Keep Adding Names To Notoriety
Gilroy, California leaders have declared that they will not let the July 28 shooting that killed three and injured more than a dozen others at the annual Garlic Festival define their city. Good luck with that.
Every single city in America should be prepared to one day have their city’s name perpetually linked with some shooting horror, so long as nationwide laws do not support gun violence prevention.
California has strong gun laws that, according to Giffords Law Center, make it “generally illegal to import assault weapons into California or carry or possess assault weapons in the state without a special weapons permit.” Allegedly, the 19-year-old gunman in this case legally purchased his weapon in Nevada. Licensed dealers are required by federal law to perform background checks on buyers, but a background check only shows previous issues that may raise a red flag; unlicensed dealers, of course, perform no background check at all.
Finding an unlicensed dealer willing to deal in weapons of war or the handguns responsible for the majority of gun deaths in the US is not hard; those arrangements can be made via the internet.
There are federal limits on the sale/transfer of guns from one state to another. If one is planning to maim and murder others for random reasons, though, what would that person care if he/she is breaking that federal law?
The problem is that military-style guns are made and sold to civilians at all. There was a time when machine guns were legal. When it became apparent they were being used domestically to create mayhem and mass murder, they were outlawed. Why are newer model guns that can kill as many people as possible in as short a span as possible so different? When did our culture change, making guns not meant for responsible hunting so prevalent? When did we become a society so fearful of its own government that stockpiling dozens of guns meant only for causing the death of other human beings became seen as a reasonable response? Why are minor disagreements settled not with a punch to the nose or an arm twisted behind the back — in the worst case — but instead with a blast from a gun that was not properly secured or was in the hands of someone not fit to handle it?
Organizations like Sandy Hook Promise and Jesse Lewis Choose Love are working diligently to educate the public about social emotional issues and recognizing signs that indicate trouble ahead. Education, knowledge, and solid national laws that ban assault weapons (and please, no pretending not to know exactly what that includes) must be the future so that all Americans can feel secure, no matter where they are.
“I never thought it would happen here.”
It can, and it will, until national gun laws reflect common sense.
Gilroy, California, we wish you the best in fending off your new definition as the town where a Garlic Festival is now synonymous with murder by gun violence.
Our hearts go out to you.