League of Women Voters Minneapolis is outraged, sickened, appalled … frankly, we are out of words to describe what has become an unending horror of mass shootings unfolding in this country in recent years. The shooting in Uvalde, Texas is all the more horrific because of the deaths of 19 children. It is time to offer more than “thoughts and prayers”; it is time to take action.
Gun control is not a new conversation. Back in 1983 LWVMpls had a position “supporting stricter control of handguns.” It seems almost nostalgic, considering the evolution of gun violence since then into scenes of mass carnage. But not surprising: At the time, LWVMpls proposed nine action steps, but the only one ever implemented was requiring a permit to buy a handgun.
According to a statement by LWV Texas, the “shooter is alleged to have bought one of the AR-15 style assault guns on May 17 (the day after he turned 18) from a licensed federal firearms dealer. On May 18 he is alleged to have purchased 375 rounds of ammunition and on May 20 he purchased the second AR-15 style assault gun.”
The U.S. is a global outlier in terms of gun deaths. According to the New York Times, there were 101 mass shootings (more than 4 people) in the U.S. between 1998 and 2019. The next highest number was 8, in France. This is not a typo.
What is different in the U.S.? Many things are different about America, and shootings, including mass shootings, are multi-determined. But studies show that fewer guns, and more gun laws, mean fewer deaths.
Specifically, LWV Texas says, “It is estimated that 25-50% of gun show sales are from unlicensed or private individual sellers. Requiring background checks of all gun sales and transfers will not cause gun crimes and violence to cease. However universal background check laws could reduce gun crime by increasing the price of firearms in the secondary markets on which criminals mostly rely. Most important is that background checks stop what has been one of the easiest ways to obtain a gun, for those who should not own guns.’
The LWVMpls urges all members to reach out to your elected representatives and tell them to support background checks, red flag laws, and assault weapon bans.