant on this point . . . the gun laws we have in this country are unconscionable.
I lost all hope that this country would change its ways after the Sandy Hook shooting. The flare of hope that I have now is more like a grievous and I believe, righteous, rage. I don’t care what political party you affiliate with. Believe it or not, I’m not a Democrat. Nor am I a Republican. Both parties are flawed and corrupt and our entire system breeds the division we all have come to know so well.
Can we all set down our politics, please, and see the grim reality of what’s going on here? A shooter murdered 19 elementary-age children and two teachers (that number may increase.) We are looking at the second worst school shooting in our nation. I doubt anyone will argue with me that this is a horrific tragedy.
But I know some will argue about what could be done to prevent such a tragedy.
We have statistics and proof from countries all around the world that when gun legislation becomes more strict, there is far less gun violence. Does it zero it out completely? No. But do stricter gun laws make tragedies like the one in Uvalde, TX or the already-forgotten shooting in Buffalo, NY less likely to occur?
YES. And is that not enough?!?
My Christian brothers and sisters, you are right! People need Jesus. That is a fact. But sometimes, we can’t wait for people to find Jesus before acting on behalf of the people Jesus loves.
I’m going to leave you with a couple of external images and paragraphs. I beg you to look at them. I beg you to not stop praying. I beg you to add action to your prayers. Consider, just for a moment, what the statistics are saying about stricter gun legislation.
The below two screenshots are from a 2020 report of gun deaths in the U.S., compiled by The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions. Full report can be read here. Page 9 has some policy suggestions we can all advocate for!
The bravado of American exceptionalism paired with “thoughts and prayers” isn’t enough to meet this moment. We must know when to admit defeat and start making real efforts to control guns. Other countries have become stricter on gun ownership and the results should be enough to convince anyone with a conscience that gun control works in reducing gun violence.
Australia experienced a horrific mass shooting that killed 35 people in 1996. In response to the shooting, the Australian government enacted the National Firearms Agreement, banning automatic and semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns. Another effective gun control method they used was a weapon buy-back scheme which resulted in 640,000 weapons being turned into law enforcement.
Prior to Australia’s deadliest mass shooting, there had been 13 mass shootings within 18 years. In the 20 years after the government tightened gun restrictions, mass shootings completely stopped and there was a sharp decline in gun-related deaths.
The U.K. is another example of a country with effective gun control policies. In 1996 there was a mass shooting in Dunblane, Scotland which killed 16 children and one teacher. Since then they’ve banned private ownership of handguns and assault weapons, resulting in a significant decline in gun violence. There has only been one mass shooting since gun control restrictions were tightened. [source]