Analysis | Record numbers of shootings and victims that do not change much

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Analysis | Record numbers of shootings and casualties that don't change much

It has now been 10 years since the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. It killed 26 people, including 20 young children.

On December 14, 2012, a horrific shooting by a 20-year-old young man killed 26 people in Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty of the 26 people killed were between six and seven years old.

Ten years later, nothing has really changed: the number of shootings that break out and Americans who die from guns continues to skyrocket year after year.

According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, the year 2022 in the United States is expected to end with a total of more than 620 shootings in which at least four people were injured or killed. In 2014, that number had been just 269, but it had jumped to 336 four years later. Since 2020, the number of shootings has blithely exceeded 600 each year.

The most recent shooting to rock the country took place last May in Uvalde, Texas, at the x27;Robb Primary School. Committed by an 18-year-old young man who had been educated in this city, this killing left 22 people dead, including 19 children. This tragedy is the deadliest to have occurred in an elementary school in the United States since that of Sandy Hook.

The elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas shook Americans, but not enough to change much to the regulations in force.

I think everyone goes back to Sandy Hook and wonders why it didn't change much, says Tanya Schardt, senior legal counsel and director of policy issues at Brady.

The name of this gun violence awareness organization refers to the Brady Act, a US Congressional law that mandates background checks on anyone who wishes to purchase a firearm. fire as well as a five-day waiting period with each purchase.

This law was named in honor of James Brady, Ronald Reagan's press secretary, who was injured in the 1981 assassination attempt on the president. This injury left James Brady partially paralyzed for life. /p>

Since Sandy Hook, several states have taken immediate action, such as Delaware, which has banned assault weapons, and California, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, says Tanya Schardt. The rate of gun violence there is actually 30% lower than the national average, she points out. It's not always portrayed that way in the media, but that's what the real data tells us.

Failing an implication in the fight against guns from Washington, where the words gun control are literally taboo, Ms. Schardt believes that laws on permits to carry firearms in public, or any other sensible policy, could really be adopted by states.

Those who push for more effective regulations prefer to use the words gun violence prevention rather than gun control because reasonable gun control is rejected out of hand by many politicians.

Although intended for military use, assault rifles are very popular among Americans, who sometimes buy several.

However, this poses a problem for states that have makes efforts to stem the problem of the proliferation of firearms in circulation, as is the case in Connecticut.

One of the problems we have here in Connecticut is that many of the firearms that end up on the streets and are used in criminal activity come from other states. where it's still legal to buy and sell guns very easily and with no questions asked, says Mike Lawlor, a former lawmaker in that state's House of Representatives who became an assistant professor of criminal justice. at the University of New Haven.

This makes him say that if every state passed a law similar to Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, there would be far fewer people killed. The problem, of course, is that the nation is already overwhelmed with weapons. Reversing this trend will take time.

There are approximately 400 million firearms in circulation in the United States, more than the total American population, recalls Tanya Schardt. One of the reasons for this is the unhindered access to these deadly weapons. It is therefore imperative that we take steps to ensure that these weapons are regulated in a logical way so that they do not fall into the hands of people who could pose a risk to themselves or others. .

The Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Connecticut sent shock waves through Americans.

That is precisely what the Brady organization is trying to do so through legislation, whether it be background checks, licensing, or regulations on phantom guns, i.e. home-made guns.

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Tanya Schardt believes that the rhetoric of the gun lobby and the gun industry perpetuates a very expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which relates to the bearing of arms.

For some, according to her, the carrying of weapons is authorized for all citizens and without conditions. It is somehow inalienable, just like freedom of religion or expression.

According to Mike Lawlor of the University of New Haven, it is not uncommon find 10 to 40 assault rifles in the homes of people who pose imminent danger when their homes are searched.

A man had registered more than 400 assault weapons following the Sandy Hook shooting, he says, because the new extended assault weapons ban enacted that year allowed people to #x27;keep some if they register them with the state police before the end of the year. This explains the simply astronomical number of guns people are registering.

Gun lobby marketing techniques are very effective, especially when it comes to giving a very broad definition of the second amendment of the US Constitution.

To this must be added the highly effective marketing efforts of arms manufacturers.

The biggest villain in this story, says Lawlor, is an organization called the National Shooting Sports Foundation [NSF] which, ironically, is headquartered in Newtown, Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook school is located. It represents gun manufacturers and funds the National Rifle Association. They are the ones promoting this aggressive gun marketing across the country because obviously at the end of the day they make a lot of money and are able to do all of this without accountability. .

The number one cause of death by firearm in the United States remains suicide. Even though reports tend to focus on urban violence or mass murderers, which are obviously major problems in the United States, gun suicide cases account for more than half of the 42,000 annual deaths in because of the weapons.

In an effort to drastically reduce that number, Mike Lawlor, who was an elected member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, worked to create a red flag, or alarm signal law.

“Having a gun in your home is a very dangerous decision to make. The likelihood that you can use this weapon to fend off an intruder trying to break into your home is really very low. And the risk of this weapon being used to kill you or someone close to you is much higher.

— Connecticut Former Member of Parliament Mike Lawlor

An event that happened in 1998 was the origin of this law. A disgruntled employee of that state's lottery corporation had shot his co-workers. At the time, he had just moved in with his family, was very upset at work, and even bought a lot of guns.

It was after a suicide attempt that he committed this act. This tragedy could have been avoided, as many red flags had been raised by members of his family, who had contacted the local police. In addition, some of his colleagues were concerned about him.

However, in each case, the police said there was nothing they could do because the suspect did not #x27;had broken no law.

Mike Lawlor worked to create a “red flag law” so that potentially suicidal or violent people could temporarily take their guns away .

In response, Lawlor and his colleagues had proposed legislation that would allow law enforcement to temporarily take away their firearms from potentially suicidal or violent people. This law was passed in 1999, making Connecticut the first state in the nation to allow confiscation of firearms before a violent act is committed.

Under this law, the police must obtain a warrant from a judge. Since this law was passed 23 years ago, more than a dozen other states have passed similar legislation.

Thanks not only to this measure but also to other laws that have been passed in Connecticut, this state, according to Mike Lowlor, has been able to significantly reduce the number of firearm deaths. Currently, Connecticut's gun death rate is the fourth lowest in the United States.

These laws are truly incredible tools to prevent gun violence and to prevent suicide by firearm, adds Tanya Schardt, of the Brady organization.

The fact remains that on January 3, the composition of Congress will be somewhat modified with the takeover of the House of Representatives by the Republican Party, which has no desire to legislate when the time comes to x27; taking action to control firearms.

Access to firearms of all kinds is widespread and easy in the United States.

It will become more difficult at the federal level given the composition of the House, laments the director of state and federal policy at Brady.

It's very clear. But we know most Americans want background checks. We also know that funding can be provided to do community violence response and to support other programs that are really essential to preventing gun violence, she argues. And I also think it's imperative that we continue to see what states can do locally, although I think a national approach is certainly what will have the greatest impact.

< p class="e-p">Here again, the states with a Democratic majority are those which have adopted the greatest number of control measures. Few of the Republican states have passed a law red flag, except for Florida and Texas.

Mike Lawlor, however, remains hopeful and believes that the frequency of these mass shootings is probably the best indicator of how quickly the laws will change.

“It's unfortunate to say that, but there will come a time when people will get sick of certain people, for whatever reason, walking into a school, mall, church or synagogue and shooting random people.

—Mike Lawlor, former Connecticut elected official and assistant professor of criminal justice

Mr. Lawlor is convinced that a day will come when people decide that enough is enough. He hopes it will be sooner rather than later.

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