According to a report on the Newsmax website, the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks shooting incidents in the U.S., has found that following the shootings at a Colorado club and the University of Virginia last week the number of mass shootings in the U.S. this year passed 600. It means there is on average more than one mass shooting in the U.S. every day, and there have been nearly 40,000 deaths this year caused by guns.
Over the years shooting incidents in the U.S. have frequently stirred people’s emotions. For example, on May 24 there was a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 19 students and two teachers. After the tragedy there were waves of protests. But figures show that as of Nov. 19 there have been 601 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, killing 621 people and injuring 2,524 others. Isn’t it heartbreaking that so many lives have been lost to shootings?
Despite repeated efforts, the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. could be considered impossible to solve. Many people feel that shootings are “news, yet not news” and many are almost numb to shooting incidents. When Americans say “no” to shootings, most think about gun control. The bizarre thing is that gun control is like a taboo, a magic spell that just cannot be achieved in the U.S. Every time a shocking shooting happens, calls for gun control in U.S. society rise but soon fade away again.
In addition to the deep-rooted concept of “natural gun rights,” gun control in the U.S. is hard to achieve for a number of reasons. For example, the National Rifle Association in the U.S. is an obstacle that there is no getting around. The NRA currently has more than 5 million members and was once known as the “fourth pole of American power”* because of its extraordinary political influence. The organization’s influence has spread to presidential elections, legislative elections and the formulation of law and policy. As a result, gun control is a difficult task in the U.S. Behind this is the much-criticized political chaos of electoral politics, lobbying groups and corporate interests in the U.S.
In practice, banning guns in the U.S. would also involve a constitutional amendment, provided that three-quarters of Congress and two-thirds of state governments in the U.S. agree. How can this be achieved? Federal and state governments often block each other when it comes to gun control, and there are significant differences between the states on the issue. The Democrats are in favor of stricter gun control while the Republicans oppose restrictions on gun ownership. This reduces gun control to empty words. It has created the strange situation where the U.S., with 46% of the world’s civilian firearms for 4.2% of the world’s population, has a much higher death rate from gun violence than any other developed nation.
American academic C. Wright Mills wrote in “The Power Elite” that the U.S. is a military-industrial complex made up of the elite in the Pentagon and the elites of large corporations. It is predictable that gun bans will always be empty words when the military-industrial elite wants to protect its own interests. How can the safety of the people be guaranteed when the issue of gun control or prohibition becomes a battleground for all sides? This is a chronic disease of U.S. democracy. But if you cannot even cure the gun epidemic, how can you still call yourself a beacon of democracy?
*Editor’s Note: This quote, while accurately translated, could not be independently verified.