It’s Time for Effective Gun Control
Musllim Public Affairs Council
Four years ago, we discussed the urgent imperative for sensible gun control policy in the wake of the Aurora, Oak Creek, Sandy Hook, and Washington, D.C. shootings. Yet, Congress has consistently failed to pass comprehensive, common sense legislation that will keep us safe. Now is exactly the right time to talk about gun control. In the aftermath of the horrific Las Vegas shooting, we are recirculating our September 2013 DC News & Views.
This week, our nation’s capital witnessed a horrific mass shooting by a man with a past of violent outbursts and worsening mental health issues. Aaron Alexis shot and killed 12 people at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, and although the incident took place near the US Capitol, lawmakers have remained eerily silent about gun control.
Have mass shootings every few months become the new normal for our country? Will we have to wait for an even larger tragedy before our policy makers have the political will to implement common sense gun control policy?
Multiple red flags were raised before Monday’s shooting. Alexis had been dealing with mental health issues for at least a decade, had a history of run-ins with law enforcement involving guns and was discharged from the Navy due to a “pattern of misconduct.” Considering his list of questionable behaviors, why would an arms seller think Alexis was fit to possess a weapon?
Our nation’s bleak history of inaction on gun control issues is appalling. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have deferred to the gun lobby rather than common sense, and Americans are paying the ultimate price. In the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school mass shooting, President Barack Obama laid out his plan to reduce gun violence, which included: ensuring quality coverage of mental health treatment, banning military assault weapons and strengthening the background checks for those interested in purchasing firearms. Had those recommendations become legislation voted into law by members of Congress, Monday’s tragic events may not have happened.
Furthermore, the senseless shooting in Chicago on Thursday night, where 13 people including a three-year-old boy, were shot on a basketball court might not have happened. At what point will our lawmakers give in to common sense to reform gun control policies and make our nation safer?
It’s simple really. One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent gun violence is to ensure that those who would commit acts of violence are not eligible to purchase the weapons in the first place. We failed the victims and their families by not strengthening policies to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Again and again, after the inexplicable tragedies in Aurora, CO; Oak Creek, WI; and Sandy Hook, CT; support for gun control spiked, only to recede with time. Will Washington, DC, simply be added to the list of mass shooting sites, or will we overcome this disastrous new normal and create effective policies to this problem that affects every segment of our society?
(Founded in 1988, the Muslim Public Affairs Council improves public understanding and policies that impact American Muslims by engaging our government, media, and communities. Our vision is that America is enriched by the vital contributions of American Muslims)
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