Gun control a crying need in US - GulfToday

Gun control a crying need in US

US Gun Violence

Members of civil society hold placards against the spread of gun violence in Texas.

United States President Joe Biden’s helpless cry after a deranged gunman in Ovalde in Texas killed two teachers and over a dozen students of fourth grade at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, saying “As a nation we have to ask when in God’s name we’re going to stand up to the gun lobby, when in God’s name we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done. I am sick and tired of it. We have to act.” It is the cry of helplessness of the leader of a powerful country.

The gun lobby in America remains unmoved after every mass shooting, and the number of these violent episodes piles up every year. All that, two elected Republican officials in Texas, could come up with was about beefing up security at schools. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “The reality is that we don’t have the resources to have law enforcement at every school.”

Salvador Ramos, who got the guns when he turned 18, first shot his grandmother before he barged into the school and barricaded himself in the fourth-grade classroom and opened fire on the children and their teachers. By the time, the police could break into the classroom and kill him in the counter-firing, the students and two teachers had died. School shootings have become almost common across the United States, as they seem to take place time and again across the country. It does turn out to be the work of psychopaths.

What then is the solution? Democrats and liberals have the ready answer: ban guns. Republicans and the very powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) argue bluntly that those who keep guns and who argue for the right to keep arms are responsible and they never indulge in indiscriminate violence. And those who misuse the ownership of guns are too few.

But it these few mentally sick individuals cause too much harm. Their argument is that mature and sane people who keep guns do not go on a rampage. The problem is that the gun lobby is opposed even to minimum background checking of those buying guns. This is a classic battle between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives think that the remedy against those who indulge in gun violence is not banning of guns. And the liberals think that a ban on guns is the only way. When President Barack Obama introduced background checking, there was huge resentment in the gun lobby.

If one were to go beyond the simple solution of banning the possession of guns, what we face is the phenomenon of mentally sick individuals who go into these spasms of violence and resort to guns, which can be bought so easily over the counter. Are there too many mentally unstable people in American society, or is the figure the same as in any society? But mentally sick people cannot do as much damage as those in America because they have an easy access to guns. There is no running away from the fact that there must be gun control if not a ban on buying of guns, and the NRA must give up its simple-minded obduracy.

Americans are paying a heavy price – that of the death of innocents – for this misplaced constitutional right to bear arms. During the 18th and 19th centuries, when America was still a country spreading out in the vast continent, from the eastern to the western coasts, it did make sense for men to carry guns, not only to counter wild animals but also to confront enemies and rivals. The days of the wild west are indeed over. There is need to change the mindset.

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