This one feels different. After Virginia Tech, after Sandy Hook, after Orlando, after all the others, we thought Congress might finally – finally – be forced to confront the scourge of gun violence unique to America.
This time, despite the highest casualty toll ever, that notion seems naive. It’s now clear Congress will do nothing to stop the bloodshed.
Americans own far more guns per person than any country in the world – about 90 guns per 100 people, or more than one for every single adult. About half of the country’s 42,000 suicides each year are committed with guns.
The Second Amendment protects gun ownership. It does not prevent common sense regulation, such as doing more to keep guns away from mentally ill people or banning high-capacity magazines.
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Such moves would save lives, but they wouldn’t eliminate mass shootings or daily gun violence. There are countries, mostly in Central and South America, with much lower gun ownership and much higher gun homicide rates.
Still, we can lessen the killing. In addition to reasonable gun regulations, we can do more to identify and address mental illness. We can fund deeper research into gun violence and remedies. And we can refuse to accept that this is our new reality, and how it will always be.