An editorial in the Washington Post of May 2, 2019 (page A20) captured my thoughts and said it better than I could. It reads, in part, “So far this year — that’s some 120 days — there have been more than 100 mass shootings, more than 4,500 gun deaths (not counting suicides) and more than 8,500 gun injuries. . . . Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns.”
The parallel between the plethora of firearms in the U.S.—the number is greater than the population—and the unconscionable high in gun deaths makes plain the problem: until we reduce the number of guns in the hands of our population, many of us will continue to die tragic and horrible deaths.
Some argue that the second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right of gun ownership. That amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” My understanding of the amendment is that to assure the existence of a well-regulated militia, we shall not infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms. I see no justification for unbridled gun ownership in those words. Nonetheless, if reduction of gun deaths requires a constitutional amendment, let’s get to it now.
Others stress that the culture of the U.S. has always favored gun ownership, in part because our pioneer tradition and the need to hunt to feed our families. The time of pioneering at our new frontiers in the west ended well over a century ago. Hunting in modern times is a sport, not a necessity. And if guns are embedded in our culture, let’s change our culture.
The Washington Post had it right. It’s long since time for us Americans to greatly reduce the number of firearms available to the general population and stop killing of 30,000 of our people every year.