Enough is enough. Stop the in­san­ity about guns.


Amer­i­cans may some­day look back in shame at a time when their coun­try was awash in guns, when ev­ery few weeks peo­ple were slaugh­tered en masse and when so­ci­ety re­peat­edly mourned its dead, even as it fa­cil­i­tated their mur­der with easy ac­cess to pow­er­ful weapons.

The five dead­li­est shoot­ings in mod­ern U.S. his­tory have all oc­curred in the past decade, two of them in the last five weeks alone. The lat­est Amer­i­can car­nage came Sun­day when 26 wor­shipers at the First Bap­tist Church of Suther­land Springs, Texas — in­clud­ing a baby of 18 months — were cut down by a gun­man with an as­sault-style ri­fle and an ap­par­ent grudge against his in-laws.

As shock­ing as the killings are, equally shock­ing is that the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers do noth­ing to stop them. Now, th­ese lead­ers even want to deny that gun vi­o­lence has any­thing to do with … guns.

Re­act­ing to the mas­sacre, Pres­i­dent Trump as­serted: “This isn’t a guns sit­u­a­tion.” Both Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Ab­bott blamed men­tal ill­ness for the lat­est tragedy. And yes, such spree killings of­ten in­volve the nexus of guns and men­tal prob­lems. But the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness are not vi­o­lent. Nor is men­tal ill­ness a pre­dic­tor of gun vi­o­lence.

Other coun­tries bat­tle men­tal ill­ness, too. Other coun­tries, how­ever, do not have any­where near the level of firearm homi­cides as the United States, let alone the num­ber of mas­sacres.

Sun­day’s killer, Devin Kel­ley, 26, was court-mar­tialed in 2012 for as­sault­ing his wife and child. But, in another in­di­ca­tion of weak­nesses in the sys­tem used to screen prospec­tive gun buy­ers, the Air Force didn’t re­lay in­for­ma­tion about the con­vic­tion to the FBI’s Na­tional In­stant Crim­i­nal Back­ground Check Sys­tem.

After each blood­bath, sen­si­ble peo­ple pro­pose sen­si­ble mea­sures: univer- sal back­ground checks to re­place a sys­tem with loop­holes; bans on as­sault weapons and high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines. Hopes for change are raised. Then the gun lobby pounces, cow­ardly mem­bers of Congress fold, and the vi­o­lent cy­cle con­tin­ues.

In one sense, Trump is right that “this is a men­tal health prob­lem at the high­est level.” For the na­tion's top lead­ers to watch in­no­cent peo­ple mowed down, and refuse to do any­thing to stop it, is in­deed ab­so­lutely crazy.

SOURCE Pew Re­search Cen­ter sur­vey spring 2017 Veron­ica Bravo/USA TO­DAY

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