Monday, June 13, 2016

There IS something you can do

Warning: This post may be construed as political. It's not. It may be construed as anti-guns or anti-US. It's not. It is pro-life, in the least political sense of the word. 

I had a different post planned for today, but it felt frivolous after the news from Orlando early yesterday morning. Fifty people died at Pulse, a gay nightclub in downtown Orlando, making it the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

Across social media platforms, people demanded stricter gun control laws. The shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS. World leaders and politicians denounced this shooting as a hate crime. President Obama again called for solidarity of the American people.

In other words, there was a lot of anger and sadness. Mixed with bone weariness. Absolute fatigue. And no wonder. According to VOX, there have been 133 mass shootings in the 164 days of 2016 so far. The article as a whole is worth a read because it also includes a chart detailing the numbers of people who were injured and/or died per incident. There are 14 days so far this year on which three or more mass shootings happened. Let me reiterate that.

In 2016 in the United States, there have been 14 days which have had 3 or more mass shootings.

I don't care which side of the gun control argument you fall on, this is horrific.

I'm an American living in the UK and there has not been a mass shooting in this country since 2010. Private ownership of handguns became illegal in 1996 following the Dublane school massacre, in which 17 people were killed, including the shooter. Some firearms are allowed for private use, mostly for hunting and/or recreation (club) purposes, but the law clearly states:
To decide whether a person is fit to own a firearm, the licensing authority will conduct a number of checks which will usually include interviews, visits to the person’s property, criminal records checks and references from friends. In addition, the applicant’s GP may be contacted.

A home visit is mandatory for a first-time applicant. As is a reference from a person who has known the applicant a minimum of two years. If the applicant does not have a GP (General Practitioner) in the UK, he/she cannot apply for a firearm.

In other words, procuring a handgun is a process. Again, I don't care which side of the gun control argument you fall on, why it wouldn't be?

The UK laws came into effect after the Dublane school masscre because people were angry and sad and demanded stricter gun control. The Snowdrop Campaign collected 750,000 signatures to be presented to UK parliament. The legislation was backed by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. Illegal outlets to procure firearms lessened and public outcry remained strong. People offered thoughts and prayers -- and they acted.

The US is a huge country compared to the UK. History on both sides of the proverbial pond has proven what a group of committed citizens can do. Isn't it time to do it?

The below list is by no means comprehensive, but may be a good starting point for those who want to act: has an active petition for gun control.
Contact your Congress person
Look at these 30 tips for taking action on gun control. Do two of them.
Register to vote in the November election and speak with your ballot.
Support gun violence education with Amazon Smile


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

Done and done. I have tweeted, emailed, Facebooked my politicians. I don't understand why we can't do something as a country. Why can't we tighten gun laws? Why is it all or nothing? It's incredibly frustrating. Only way is to vote out lawmakers who don't work on behalf the people.

Mary Fan said...

Fantastic post, Brenda! And thanks for the links... it's so easy to tweet and Facebook about "thoughts and prayers" to a crowd of people who have already made up their minds about their side of the issue. So much more helpful to see what can actually be done.

Brenda St John Brown said...

I don't understand it either. Enough people are frustrated and fed up and every new incident, the cry is "no more" or "never again". But until there are checks put in place so the people who shouldn't have guns can't get them, it's going to keep happening!

Brenda St John Brown said...

Thank you. I know the UK has its problems, too, but living in a country where guns are not commonplace and my kid doesn't do shooter drills at school, and my two friends who are police officers don't carry guns -- it's eye-opening, but also proof that it's possible to have a functioning and orderly society without guns.

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