Who are we as Americans?

I know writing a blog post about my feelings to a small audience won’t accomplish anything to curb gun violence. What I could do today though was dig into statistics, distill them, and provide their sources. Whatever we do individually to educate ourselves and inform our actions can potentially have a collective impact.

Firearms became the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers in 2020.

This sad fact represents a major shift in risks for young people in the U.S. For over 60 years, car accidents were the leading cause of death for kids and teens. Car accidents are now number two, while drug overdoses are number three.  —TIME MAGAZINE

45,222 firearm-related deaths in the U.S. in 2020

4,358 in total—were children

“It takes a monster to kill children. But to watch monsters kill children again and again and do nothing isn’t just insanity — it’s inhumanity.”

Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate

1994 the assault weapons ban went into effect—there were about 400,00 AR-15 rifles in America then.

In 2004 the federal ban on assault weapons expired.

Today, there are 20 million.

Assault weapons are military-style firearms intended to fire multiple rounds in quick succession – killing people quickly with little effort. They can be used with detachable magazines that can fire more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Assault weapons were primarily designed for use in war and battlefields. But because there’s no federal restriction on the sale of these weapons, civilians have been able to purchase assault weapons to carry out some of our nation’s deadliest mass shootings.  —SANDY HOOK PROMISE

This is a hostage situation…Pew Research shows that 81% of Americans believe in some common-sense gun laws.

Here’s a link to the congressmen and senators who benefit the most by NOT supporting what their constituents want in gun policy.

https://elections.bradyunited.org/take-action/nra-donations-116th-congress-senators

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:

GUNS AS LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH: https://www.npr.org/2022/04/22/1094364930/firearms-leading-cause-of-death-in-children

TIME MAGAZINE: https://time.com/6170864/cause-of-death-children-guns/

EDUCATION WEEK/27 SCHOOL SHOOTINGS THIS YEAR ALONE: https://www.edweek.org/leadership/school-shootings-this-year-how-many-and-where/2022/01

ASSAULT WEAPONS: —Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, May 26th—Subscribe on Substack for a daily email that puts news from a historical perspective from a historian. https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

SANDY HOOK PROMISE: https://actionfund.sandyhookpromise.org/issues/gun-safety/magazine-capacity-limits/?_ga=2.147810295.1346543022.1653831698-1939731440.1653831698

TEXT OF ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN BILL IN 1994: https://www.congress.gov/bill/103rd-congress/house-bill/4296/text

EXTREME RISK LAWS empower law enforcement and, depending on the jurisdiction, family members, health professionals, and school administrators, among others, to work with courts to temporarily remove firearms from those who pose a danger to themselves or others. Extreme risk laws have the power to prevent suicides, mass shootings, and interpersonal violence.  (Note: only 19 states have these laws on the books.)

EXTREME RISK LAWS: https://everytownresearchorg/rankings/law/extreme-risk-law/

...The Pew polling found that significant majorities of Americans support background checks (81 percent), an assault-weapons ban (63 percent), and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines (64 percent); a majority also opposes concealed carry of weapons without a permit. Majorities of Republicans who don’t own guns shared those opinions, as did Democratic gun owners, by even more lopsided margins. Even most Republicans who do own guns said in the polling that they support background checks and oppose permitless concealed carry (which more red states, including Texas, are authorizing). 

Despite all of this, Republican elected officials, in their near-lockstep opposition to gun control, have bent to groups like the NRA in equating almost any restrictions as a sign of disrespect to the values of red America.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2022/05/senate-state-bias-filibuster-blocking-gun-control-legislation/638425/

John Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions: https://publichealth.jhu.edu/departments/health-policy-and-management/research-and-practice/center-for-gun-violence-solutions

FOLLOW THE MONEY $$$$$$$$$: https://elections.bradyunited.org/take-action/nra-donations-116th-congress-senators

FOLLOW THE MONEY: The majority of Americans support stronger gun laws — laws that are proven to reduce deaths. But in 2019, the NRA spent $3.22 million to benefit the political campaigns of senators who oppose gun safety legislation. In 2020, they spent $2.20 million. These senators refuse to support common-sense gun reform, like expanding Brady Background Checks and banning assault weapons.  https://elections.bradyunited.org/take-action/nra-donations-116th-congress-senators

Happy 6th of July…

After cookouts, laughs, conversations, parades, playing lawn games, hiking, swimming, boating, and beer drinking—we’re back to reality today. On July 4th, before our annual Corn Hole Tournament, my husband read the second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence before the first bag was tossed.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all people are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights—among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

—The Declaration of Independence

As I walked toward the Cape Cod Bay this morning, I thought about what the 6th of July means to me and the words my husband read Sunday afternoon. All people are created equal…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Those five words…all people are created equal, although masterfully aspirational, sadly do not describe America—past or present.

“…democracy isn’t top down. “Each day, we’re reminded there’s nothing guaranteed about our democracy, nothing guaranteed about our way of life,” he said. “We have to fight for it, defend it, earn it…. It’s up to all of us to protect the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; the right to equal justice under the law; the right to vote and have that vote counted; the right…. to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and know that our children and grandchildren will be safe on this planet for generations to come… the right to rise in the world as far as your God-given [talent] can take you, unlimited by barriers of privilege or power.”

Heather Cox Richardson/Letters from an American July 5th

You can subscribe to historian, Heather Cox Richardson’s daily email, Letters from an American with this link. It will take you to a screen that looks like the image below.

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/