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Shaw: The problem is the guns

Shaw writes, "The carnage that occurs in the U.S. does not happen in the rest of the world. Every day, 110 Americans are shot to death. The gun homicide rate in the U.S. is 26 times that of other high-income countries. There have been a horrifying 230 mass shootings just this year."

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw
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It’s time for action. Enough is enough. We need to do a better job of trying to stop heartbreaking massacres, such as the recent ones in Buffalo and Uvalde. The Republican strategy is to send thoughts and prayers and then do nothing. Doing nothing is not working.

The carnage that occurs in the U.S. does not happen in the rest of the world. Every day, 110 Americans are shot to death. The gun homicide rate in the U.S. is 26 times that of other high-income countries. There have been a horrifying 230 mass shootings just this year.

Republicans often use the mental health excuse. Are Americans significantly more mentally ill than the rest of the world? No. The problem is the guns. You can’t commit mass murder unless you have the weapons to do so. In the U.S., it’s too easy to get those weapons. It should come as no surprise that Americans possess half of the civilian-owned guns in the world. The Uvalde shooter had an AR-15 style assault rifle and a frightening 1,600 rounds of ammunition.

We desperately need common sense gun control laws. That means expanded background checks, a ban on assault weapons, red flag laws, increasing the firearm purchase age to 21 and limiting magazine capacities. Most Americans want these laws, but Republicans in Congress block them.

Republicans also hide behind the Second Amendment, which they have distorted and perverted. That amendment was never designed so that Americans could slaughter children in their schools or people shopping for food.

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In 1991, conservative former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger said, “The gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American people by special interest groups that I have seen in my lifetime. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies—the militia would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.”

The trouble is cowardly Republicans are attached to the hip of the gun lobby. That includes North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer. Hoeven said, we need “to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and people who are mentally ill,” while protecting constitutional rights. Yawn. Translation: Let’s do nothing new.

Cramer called the Texas shootings “evil and sick.” Not good enough.

In 2013 Cramer pathetically said, “The United States Supreme Court sanctioned abortion on demand, and we wonder why our culture sees school shootings so often.” Sure. Let’s see if school shootings stop when Roe v. Wade is overturned.

After another brutal war against neighboring Arab countries in the 1970s, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was asked when there will be peace. Her answer was, “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

Likewise, mass shootings will drop here when Republicans love our children more than they hate common sense gun laws.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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READ MORE FROM INFORUM COLUMNIST JIM SHAW
InForum columnist Jim Shaw argues it's high time for North Dakota to legalize marijuana. "I have never smoked marijuana, and don’t encourage it," Shaw writes. "However, the time has come for North Dakota, like 19 other states and Washington, D.C. to legalize it, regulate it and bring in millions of dollars in taxes."

Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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