The year 2015 not only marked an escalation in mass US shootings, it
marked an escalation in where mass
shootings occur from churches, movies, highways and medical offices to on the street during a live TV newscast. Nowhere
was safe in 2015 as victims in San Bernardino, Roseburg, Chattanooga, Lafayette
and many other places could attest. Mass shootings happened so often, locked
down schools and weekly, lethal road rage events and domestic violence did
not even make headlines.
Most of the 2015 mass shooters were clearly unbalanced, violent and some had police records or issued threats. Anyone could see the murders coming. Yet the gunmen had sailed through their background checks and were the "law-abiding" gun owners whose "rights" the gun lobby defends.
A case in point is Craig Stephen Hicks, who allegedly killed three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in February, possibly over a parking space. Hicks, whose gun threats had been noted by neighbors, owned more than a dozen firearms including an AR-15 and an extensive collection of ammunition and scopes at the time of his arrest. Who needs such a weaponry cache for "self-defense"?
The summer of 2015 was saturated in gun bloodshed from the Charleston church murders--possibly the most overt racial murders since the civil rights era--to the murders at military recruitment stations. While gun rights advocates stationed themselves at recruitment stations blaming the deaths on a "gun-free zone," Military Times reported some servicemen had indeed had personal guns and fired back. (The military asked the self-proclaimed sentries, some of whom had gun accidents, to leave.) The real issue which the gun lobby ignores is why guns are so easy to obtain in the US that a clear terrorist with a police record bought them legally and murdered our troops in Chattanooga. (The San Bernardino terrorist's co-conspirator also passed a background check.)
Taking their marching orders from the gun lobby, lawmakers also ignore how easily homegrown terrorists can and do get guns in the US and even chose to allow people on the Terror Watch List to retain their right to buy guns after the San Bernardino massacre.
To those of us who work against gun violence, it is amazing that the gun lobby would put the American people at risk of terrorism because of its blind, depraved devotion to "gun rights." It is also amazing the lobby defeats gun safety laws because of its erroneous claim that "criminals don't obey laws" so laws won't work. The massacres at Chapel Hill, Charleston, Chattanooga, Lafayette, Roseburg, Roanoke, Denver, Colorado Springs, Santa Barbara, the Navy Yard, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Virginia Tech and more were all courtesy of legal gun owners who passed their background checks.
(Article changed on December 30, 2015 at 12:10)