Women Can Stop Gun Violence in America

When politicians shout that the tragic shooting event in Tucson, Arizona, this past weekend were above politics as usual, it’s like listening to people who own a brothel shouting, “it’s not about the sex.”

While politicians may want to debate our present state of heated rhetoric and a confrontational national mood, the simple truth is that when a violently disturbed man can purchase a high powered handgun and walk into his local sporting goods store along with a magazine with 31 bullets, you have a recipe for disaster.

California, New York, and a few other states prohibit the sale of magazines of more than ten rounds. You may think this is a fine point, but consider the fact that after the shooter had fired his 31 rounds, it was when he attempted to insert a second magazine that he was tackled by three bystanders and brought down.

If your mother, father, brother, sister, or unimaginably your nine year-old daughter, had been shot and killed by the 11th to the 31st bullet fired, that “fine point” becomes a matter of life and death.

And here’s where so many of our politicians have let us down: they have bent to the loud voices on the right and the high pressure tactics of the National Rifle Association (a.k.a., the Gun Lobby.)

In 1994 the Federal government put a law in place that prohibited the sale of magazine clips that had more than ten bullets. That law lapsed in 2004, and a Congress cowered by the power of the National Rifle Association sat on their hands and let it happen. At that point, several states picked up the initiative and made the same action state law. Therefore Jared Loughner could not have walked into a sporting goods store in, for example, his neighboring state of California, and purchased what is known as an extended magazine.

The initial target of twenty-two year-old Loughner in Tucson was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. While a Democrat, she too was a supporter of America’s gun lobby. Giffords, who had won three consecutive elections in a district that can just as easily swing Republican as Democrat, decided that opposing the gun lobby was not worth the political backlash it was bound to bring. But, greatly to her credit, she did support President Obama’s health care legislation, which in itself made her the target of radical Conservatives in her district and elsewhere.

In fact, it was her support of the President’s health care initiative , that earned her the now infamous “gunsite” notation, placing Giffords’  district in the crosshairs on Sarah Palin’s map for national political change.

In spite of a tidal wave of outrage against loose gun laws, it’s reasonable to conclude that, just as in all previous cases of “national soul searching” over gun violence, this debate will peak in several days, and then slide back into the shadows. That was the case after the tragedy the 12 killed and 21 injured in 1999’s massacre at Columbine High School, the 32 deaths at Virginia Tech in 2007, and the 13 deaths at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009.

And it is in those shadows that the NRA lurks, convincing politicians that opposing their concept of a gun for every American who wants one can be fatal to their political survival.

The only real way this tragedy can evolve from rhetoric and political finger-pointing into effecting real change is for women to stand up and loudly say “We must end gun violence NOW!”

Call it Mother’s Against Gun Violence, or Women for a Safer America, but women have always guided this nation’s resolve to act in a decent and rational manner.

And that’s what must happen NOW.

If the day ever comes when politic-ans are more concerned about how their pro gun votes might effect a passionate anti-gun lobby to campaign against them, then, at last we will see change.

But until then, we will continue to live in the dark world of the NRA, where guns equal freedom–and an occasional massacre by unstable individuals is simply the price we pay for our freedom to bear arms.

–Martin Brown
Health Channel Editor – SingleMindedWomen.com