Do we value guns more than children?

An American gun enthusiast who owned an AR-15 rifle, the type used in Florida's Valentine's Day high school mass shooting, has destroyed it "to make sure this weapon will never be able to take a life".

What else is there to say about guns?

If ever there was a case that should have galvanized every American to action, this was it: 6- and 7-year-olds murdered in their school just days before Christmas. There were protests, rallies and calls for gun control. According to CNN, seven of the top 10 deadliest mass shootings in USA history took place after 2007, beginning with the Virginia Tech tragedy, which is ranked third deadliest with 32 casualties. These incidents range from mass shootings like last week's in Florida to accidental discharges of firearms, after-hours fights between adults in a school parking lot and suicides.

How many more men, women and children must hold candles after another mass shooting like those in Las Vegas, San Bernardino and Sutherland Springs? After all these shootings, Congress has done nothing.

Now we're back to square one.

In the wake of the shooting, some school boards have shared guidelines to help parents discuss the tragedy with their children. Movements are starting, and a bleeding nation calls for gun control once again. Shootings have left an indelible impact on entire communities, on the families who lost children and loved ones and on the other children who survived.

We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents.

"A lot of people will say, 'If we change the laws, the criminals are still gonna get the weapons so why should we punish legal gun owners?' - of which I am one". "If someone came here from Florida where there are very lax gun laws, they could, in essence, take their Florida gun laws and their guns into CT and they could act within the parameters of those state's laws".

We're long past the point of debating; what matters now is focused, ferocious political action. When the U.S.is compared to other developed nations in the world, there is a clear and stark difference: the World Health Organization cited for every 100,000 people in the USA, 3.6 are killed by a gun. They can not vote, they can not send representatives owned by the gun lobby out of office, so their lives do not matter. And to deny our constitutional right to bear arms because of what some psychotic did is simply not fair. On the contrary, NRA-funded politicians are proactively doing the bidding of their donors, working overtime to eliminate any restrictions on gun ownership. People can have guns illegally in some areas because they're so easy to get in others, where possession is legal.

But we can't stand by and do nothing.

And why shouldn't the people who profit from gun sales have some skin (and bone and internal organs and brain tissue) in this sick game too? It is the same as taking cars away from us because irresponsible nut cases drink and drive and kill people when they are DUI. No parent does. And you have the ability to make a difference and save lives today. North Carolina does not; we're 23rd in the country in firearm deaths per capita, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The answer is clear: our gun laws are not strict enough.

While numerous people who participated in the White House listening session offered substantive proposals, it's clear the NRA-owned president will advocate "solutions" that please the gun lobby and don't really make schools or communities any safer. We all need to speak out and make our voices and votes count. [This will include] armed security...and teacher training.

  • Arturo Norris