Now we add the blood-splattered walls of an El Paso, Texas, Walmart and the blood-splattered sidewalks of an outdoor fun zone in Dayton, Ohio, to our List of Gun Horrors, which is more accurately the List of White Male Horrors.
The alleged shooters in these two cases are white males in their 20s. Shooters in mass incidents — which usually means four or more victims — usually are white males, and usually younger.
Mass shooting cases usually involve rifles, often called “military style assault weapons,” and they are horrendous because of the number of victims. The reality, however, is homicide by rifle is a tiny fraction — about 5% (374) in 2016 (the last year for which I found figures) — of the 7,105 deaths by handguns.
That handgun figure is notable when you understand that two-thirds of the 33,000 annual gun deaths are suicides.
It’s much easier to commit suicide with a hand gun rather than a long gun, such as rifle or shotgun. It still counts as a death, but if we filter out suicide, the number of homicides drops to 11,000.
Over the past decade I have endorsed various gun laws, which are always presented as “common sense,” and “gun safety” rather than gun control. (Sorry, I am a word guy and take note of such usage.)
I will offer them again, but first here’s the only effective way to reduce the murder rate: Outlaw guns by eliminating the Second Amendment that guarantees the right of Americans to own guns.
It is the Big 2 that stands in the way of any idea to confiscate guns, as has been done in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and elsewhere.
Eliminating the second item of the Bill of Rights would be extremely difficult, but there is a mechanism for doing it. Two-thirds of both houses of Congress would have to approve, followed by three-quarters of the 50 states.
It is a very high wall, but it is possible. Knocking down the Second Amendment would make all other gun control moot. All gun ownership could be made illegal.
Talking about guns is a trigger issue (pardon the pun) for some people, and I urge them to devote themselves to overturning Big 2.
For the rest of us, there are reasonable restrictions, even though none are foolproof and some are questionable.
Here are six suggestions that play defense, enjoy majority support from Americans, and barely affect the typical gun owner (which includes me, and licensed to carry).
1- Instant background checks for every buyer of every firearm, including gun shows. In 2017, Pew Research reported 85% of Americans approved background checks — 88% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans.
2- Deny guns to mental patients and those accused of spousal abuse. Rights could be restored after successful treatment.
3- Deny guns to those on a terrorist watch list. If you can’t get on a plane, you can’t have a gun.
4- Age 21 to buy a rifle. Federal law already makes 21 the minimum age for a handgun.
5- One gun purchase a month. This is designed to slow the straw buyer.
6- Restrict magazines to holding only 10 bullets.
No ban on “assault rifles” because they are just rifles with cool attachments and the last time we banned them, for 10 years starting in 1994, the results were not what was hoped for.
Restricting the capacity of the magazine effectively reduces the carnage of that long gun.
The combined effect of my six points, I believe, will reduce, but not end, gun violence because gun violence comes more from a twisted mind than the barrel of a gun.