Congress needs solutions for gun violence in America

Liberal Opinion

Rashad Richey

National TV Political Analyst, Talk Radio Host, Univ. Prof.
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A bipartisan group of senators has reached agreement on the framework for Washington’s first significant gun reform legislation in decades. President Biden has already said he will sign the bill if it reaches the Oval Office. But will the changes in the proposed legislation be enough? In the wake of recent tragedies like the Uvalde school massacre and the Buffalo supermarket shooting, Straight Arrow News contributor Rashad Richey says Congress has to take steps to address the issue of guns in America.

Okay. We have a problem. Guns, guns, guns in the United States of America. And let’s stop with all this hyperbolic language about people trying to take your guns away from you. That’s not happening. As a matter of fact, gun sales increase under Democratic presidents, as opposed to Republican presidents. It is not about taking guns away from American citizens. True. You have the right to bear arms. Let’s talk about that right for a moment. In places like Texas and other Republican states, they have passed new laws called constitutional carry. What does that mean? Constitutional carry means because your right to bear arms is codified in the United States Constitution, then the state government, nor the federal government should be in place to make you have a prerequisite in order to bear arms. No license, no permit. That’s what constitutional carry means. So what they’re saying is that because it is a constitutional right to bear arms, you do not need any registration, any prerequisite permit to exercise that right?

Okay. Let’s follow the linear logic here. Do you believe the Constitution gives you a right to vote? If you believe the Constitution gives you a right to vote, why would you think that you should have to register to vote? Why do you need to present a government document, an ID to exercise your right to vote? It seems as if their linear logic makes no sense. They are saying that the government should remove barriers so that you can exercise your right to own a gun — to bear arms — but it should create barriers for you to exercise your right to vote. You see, this is not about bearing arms at all. This is about a small minority of power hungry, money hungry executives in the NRA and the gun manufacturers that continue to promote them. Remember the vast majority of Americans are actually for universal background checks.

The vast majority of NRA members are for universal background checks, but the vast majority of Republicans who are in power to enact common sense legislation, they are not. Most Americans are actually for common sense red flag restrictions to gun ownership, to purchasing a weapon. However, the elite manufacturers, the executives, are not. 

Do you realize that America makes up 4.4% of the global population? That’s it. Under five percent. But America owns 42% of all guns on the planet Earth. Starting from 1966, 31% of mass shooters were right here in the United States of America. Adjusted for population, only Yemen in some years has a higher mass shooter rate. There’s more. Why many will say, “this is about mental health; we need more mental health services.” And in context, I agree. We need a better mental health system. But to say that America’s gun culture and mass shooter problem and gun problem is associated with mental health only is really a cop out and the facts say otherwise.

Okay. We have a problem. Guns, guns, guns in the United States of America. And let’s stop with all this hyperbolic language about people trying to take your guns away from you. That’s not happening. As a matter of fact, gun sales increase under Democratic presidents, as opposed to Republican presidents. It is not about taking guns away from American citizens. True. You have the right to bear arms. Let’s talk about that right for a moment. In places like Texas and other Republican states, they have passed new laws called constitutional carry. What does that mean? Constitutional carry means because your right to bear arms is codified in the United States Constitution, then the state government, nor the federal government should be in place to make you have a prerequisite in order to bear arms. No license, no permit. That’s what constitutional carry means. So what they’re saying is that because it is a constitutional right to bear arms, you do not need any registration, any prerequisite permit to exercise that right?

Okay. Let’s follow the linear logic here. Do you believe the Constitution gives you a right to vote? If you believe the Constitution gives you a right to vote, why would you think that you should have to register to vote? Why do you need to present a government document, an ID to exercise your right to vote? It seems as if their linear logic makes no sense. They are saying that the government should remove barriers so that you can exercise your right to own a gun – to bear arms – but it should create barriers for you to exercise your right to vote. You see, this is not…about bearing arms at all. This is about a small minority of power hungry, money hungry executives in the NRA and the gun manufacturers that continue to promote them. Remember the vast majority of Americans are actually for universal background checks.

The vast majority of NRA members are for universal background checks, but the vast majority of Republicans who are in power to enact common sense legislation, they are not. Most Americans are actually for common sense red flag restrictions to gun ownership, to purchasing a weapon. However, the elite manufacturers, the executives are not. 

Do you realize that America makes up 4.4% of the global population? That’s it. Under five percent. But America owns 42% of all guns on the planet Earth. Starting from 1966, 31% of mass shooters were right here in the United States of America. Adjusted for population, only Yemen in some years has a higher mass shooter rate. There’s more. Why many will say, “this is about mental health; we need more mental health services.” And in context, I agree. We need a better mental health system. But to say that America’s gun culture and mass shooter problem and gun problem is associated with mental health only is really a cop out and the facts say otherwise.

Let’s be very clear. If mental health was the difference maker in the United States of America as it relates to these mass shootings, that means that the United States of America would have a higher mental health crisis per capita than other nations on the planet. That is simply not true. 

If mental health made the difference, then the data would show that Americans have far more mental health problems than other countries as it relates to mass shootings. But it does not. The mental healthcare spending in the United States of America for the number of mental healthcare professionals per capita is severely higher than other countries. America, based on a 2015 study, showed that only roughly 4% – 4% of shootings in the United States can be attributed to actual mental health disorders. 

Where are we as a nation? What games are we playing with policy? It is clear cut. We need an answer.

We need a solution. This is the time to talk about policy. This is the time to make it political. And for those on the right who continue to say in moments like this, in crises like this, this is not the time to make it political, damnit, this is the exact time to make it political. 

These individuals were elected to create policy, to solve problems for us. That’s why we elected them. It’s like a plumber looking at a massive plumbing issue and saying, “well, that’s a bad plumbing issue, but right now was not the time to do any plumbing.” That’s what you do. 

If you are an elected official, you are elected, not just to have power, but to have an opportunity to create policy so that solutions and remedy can be available for us. Children are dying because of bad gun policy in this country. Now either you are going to make a decision to stop playing the game they have put in front of you, or you make a decision to push the policy agenda and step out of the partisan agenda.

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