Mug - Amy Gillentine

Amy Gillentine, Publisher and Executive Editor 

Last week, the nation was shocked — again — by the murder of 21 people, most of them children, in a mass shooting in Ulvade, Texas. 

And even before the names of the dead were released, the finger-pointing started. Blame it on poor parenting, on mental illness, on the schools. Blame it on everything but the guns and this simple fact: There are 120 firearms for every 100 people in this country. The United States accounts for 46 percent of civilian-owned guns while its citizens make up just 4 percent of the Earth’s population.
Could that be the reason? More people with more guns means more crime?
Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is the definition of insanity. And in our nation, our love affair with guns and addiction to violence equal more deaths of innocent people, time after time.
I don’t know why anyone needs an AR-15 or any semi-automatic weapon. I don’t know why anyone needs a high-capacity magazine. Last week’s shooter had more than 1,000 rounds — and no one raised an alarm when he bought his weapon or his ammunition. I don’t know why an 18-year-old, not old enough to drink alcohol or purchase marijuana, can buy a weapon with no questions and no training.
Protecting Second Amendment rights should not mean accepting the deaths of children. It shouldn’t mean metal detectors and armed teachers. It shouldn’t equal grieving families who will never be the same. It shouldn’t mean traumatized 10-year-olds who might have survived the day but will live with the horror for the rest of their lives.
More guns is always the answer for the National Rifle Association and its supporters. More guns and fewer controls. Good guys with guns, always the answer. Now they want to arm the teachers? About 20 police officers waited outside the classroom for more than an hour while a gunman was inside and kids were calling 911 over and over, begging for help. But a kindergarten teacher with a Smith & Wesson is going to solve the problem?
No. It won’t work. We might have more accidental discharges, more issues with death at schools. But more guns has never equaled fewer murders.
Controlling access to guns works. Background checks work. Age requirements work. Limiting magazine capacities could save lives.
Let’s focus on what works and prevent needless, senseless, horrific death in our country.
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