The gun lobby often invokes the Democratic losses in the 1994 midterm elections after passing the assault-weapons ban and the Brady background-check bill to try to scare lawmakers of both parties into maintaining the status quo. Those who lost their seats in that election did cast brave votes to make our country safer and give our children the chance to grow up and live their dreams. The 2018 elections, thanks to the passionate activism of citizen groups across the country, proved that it’s a different world now. Today members of Congress will be supported if they reinstate the assault-weapons and large-ammunition magazine bans, and if the Senate passes the universal-background-check law already passed by the House of Representatives.
Of course, no single action can completely end mass shootings and the wave of gun violence that plagues communities across America.
We all have to stand against, not inflame, the racial, religious and gender-based bigotries that often drive the delusions of mass killers.
The “red flag” law is a good idea. Also, we can and should do more to prevent, treat and manage mental illness. But the incidence of mental illness in America is similar to that of other wealthy nations, yet we have far more deadly mass shootings. What’s different is the sheer number of guns per capita and the widespread accessibility of weapons of war.