Reducing mass shootings will require all Americans to take action

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Guns and pistols
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We had our most recent mass shooting last week when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people at Douglas Stoneman High School in Florida.

As with many tragic incidents people came together for a show of solidarity, mainly by sending prayers and holding vigils to honor victims.

And again in the midst of another tragedy there is a debate about whether we should get rid of guns or not.

The conversation around gun control is obviously not a black and white issue. It’s easy to point the finger at the NRA member, the conservative politician, or the ardent constitutionalist. But have we accomplished anything by doing so?

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Instead, we’ve thrown away opportunities to make critical changes to our nation’s gun laws. Unfortunately, trivial arguments have only resulted in more death for innocent people.

Before we attempt to seize firearms and find others to blame, we must all come together to call for common sense restrictions that will ensure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands. Both the left and right need to look beyond partisanship to save the moral fiber of our nation.

Since 1966, the year Charles Whitman killed 16 people from the tower at the University of Texas, 1,077 people have been killed in over 90 mass shootings in the U.S. Of those people, 176 were children.

In those incidents there were 292 guns used–167 of which were obtained legally and 49 illegally. Approximately 150 shooters utilized those guns in their mayhem.

The aforementioned data provided by the Gun Violence Archive should be staggering, no matter what political viewpoints you hold. Nonetheless, both devout second amendment followers and gun control advocates need to confront some inconvenient truths.

The United States currently has an estimated 270 million to 310 million guns in circulation. That’s nearly one firearm per American (U.S. population is currently at 320 million). A few guns for sport or protection is of course a constitutional right. But as we’ve witnessed here in San Bernardino and with other incidents, many shooting perpetrators have created stockpiles and re-assembled guns to make them “deadlier.”

Despite some examples of swift gun control (Australia has not had any mass shootings since they implemented gun control measures in 1996), it doesn’t mean such policies will work here in the U.S. Mass shootings in nations like Australia and the United Kingdom are a rarity. Moreover, limiting an individual’s right to bearing arms may invite more physical confrontation, as opposed to preventing it.

Resolving the issue of mass shootings evidently will require a long term approach–one that will take many months and years of conversation and action. Reducing mass shootings will come from identifying people with mental illness or individuals suffering through social distress. It will come from law enforcement agencies doing their due diligence and vetting individuals with suspicious activity. It will come from politicians on both sides of the aisle doing the right thing for their constituents.

So where do you stand?

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