You know the tide has turned against gun violence when even the American Medical Association calls it a public health menace at the finish of its annual convention.
“CHICAGO – In the wake of the worst mass shooting in American history and with more than 6,000 deaths already in 2016 from gun violence, the American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted policy calling gun violence in the United States “a public health crisis” requiring a comprehensive public health response and solution,” said its press release.
Additionally, at the Annual Meeting of its House of Delegates, the AMA resolved to actively lobby Congress to overturn legislation that for 20 years has prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from researching gun violence.
This is after the US Senate could not even agree on banning gun purchases for anyone on the terrorism watch list in the wake of the Pulse nightclub massacre. You know it’s a public health menace when such mass killings are the work of both domestic and foreign terrorists, whether at Aurora, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, and Orlando.
You know more effective gun control measures are coming, including the banning of military assault weapons like the AR-15, when Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed stating that more Americans had died from gunfire since 1968 than in all the wars ever fought by the United States — a claim PolitiFact twice pronounced to be true.
“When 50 people were shot and killed early Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando,” wrote Kristof, “the toll from gun murders this year rose to somewhere around 6,000 deaths, which means if the trend continues, this year may end up with the highest gun homicide count since Barack Obama took office in 2009. Add to the homicide number the 550 or so victims of police shootings, roughly the same number of accidental gun deaths and the 21,000+ Americans who use a gun to end their own lives, and the total gun mortality number this year may go above 35,000.”
And now the women are getting together, as did those MADD women that enabled stricter drunk driving laws. (You would think the insurance companies would be behind this initiative as well, for all the money in lawsuits they would save.)
Recently, a powerful new gun control group has emerged, called Everytown for Gun Safety, a combining of several smaller gun control groups, including Women Against Gun Violence and Mom’s Demand Action. This is while former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was getting ready to launch Everytown for Gun Safety with a pledge of $50 million, but it lacked foot soldiers. So today Bloomberg and the women’s groups have merged together with 3.5 million supporters.
And the nail in the coffin of unregulated gun violence may have been supplied by the now 8-member Supreme Court which allowed a lower court ruling banning assault weapons to stand, which in effect means that the Second Amendment right to own guns does have limits. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place gun control laws in New York and Connecticut that ban military-style assault weapons like the one used in last week’s massacre at an Orlando nightclub, rejecting a legal challenge by gun rights advocates.
The New York and Connecticut laws, among the strictest in the nation, were enacted after a gunman with a semiautomatic rifle killed 20 young children and six educators in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In total, seven states and the District of Columbia ban semiautomatic rifles.
“”With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. “Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries.”
So we can now have a discussion about the latest public safety menace, the epidemic of gun violence. It requires similar treatment as did the Ebola and Zika epidemics—eradication of the carriers of that violence; which means stricter licensing requirements for starters, and maybe the banning of military-style assault weapons.
Harlan Green © 2016
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