Friday, 6 January 2017

Come on Trump, put a brake on gun violence

The BBC is reporting that "Multiple people" have been shot dead by a lone gunman at Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida. Such stories don’t seem to carry any shock value any more. Thus far in 2017 the following mass shootings have occurred in the USA:

1st January 1 killed and 3 injured in Dallas, Texas
1st January 7 injured in Miami, Florida
1st January 5 injured in Winstonville, Mississippi
3rd January 4 injured in Allen, Texas
4th January 3 killed and 1 injured in Fontana, California
6th January 5 killed and 8 injured in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – latest figures

In 2016 there were 385 mass shootings in the US. Actual numbers of fatalities is quite difficult to pin down. But the numbers must run into the hundreds. Added together some 15,999-people died resulting from guns in 2016.

Both Clinton and Obama attempted to clamp down on gun deaths during their tenures of office. But of course, they hit the powerful gun lobby wall led by the influential lobbyists the National Rifle Association.

With the Trump presidency looming gun control is a remote dream. On Chicago’s gun violence Trump Tweeted earlier this week: “Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can't do it he must ask for Federal help!”

Though unclear on precisely what the Federal help would look like, Trump’s transition team stated, “It was open to ideas from the FBI”. The FBI cannot solve the endemic problem of gun violence in the USA. No, the solution lies in Federal gun control; and Trump, not the FBI, is better placed to push this policy.

Yet when we look at Trump’s record on gun control we see he opposes placing restrictions on assault weapon sales. He wants to fix defection gun legislation in place in order to avoid infringing on Second Amendment rights. In May 2016, the NRA endorsed Trumps candidacy.  

The last week’s record on gun violence in the US presages a gloomy future for the States. Tomorrow, next week or next month will see more families riven by grief as loved one’s lives are snuffed out by easily accessible guns. Classroom, mall, airport and street shootings will monotonously continue to appear on the headlines of our newspapers. Messages of condolence will stream across the Pond; and the gun violence will continue its cycle of death and injury.

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