It has been three years since a deranged young man who should have never had access to any kind of weapons murdered 26 children and school employees at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. The nation reacted with horror at the thought that innocent little children could fall victim to a madman. You might think that a sane nation would have taken immediate steps to prevent further bloodshed. But if we have learned anything from Sandy Hook, it is that 21st century America is not a sane nation.
The Huffington Post reported, one year after the slaughter in Connecticut, that gun sales in America soared following the shooting. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre uttered the now infamous words, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun” on December 21, 2012, and Americans decided he was right, buying up firearms in droves.
No matter what common citizens might have thought following Sandy Hook, or how they might have reacted, you would think that the supposedly more rational members of state legislatures would have had a more sensible reaction, and sought to put some common sense restrictions on firearms. You would think. But not in the U.S.A.
A new report from the Associated Press reveals that states did not add any meaningful restrictions on guns following Sandy Hook. Instead, many states went in the opposite direction, expanding gun rights. The report found that new laws in many states have made it easier to carry guns in a greater variety of public places, along with making it tougher for towns and cities to enact stricter controls on guns.
The AP report summarizes some of the kinds of laws that have been passed:
Instead of limiting access to firearms after Sandy Hook, states such as Indiana and Mississippi passed laws to beef up the presence of police officers in schools. Kansas adopted a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons in many public buildings. Georgia and Arkansas, among others, allowed concealed weapons in bars and some churches. Tennessee made clear that permit holders can carry concealed weapons in vehicles and parks.
Several states also passed reciprocity agreements recognizing gun permits approved by other states, reduced permitting fees and loosened requirements. Wisconsin, for instance, eliminated a 48-hour waiting period to buy handguns.
And then there are new laws designed to thwart gun-control measures. States have prohibited authorities from seizing guns during emergencies, moved to ban the use of taxpayer funding for government gun buyback programs and banned the destruction of firearms seized by law enforcement. Some Republican-controlled states have pre-empted local governments’ ability to pass stricter firearms laws by declaring that it’s a matter for the state.
Concealed weapons in bars?! Who decided that was a good idea? According to the National Council On Alcohol and Drug Dependence, two-thirds of victims who were attacked by a friend or acquaintance reported that alcohol was involved.
So, how are all of these new “good guys with guns” working out for us? NBC News reports that since Sandy Hook, an American child has died by a gun on average every other day. While right-wing media likes to talk about scattered instances where a citizen with a gun has stopped someone from shooting others, they don’t want to address incidents like the recent one in Michigan, where a “good guy with a gun” was that right up until the moment he shot a seven-year-old girl and her mother.
Last week, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” looked at “good guys with guns,” and according to The Fiscal Times, here’s what happened when correspondent Jordan Klepper got a concealed carry permit and engaged in staged shooting scenarios:
Klepper ran through four different shooting scenarios in his training, and in each one he was ‘killed’ without successfully shooting the bad guy. In the full ‘school shooting’ scenario, Klepper was shot over 20 times by both the bad guys and the police who saw him waving a gun. He also shot an unarmed, innocent teen twice in the chest. So, Klepper’s ‘good guy with a gun’ caused two additional deaths.
Eric Fleegler, a doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital summed up the “we need more guns, not fewer,” argument this way:
In a country with 330 million people and 310 million guns the suggestion that the problem is we don’t have enough guns available just doesn’t seem to hold much weight.
For the record, the graphic below shows how many children have been the victims of gun violence in the three years since Sandy Hook. When does the madness end?
Featured image via News.CN