I am continuously mystified by why Republicans oppose measures that would reduce gun deaths. Why do conservative beliefs affect how one feels about the gun death crisis in the U.S.?
And there is a crisis for sure. As of today (September 19), 31,938 people have been killed by gunfire in U.S. so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. In 2020, the most recent year for which complete data are available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And the ratio between rate of gun ownership and gun deaths is constant throughout the world—the more guns, the more deaths. The U.S. has more guns per 100 people than any other nation—120.5 guns for every 100 people. We have 20 percent more guns than people. It’s no surprise that we lead the civilized world in our annual rate of gun deaths.
As far as I can tell, the only justification Republicans can offer for opposing laws that would reduce gun ownership—and therefore gun deaths—is the belief that the Constitution guarantees that no restrictions will be put on gun ownership. Most Republicans in the Senate represent deeply conservative states where the right to possess multiple guns is treated as a sacred privilege enshrined in the Constitution, a privilege not to be infringed upon no matter how much blood is spilled in classrooms and school hallways around the country. That conviction is based on the Second Amendment which 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 interpretation of that amendment is that militias are the justification for no limits on gun ownership. Republicans seem to read that amendment to mean that gun control laws are unconstitutional.
As I have written before here, the GOP is in serious danger of plotting its own demise. Its continuing allegiance to Donald Trump will, over time, drive most Americans away from it. Its opposition to gun control, in the face of over 45,000 deaths annually, will do nothing to endear it to the American public.
And for the good of the U.S., it’s well past time—with or without GOP support—to revoke the Second Amendment.