Gun Violence
7:00 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Something Has To Be Done Or We Are Ignoring The Carnage

Credit Tom Chalkley

Something Has To Be Done Or We Are Ignoring The Carnage

“In Maryland,” a new radio ad begins, “we stood up. Because something had to be done.” What the Maryland General Assembly did was require background checks and fingerprinting for buyers of handguns as of October 1 – hence the new advertisement.

Something has to be done or we are ignoring the carnage. We live with an ignominious list of familiar place names: Columbine, Aurora, Newtown, and now a Naval facility in Washington, D.C. In some states, the do-nothing forces recently recalled two Colorado legislators who favored background checks and limits on magazines.

Something has to be done, but it’s not easy providing for infinite eventualities. Vincent DeMarco, president of Marylanders Against Gun Violence, readily concedes the new law is “not a panacea.” But, he says, states that have these measures have lower gun death rates. Maryland’s new law, he said “will save lives.”

The Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, says states with the weakest gun laws suffer a level of gun violence twice as high – 104 per cent –  as the 10 states with the strongest laws.

“Are you listening, Congress?” says the new radio ad in Maryland. Congress would not do what Maryland has done. The gun lobby prevails there.

There is no life lobby. But maybe Marylanders Against Gun Violence fills that role. Who knows if something like the Maryland law would have stopped – or slowed – Aaron Alexis somewhere along his murderous path.

Maybe not. But doing something must be better than doing nothing.

Your comments are welcome at fsmith@wypr.org.

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