We must enact common-sense gun reform

To the Editor:

When will enough be enough? Americans can no longer consider themselves safe at their university, place of worship, workplace, favorite nightclub, or even their kid’s preschool. Every time the reaction is the same. We are shocked – how could members of our communities commit such evil crimes? Then we are angry – why didn’t someone see and/or report the signs that this person was unstable? We tweet our prayers, change our profile pictures to commemorate the victims, and stay glued to the news waiting to learn how it all happened. Without fail, after a week or so the talking heads turn their attention elsewhere: we replace our pictures of mourning with pictures of our latest vacations, and return to whatever else is refreshing the news cycle.

This sickening cycle needs to end. It is time to stop ignoring the fact that guns, particularly assault weapons, constitute a major part of the reason for why these mass murders are possible. We have seen in so many of these cases that the perpetrators acquired their weapons legally and showed few signs of mental instability prior to their crimes. We must stop placing the blame on everything but the real problem – that combat assault weapons fit only for war are easily available to everyday Americans. If we don’t enact
common-sense gun reform then America’s streets and communities will have as many casualties each year as actual wars going on around the world. Some food for thought: 11,208 Americans were murdered by guns in 2013 (CDC). 10,000 people died in the Libyan Civil War in 2011 (UNHRC). Yes, these crimes at home are nuanced and should involve discussions on terrorism and mental health, but stalling on the issue of gun control and the easy accessibility of weapons of war will only prolong and exacerbate the series of mass killings. These weapons are a common factor in all of these horrific incidents that involve the deaths of innocent people, and as long as we continue to allow these weapons on the street, we can expect our country to continue its evolution into a war-zone of gun violence.

Natasha Maters