Mass Killings Are So Commonplace They Barely Make the News

Because of the pandemic and stay-at-home guidelines, we haven’t had to think about mass shootings in awhile. Now that the vaccination program is going strong in the U.S., and the country is opening up, like clockwork, we’re seeing mass shooting after mass shooting. Yesterday, a man with an AR-15 killed 10 people in a grocery store in Colorado. During the weekend of March 14th, four people were killed and at least 34 others hurt in shootings across Chicago. Last week, a man with an AR-15 killed 8 people in Atlanta — he bought the gun earlier that day. The supermarket shooting was the seventh mass killing so far this year.

I saw zero headlines about the Chicago killings. Just another week in America. I fear we’ve all watched gun violence become normalized, right before our eyes.

Where are you at on this issue? Are you still passionately fighting for gun control? Are you still passionately fighting against gun control? Are you exhausted by the gun debate? Have you given up hope of ever getting things resolved?

As you already know if you’ve been reading here for awhile, I grew up in a gun-loving community and have always tried to be respectful of gun rights. Yes I wanted to see real and practical gun reforms, but I also wanted the people I love to be able to keep their guns. In 2018 my viewpoint changed.

I think it was reading the statistics about gun suicides that finally made me realize I can no longer favor the gun rights of my childhood friends over the 100 lives that are lost every day in this country (100 EVERY SINGLE DAY!) due to gun violence.

These days, I would welcome a gun ban. I realize not everyone agrees with me.

Here is some of what I’ve read and bookmarked about gun violence that continues to inform my views:

-Is gun control a constitutional question for you? Author and journalist David Kirby writes: “Rights have limits, including gun ownership. Same with free speech. The 1st Amendment doesn’t protect obscenity, child pornography, incitement to violence, personal threats, defamation, perjury, and false advertising. Why can’t people accept limits for the 2nd?

-Looking for commonalities among mass shooters? Forget mental illness and video games. The New York Times reports that it turns out violence against women is frequently part of their histories, and it’s not talked about enough.

-“Nearly 1 million women in the US alive today have been shot, or shot at, by an intimate partner.” You want to own a weapon? How about you have to submit to a psychiatric evaluation, then provide a letter (that you can’t see or read) from a past or present romantic partner, since they’re the people most at risk from your gun.

-Have you considered whether your gun views are affected by your race or religious views? This Muslim man asked: If every non-white Muslim man in the U.S. strolled around running errands while carrying assault rifles, would you be less inclined to support open carry?

-Related to that, did you know Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, made open carry illegal in the state because members of the Black Panther organization were exercising their open-carry rights and it made white politicians uncomfortable?

-Are you anti-gun control? If yes, you are in the minority. There is broad bipartisan support among people in America who want Congressional action on specific gun policies. 89 percent of Americans, say Congress should pass more funding to screen and treat people with mental illness who are trying to purchase guns legally. Eighty-three percent of Americans said background checks should be required if someone wants to buy a gun at a gun show or through a private sale. 72 percent of Americans supported the idea of a national “red flag” law, which allows police to seize a person’s gun after a judge decides that individual poses a threat to themselves or others. Similarly, 72 percent of U.S. adults said a person should be required to obtain a license before buying a gun.

-Did you know that 110 bills containing the word “gun” have been introduced since this Congress convened in January. (Most of the 110 are directly related to the gun debate, though a few recognize historical events or deal with foreign countries.) Click to read what those bills are about.

-Of the 40 deadliest U.S. mass shootings since 1949 (deadliest, meaning 8 or more people killed):
-7 occurred in the 10 years before US enacted assault weapons ban
-2 occurred in the 10 years assault weapons ban was in effect
-27 have occurred in the 17 years since since the GOP blocked efforts to extend the assault weapons ban.

Another way of parsing this data:
-7 of the 40 deadliest mass shootings since 1949 occurred in 10 years before 1994 assault weapons ban
2 occurred in 10 years the ban was in effect
-13 occurred in the first 10 years after ban expired
-15 occurred in the last 7 years

The stats above refer to the “deadliest” mass shootings, with 8 or more people killed. Mass shootings are defined by 4 or more people being killed. Here is a list of recent mass shootings in the U.S..

-It’s good to remember that gun control wasn’t always a partisan issue. For a reference on how radical today’s GOP has become on guns, here is some context. In 1999, thirty-one Senate Republicans voted in favor of mandating background checks at gun shows. And in 1994, forty-two House Republicans voted for President Bill Clinton’s crime bill, which included a ban on assault weapons.

-It’s also worth remembering that owning an assault rifle a few decades ago would have been seen as crazy. It was not a part of mainstream gun culture. Today’s current gun culture is a problem.

-Don’t forget: The Founders never intended to create an unregulated individual right to a gun. This article describes how recent and artificial the fundamentalist interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is.

-Many Americans can buy a gun in less than an hour. In some countries, the process takes months. Here’s what the gun buying process looks like in 16 different countries.

-There are a lot of people who try to turn the conversation toward mental health whenever gun violence comes up. I’m someone who deals with mental health issues on a daily basis, and I certainly think paying attention to mental health is important. But please know: in the context of gun violence prevention, bringing up mental health is a distraction strategy and is not helpful.

Why? Because 19 out of 20 murderers have no mental illness diagnosis. Because 4 out of 5 mass shooters have no mental illness diagnosis, and half showed no signs of a prior, undiagnosed illness. Because there is no correlation between mental illness and the prevalence of mass shootings in the U.S. relative to other countries.

Framing this as just a mental illness problem or mainly as mental illness problem is a gun industry trope.

-This is a super interesting thread about research into Columbine. The temptation to focus on mental health and video games when there’s a mass-shooting is so strong — but not actually helpful. On the other hand, the correlation with white supremacy is undeniable, but that seems to get ignored or pushed to the side (just like the misogyny connection gets pushed to the side).

That completes my list for now. I’m curious to know if you’re familiar with any of these viewpoints, or if they are news to you. Are your views on guns set at this point, or do you feel your views could change? Or perhaps like me, you’ve already seen your views on gun control change over the last several years.

Where do you land these days? What would you like to see happen?

P.S. — I’ve written many pieces on gun violence. Here are links to 4, in case you’d like to read them:
Why I think a gun ban is inevitable.
A conversation with God about guns.
Let’s talk about suicide statistics.
What does protecting your family look like to you?

61 thoughts on “Mass Killings Are So Commonplace They Barely Make the News”

  1. “Where are you at on this issue? Are you still passionately fighting for gun control? Are you still passionately fighting against gun control?”

    Gun owner but not an activist. I consider Heller vs DC a necessary evil which diminishes the Fathers’ idea of ‘well organized militia’. In my ideal world I would require everyone who owns firearm to undergo periodic mandatory training to build the community, teach safety, responsibility etc. Similar to this.

    “Looking for commonalities among mass shooters?”
    Here is another view.

    1. I find the response of “gun safety” to these devastating mass shootings to be disingenuous. These people didn’t trip with the safety on their gun off. They planned to purposefully murder as many people as they could before killing themselves to avoid prosecution.
      These killings – murders – have never been a result of poor gun safety. They are the result of greedy elected officials willing to take money in exchange for other peoples lives and gun owners who pretend that there is nothing that can be done to both protect the rights to own guns and ensure a measure of safety for the people of our country.

      1. Elizabeth, I tend to agree. I think there was a window — for at least a couple of decades — where gun owners could have advocated for strict protocols for gun safety, like mandatory training, having to have a license to own a gun, gun registration, etc.. But that window may be closed. A lot of citizens are really fed up with the NRA gun rights advocates at this point.

    2. N, I finally had a minute read the CNN article you linked to and it’s an interesting proposal that I’ve never heard before. For anyone who hasn’t been able to click through, the author suggests that a simple way to curb gun violence, while working within the 2nd amendment, is this:

      The proposal is simple: Anyone purchasing a gun should be required to enlist for military reserve service, spanning the entire period of their gun ownership. Under this proposal, being granted a handgun license would simultaneously and automatically register you to serve as a reservist in the Armed Forces branch of your choice — it’s that simple.

      The author goes on to explain how this is basically required by the 2nd amendment:

      Gun advocates tend to talk about the Second Amendment as if it provides the unlimited freedom for any individual to own and carry weapons. The actual language is very different: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The literal language used in the Constitution focuses on the right to bear arms within the context of — if, arguably, not solely limited by — the security needs of our nation.

      N, as a gun owner, would you be willing to be a reservist in the Armed Forces so that you could keep your gun?

      1. it’s an interesting proposal that I’ve never heard before.

        I saw similar ideas. For example this quora answer suggests the following

        Require membership in the Civilian Marksmanship Program for the purchase of semiautomatic centerfire weapons and centerfire magazines with more than ten rounds of capacity.

        N, as a gun owner, would you be willing to be a reservist in the Armed Forces so that you could keep your gun
        It will work for me. I spend a day at range every two-three month. I would have an official excuse to do it monthly :-)

  2. We don’t own guns and I didn’t grow up around guns. My half sister and her husband are hunters and own many guns, including hand guns. While I sometimes think I would love a huge magnet to come out of the sky that targets only guns, my volunteer work with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has taught me to be respectful of people’s rights, and new ways to talk to people about common sense gun legislation. I get a lot of satisfaction when I volunteer at Moms Be SMART for Kids events, and can talk to people about gun safety around kids. Shockingly, at almost every event, someone tells me that they don’t think their child knows about their unsecured gun in the glove compartment, drawer, etc. I assure them that if the child doesn’t know, they will eventually. It’s also very satisfying to help parents figure out nonthreatening ways to ask if there are guns in places their children will be spending time, such as playdates or homes of relatives. I wish our country would do more to try to prevent gun violence, but at least I can feel as if I am doing something, even if it’s limited in scope.

    1. I really appreciate the work Moms Demand Action and other orgs have done in providing scripts and ideas on how parents can ask if there are guns in places where their children will be spending time. I committed to doing this a couple years and it still makes me nervous but I do it anyway. I typically do it via text and all the parents I’ve asked have been very gracious and thankful with their responses.

      1. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but so important. Good for you!! The first person I asked (20 years ago now) was a police officer who kept his service weapon on top of a curio cabinet and didn’t think his daughter knew it was there. My kids never went in that house again.

    2. Kristin, thank you for your work with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. I keep thinking about this line you wrote: “Shockingly, at almost every event, someone tells me that they don’t think their child knows about their unsecured gun in the glove compartment, drawer, etc.”

      I’m sure people get sick of me talking about it, but I wish all American parents really understood the data on how dangerous it is to have a gun in the home. I understand that parents who keep a gun a home often do so because they think it’s making their family safer, but the opposite is true.

      I also wish every parent — or really just every adult — understood the data on gun suicides. It’s easy to think that getting rid of guns wouldn’t change the number of suicides, because someone who is suicidal could just use another method, but that’s not true. Here are some stats in case this is new info to anyone:

      – Guns are the most common method of suicides; used in about half of suicide deaths.

      – Most suicides happen without warning. 54% of the people who kill themselves don’t have mental health issues, but instead are going through a temporary low-point — relationship problems, money problems, physical health problems.
 Those kinds of low-points can happen to anyone at anytime, no matter how mentally stable they are.
      – Having access to a gun greatly increases the chance someone will suddenly, unexpectedly, and successfully kill themselves.
      – 85% of suicide attempts using guns are successful.

      – Suicide attempts using non-gun methods are not nearly as successful. In fact, drug overdose, the most widely used method in suicide attempts, is fatal in less than 3 percent of cases.
      -The decision for most people to take their lives happens in less than five minutes from thought to completion.

      Suicide is unpredictable. Please do not keep guns in your home.

      1. I am alive because my method of choice was sleeping pills. If my parents had had a gun in the house, I might not be here now. I was 16 and struggling and my parents had no idea until it all came crashing down in just one night. I’m glad a gun wasn’t easily available to me, because I feel I’ve been able to put a lot of good in the world in the 25 years since then.

      2. YES!! Be SMART is an acronym: S secure all guns, M model safe gun behavior, A ask if there are guns in homes where your children will be, R recognize the connection between guns and suicides (during our presentations we give the stats. This year we’ve been asked to table at several suicide prevention and mental health events), and T tell other people to be SMART. The suicide connection should be enough reason to not have a gun.

  3. I’m from Europe (as you are now ;-) ) and I feel myself getting more and more numb looking at every new mass shooting in the US. It’s not that people here are better human beings, not at all; it’s not that we’re so good at solving our own problems without violence; it’s just that it HELPS SO MUCH if only policemen (and some criminals, unfortunately) have guns and I feel really, really exasperated with Americans not wanting to see this. At the same time, my heart is heavy for all those teenagers, other young people and parents having to go through unspeakable grief. I’m so sorry for that.

    1. I hear you. It’s such a fixable problem. And we’ve seen lots of countries tackle this issue with great success. It’s the same with our healthcare — like every other wealthy country has figured out how to provide healthcare for all who need it, but we act like it’s an impossible problem.

      I don’t know, sometimes we as Americans are simply resistant to change. I mean why in the world haven’t we adopted the metric system? (It would make our lives MUCH easier.) There are zero good reasons for not doing so, but here we are.

  4. I agree with you one hundred thousand percent. The misogyny, the racism, the absolutist interpretation of the amendment … it’s all enraging. I do believe the view on guns will change because society does change (e.g., gay marriage – this would have been unthinkable when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s). However, it’s profoundly demoralizing until that day comes.

  5. You make so many great points! We are not gun-owners. Me and my spouse both had very serious bouts of depression last year, and we will probably NEVER be Gun owners.

    It sometimes seems as though Gun owners don’t care about suicides. I do, and I’m glad you raised that point. At a Moms Demand Meeting during suicide awareness month, I learned that the rare person who survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge said after that as soon as they jumped they knew it was a mistake. Suicide attempts by firearms are the most lethal (I.e. there is a stronger likelihood of survival with other suicide attempt methods such as drug overdoses)

    I totally agree that shootings are NOT just a mental health issues. In quite a few cases, it is connected and I wish there were stronger “red flag laws” dictating that if a family member has concerns about someone’s mental health, that they can temporarily have their firearms taken away.

    Or common sense could used more often! I wish there were more PSA’s about locking up guns and keeping them away from children and any family member whom might be struggling with life/mental health.

    A few years ago someone I was loosely acquainted with From work was on the local news. She was addressing the camera pleading with her late-20’s son to come home. He had a wife, toddler and 8 day old child and was going to register for getting his diploma for his PhD, and he had disappeared. The weird thing is that no foul play was suspected and his mom made it seem like he had left of his own accord, he had just tuned off his phone me cut off all contact and was nowhere to be found. It was emphasized that he was not presumed to be a danger to anyway. Considering all the children that are taken against their will, I found it a bit odd That someone who disappeared of their own accord (as opposed to kidpnapped) and wasn’t a danger to anyone would be all over the news. I suspect it was because his mom had connections through her work in the law enforcement community (I had since stopped working to stay home with my kids, so I have never connected with her to get the full story- I am filling in with my assumptions).

    A couple days later the young man was found, but no explanation for his disappearance was ever given. I’m making a huge assumption here, but there might have been a mental health issue/breakdown for a father and husband to disappear without a trace just a week after his second baby was born.

    About a year and a half later this young man’s name popped up on a Facebook post and my breath caught. He had murdered his wife, young child and toddler, then called 911 and killed himself. I’m pretty sure he lived on a property/farm (?) with other family members. I do NOT any specific, but my heart was broken. I couldn’t help but wonder why someone who a little more than a year ago had had a brush with a mental health issue (again that’s an assumption), or at the very least made a poor choice in leaving his family without contact for a few days, would have access to firearm. Maybe he wasn’t open about his suicidal tendencies (although quite a few people do talk about suicide who are actually thinking about it- take them seriously), but shouldn’t firearms be under lock and key anyways? And shouldn’t family members quietly take the key/change the code if someone has been erratic/strange recently?

    Sorry for the long long anecdote, but every time Gun control comes up I think about this story and all the lives it affected (to be clear, I was only aquatinted with the mom and don’t have her info, and I didn’t knew the young man and his family).

    Murder-suicide has become so common it barely makes a blip in the news. All deaths by firearms are heartbreaking.

    Thanks for bringing your attention to this issue, Gabby (I never know if you go by again, Gabby or Gabrielle! Forgive me). I 💯 agree with what you said that we agree that there are limits on the 1st amendment, why can’t we agree that there should be some limits on the 2nd amendment. John Oliver did a great piece on how Australia completely banned firearms after a mass shooting (can’t remember if it was with The Daily Show or his more recent show Last Week Tonight)
    Gold ⭐️ for anyone who made it to the end of my comment!

    1. My uncle killed my aunt and them himself, with my cousin in the home but unharmed, when he had the earliest brush of dementia. Having a gun in the home is why it was so easy for him to do with minimal planning.

      A few years ago a different cousin was shot through a door in CA while at work. I wish that shooter had literally any other type of weapon instead of a gun.

      Thank you for your comments and care.

    2. Thank you for your comment, Julie. I think understanding the link between suicide and gun access is SO IMPORTANT. I already put these stats in a comment above, but I’m going to repeat them here because I want to make sure people see them:

      – Guns are the most common method of suicides; used in about half of suicide deaths.

      – Most suicides happen without warning. 54% of the people who kill themselves don’t have mental health issues, but instead are going through a temporary low-point — relationship problems, money problems, physical health problems.
 Those kinds of low-points can happen to anyone at anytime, no matter how mentally stable they are.
      – Having access to a gun greatly increases the chance someone will suddenly, unexpectedly, and successfully kill themselves.
      – 85% of suicide attempts using guns are successful.

      – Suicide attempts using non-gun methods are not nearly as successful. In fact, drug overdose, the most widely used method in suicide attempts, is fatal in less than 3 percent of cases.
      -The decision for most people to take their lives happens in less than five minutes from thought to completion.

      Suicide is unpredictable. Please do not keep guns in your home.

  6. I just want to thank you for your continued attention to this issue, and for the thoughtfulness of your discussions about gun control.

  7. Heather Schaffer

    I heard about ONE of those shootings, and not through a news article, but because a friend posted on Facebook a text message a teen girl sent to her mom while the shooter was in her school. I had to go LOOKING for the article, it was the San Clarita shooting. We are absolutely not giving it the attention it deserves. I am so mad.

    1. I’m posting my comment here because I think that the theory behind Suzanne’s comment is a huge part of a larger problem (with two distinct parts) that you’ve failed to fully address, and I believe that we cannot begin to solve gun violence without addressing and solving these other problems first.

      For me, the FIRST underlying problem behind gun violence is VIOLENCE. Yes, in the cases you mention, guns are the means to this violence, but as a society, we really aren’t discussing WHY violence is rising. I am seeking a serious discussion about WHY violence (in general) is on the rise. This means that I’m not interested in discussing this in the isolated context of just violence against blacks, or the isolated context of just violence against women, or the isolated context of gun violence, but the underlying idea of WHY someone is violent against those they don’t even know. Because THIS is what mass shootings are about — perpetuating violence upon largely unknown people for reasons that are completely not understandable. I agree that only focusing on mental health is not the answer, so what really is the answer? I don’t know, but I don’t think we’re discussing it correctly yet.

      Second, Suzanne highlights what I believe is the other great issue. We have truly become an “us” versus “them” society. It’s become a republicans versus democrats issue, and whites versus blacks issues, christians versus muslims issue, etc, etc. In this way, we are again failing to face the real issue — which is that we no longer see each other as we see ourselves. We must be inherently different, and therefore someone different from me must be wrong. This perpetuates the idea that we can solve problems if everyone just believed the same way that I do. This is no way to solve real-world problems And therefore, this idea is, I believe, the true red herring — the idea that we can solve all our problems by legislating a solution —essentially we want to make everyone believe the way we do, and If we can’t accomplish that, at least we can make them obey laws that are in line with my beliefs. This in turn entrenches the “us” versus “them” idea even more.

      If we cannot come together as HUMANS on this planet who truly love and respect each other (for who we are individually without trying to change each other), and have a deep desire to live in peace and harmony together, it doesn’t matter at all what solutions we offer up. None of them will have the power to really change the situation.

      1. What a thoughtful and heartfelt comment, Suzanne. Thank you for participating in the conversation.

        I was actually a bit surprised by your first premise: that the world is seeing a rise in violence. I know there’s been a horrific rise in hate crimes since Trump became president, but overall in the course of our country’s history and of world history, violence is consistently lessening. Here are some good slides that show this decline in violence with data, and explain that education and democracy are two of the big reasons behind the decline in violence.

        As for the recent rise in hate crimes, I need to find the article again, but I read there was a clear connection between Trump being openly hateful on public platforms, and other people being empowered to be hateful too — like his actions have given them permission to expose their worst thoughts. I think that directly speaks to your second point: if laws are instituted that make people behave better, no matter what their motivation is, or how irritated they might be by the laws, they are still behaving better, and that improved behavior is better for everyone. (And sorry if that doesn’t actually speak to your second point — I may have misunderstood it.)

  8. I appreciate you raising several facts, statistics, and perspectives to show how much we can and must do to change the trajectory of gun violence in this country. Gun violence is not inevitable. The NRA and gun lobbyists have largely manipulated the narrative on this issue and deliberately led many Americans to believe we must tolerate this depraved reality to preserve the second amendment.
    As a Moms Demand Action volunteer in Portland, Oregon, I am heartened to read the number of references to the impactful work of this organization. One day at a time, we partner with politicians, teachers, doctors, survivors, faith leaders, responsible gun owners, etc. to make the US a safer place.
    Go to to find your local group or order a red Moms Demand Action t-shirt to show your support. Join us in this fight!

  9. It is a sad commentary on our country that gun violence is no longer a head lined story. It is sad we have allowed school shootings to be so common place that all students do ’emergency’ drills just in case. It is sad we have asked educators to take the responsibility of educating our children to the fullest while not paying them what they are worth, but now they must carry the burden of protecting our children when we send them to school. We are a nation divided, and quite honestly…this is how great nations fall.

  10. i agree with your views on gun ownership, but i don’t see the decrease in coverage necessarily as evidence that shootings have become too mundane. honestly, i see it as a good thing, as one of the goals for many of the shooters is notoriety. maybe with less coverage, there’s less of a draw? fewer teenagers being “inspired” by other shooters and fewer would-be shooters having the image of a front page news as a driving force. here’s a reflection in the LA times about that.

  11. Guns kill people. I Fully support a gun ban and a government buy back of guns. I have no confidence that our government will make any real, lasting progress on this issue. It all feels very hopeless. I truly thought that when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred, there would be some movement on the gun mess. Children being gunned down at school-it still shocks me that it wasn’t enough to create lasting change. I could go on and on. Thanks for your voice!

    1. You’re doing great! I think talking about it is the really helpful. Stating out loud to the other parents you interact with the stats on how dangerous it is to have a gun in the house. Talking about the gun suicide stats. Sometimes I forget how many people don’t know about those numbers.

  12. I live in rural Wisconsin. My husband and I have a few guns in a locked gun case in our home, as do my extended family. My dad hunts occasionally, but my husband occasionally enjoys shooting on our rural property far from our house. We’ve also had to use our guns to deal with sick wildlife (i.e. rabid raccoons) that threatens our pets, as has my dad.

    I 100% agree that reasonable gun change needs to happen in the US, and it’s long overdue. Like you, I’d gladly give up our firearms if it meant this insanity that is the gun culture in the US could end. But I don’t think we’re the problem.

    I wish gun ownership was approached the way cars are in the US. Want to own a gun? Have to get a license. It’s going to be expensive and time consuming and will take at least 3-6 months. Ok, got your license, now, time to register your gun! Just like the DMV. Paperwork, background checks, etc. And then? Want to keep your gun? Have to carry insurance on it to cover against loss, accidents, etc. and maintain your license every so often.

    I started following you a few months ago as my family is preparing to move to France, but I really appreciate your progressive views on so many topics.

    1. “I wish gun ownership was approached the way cars are in the US. Want to own a gun? Have to get a license. It’s going to be expensive and time consuming and will take at least 3-6 months. Ok, got your license, now, time to register your gun! Just like the DMV. Paperwork, background checks, etc. And then? Want to keep your gun? Have to carry insurance on it to cover against loss, accidents, etc. and maintain your license every so often.”

      YES. This makes so much sense to me. (And best of luck on your move prep!)

  13. Re: Columbine, “the correlation with white supremacy is undeniable” is a very bold statement with little evidence offered to back it up. Was that statement based solely on that tweet?

    1. You may want to read the whole thread and the responses of the history professor who wrote it. There’s more information there. I don’t know if her describes the archive sources he’s referring to, but he seems very responsive so you could totally ask him. Also, it’s widely known that Eric, one of the Columbine killers, had an obsession with Nazis and Hitler. Maybe he’s simply referring to that?

  14. Thank you for your continued attention to this issue, Designmom! My elderly father has guns. My mother has confided that sometimes he gets so mad and frustrated she’s afraid he’ll shoot her. Yet NO ONE – not her, not my siblings – knows how to approach this topic. I googled ‘Guns and dementia’ and got sooooo many results it was overwhelming. I visited my parents last year and was determined to get my Dad to agree to give up his guns (he hasn’t used them in forty years: they’re just there). I choked. I worry about my parents, and about random strangers who may knock on the door and get my Dad to pull a gun out – but I didn’t know how to make getting rid of the guns happen.

    1. Dorf, Check if your county or town has a gun buyback. Our church helped sponsor one this year, and while they’re far from a solution to the gun violence epidemic, they can have a big impact on the safety of elderly people and on suicide prevention. Ours was no ID required and no questions asked, and people received gift cards to local grocery stores in exchange for their firearms.

  15. I have worked in a large public hospital in New Zealand for 30 years, and only ever seen 3 gunshot injuries. 2x were from hunters accidentally shot and one was a chap shot by police. That’s it – an average of 1 every 10 years. This year my colleagues in Christchurch had to look after the wounded from the devastating mosque shootings that injured many and left 50 dead.

    Guns/tanks/bombs belong on battlefields – not on suburban streets and not in schools.

  16. I own several dozen guns, have hunted, worked in law enforcement, served in the military and still compete in local pistol/rifle matches. While I admit that our country would be much safer without 300 million plus guns and without the second amendment, it would be dishonest to think that either are going away at least in the near future.

    What we should do is support the reforms that most agree on. Background checks for anyone wanting a firearm should be done regardless as to whether or not the sale is from a dealer. Licensing gun owners has actually been statistically proven to result in fewer shootings. And all firearms should be kept secure from unsupervised minors.

    While we won’t agree on all measures, most of the public (including the shooting public) does agree on on the above measures. Let’s make it clear that being safe firearms isn’t a partisan issue.

  17. Perhaps it’s time to take a hard look at automatic rifle (aka machine gun) owners and track them as potential mass murders or criminally insane. All these guns are used for are killing other humans.

  18. Unless hatred of women (even by other women) and white supremecy are really looked at more with gun control this country will get absolutely nowhere. On to the next horrible mass-shootung headline.

  19. I’ve just recently learned that gun control disproportionately affects BIPOC communities as white supremacists stock up on a lot of guns. Is this a concern? I have always been for very strict gun control (I’m Canadian) but with the unique circumstances in the states… Anyway, I’d just like more information! Otherwise, gun control works very well in Canada as no one is stocked up on guns.

  20. Hello!
    As a Nashville resident, I would like to point out the shooting you referenced took place in 2018, and that is why there is not currently much talk about it. The article you link to is from 2018.
    That said, I completely support much stricter gun control measures. Tennessee is unfortunately on the cusp of passing a law allowing concealed and unconcealed carry without requiring a permit as part of our newly elected Republican governor. It’s infuriating!

    1. Yes, sorry! I was working with a draft from a couple of years ago and I accidentally copied and pasted the wrong sentence and link. I have since updated it.

  21. I am so deeply upset. I am off of social media for lent, and have been trying to stay present with my baby, so I’ve had my phone and news off during the day. I opened up Design Mom as my little one drifted to sleep, to learn this has happened again. If there is still no change after Sandy Hook, it’s hard for me to stay hopeful. If our society is okay with slaughtering first graders, what’s a few folks at the grocery store?

    I have a family dinner this Friday with Republican/gun-owning folks on my husbands side and I am shaking just thinking about being at a table with them.

    As a mom and an educator, I just cannot keep my mouth shut any longer. Republicans and NRA supporters are truly perverse dangers to society.

  22. I’m very interested in 1800s American history and one thing I’ve read about is how very primitive and ultimately limited guns of that era were. Emigrants on the Oregon Trail carried guns passed down to them by the Revolutionaries of the prior century. The Founding Fathers had no idea how weapons would develop. Certainly they weren’t envisioning private citizens brandishing today’s military weaponry so that one disgruntled person could single-handedly kill dozens in minutes, using a legally acquired, mass produced, inexpensive gun. Even if they were envisioning that and thought it part of our fundamental liberty, it’s time for Constitutional reform, because it’s not working for our society anymore.

  23. I’m glad I live in Massachusetts. We have some of the strictest gun laws in the country. People can’t walk around with guns like you can elsewhere and many automatic guns are banned. I like the idea of military service for gun ownership. You want a gun that bad you can work for it.

  24. (I recently watched a Grace Lee Boggs interview, so I’m in a mindset of REIMAGINATION) — it may seem absurd pie-in-the-sky to suggest it, but don’t we need to reframe the issues around gun deaths as a dire need to dismantle capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy??

  25. Another Canadian here, although I’ve lived in the US for almost 20 years now. This is one issue that I just cannot understand. My dad grew up on a cattle ranch in SK and their family had guns for dealing with things like sick cattle and coyotes, and hunting deer for food and so I understand that part of the argument, but I can’t be convinced that this is really what the gun rights discussion is about. No one needs a hand gun or an automatic weapon to perform the kinds of things I mentioned previously. And the necessary guns can certainly be kept locked up in safes separate from ammunition and require the kinds of background checks and approval by the women in the household that others have suggested. I know I am not culturally American and am in the minority on this issue, but I support gun bans, and buy backs, and all the possible programs that will take guns out of circulation. A friend recently shared on Instagram that her daughter has been having anxiety about Biden taking away people’s guns and I have to admit that is basically my dearest political wish.

  26. We must have universal background checks for all gun purchases. It should be more difficult to buy a gun . You have to study and pass tests to buy and drive a car, you’re required to get insurance, why is it so easy to buy a gun? And I’m tired of the argument about” good guys with a gun. “That just doesn’t hold up. Look at all the policemen that are killed by “bad guys with guns”. I am just so tired of this.
    Why should we have to be alert and vigilant as we go about our daily lives? Isn’t mr right to live without worrying about being shot just as important as someone’s right to carry a gun? Sorry I’m ranting here and Probably not making sense but I am sad and tired and mad. Thank you…

  27. Thanks for such great links!

    About mental health—you are so adamant regarding how few cases involve mental illness. But to me it seems like the fact of mental illness (and apparently widespread mental illness) would be just one more reason to have better gun laws. Why do people think that more mental illness = less gun laws??

    Also why isn’t more being done to increase gun regulation if there is significant bipartisan support?

  28. Nicole Reynolds

    As an Australian I find Americans gun debate completely incomprehensible. We’ve had one mass shooting in my lifetime in 1996 which resulted in an entire overhaul of gun control in Australia with a gun buy back system that logged over 600k of firearms returned to police for destruction. To me I can’t even understand how people can argue they NEED to have guns. I do hope one day common sense and a realisation of the importance of life prevails amongst politicians rather than a desire to be backed by rich and powerful gun owners.

  29. Last night Don Lemon listed all the gun violences in chronological order. I feel like that clip should be played on a loop in Congress until someone finally fing gets it.

  30. I’m totally with you, Gabby. This has to stop. Thank you for the numbers on gun related suicides. That is such a huge point.

  31. Dear Gabby, I thank you & Heather Cox Richardson everyday for your thoughtful posts on so many issues. You are so articulate & make such clear sense on issues. I am not concise, clear or articulate in my writing– I write like I talk– lots of rambling (when I tell a story my daughters constantly whisper “condense” to me)! You are such a voice of reason & your words are appreciated more than you know!
    BY THE WAY– the work on the bricks is fascinating– besides being articulate, a great designer, a great writer you sure have an abundance of patience! 👏🏼❣️👍🏻

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