Following the most recent mass killing in the United States, this time in a shopping mall in Allen, Texas, which left eight dead and seven injured, President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass a law that would prohibit the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to civilians, make background checks on those who wish to buy a weapon mandatory, require those in possession of guns to store their weapons securely and put an end to the immunity enjoyed by gun manufacturers. All this in the hope of avoiding “the senseless acts of violence” like the one that took place last Saturday in Allen, the 199th incident of its kind this year.
Unfortunately, there is no chance the president’s law will be enacted by Congress, where Republicans who favor the arming of civilians have been systematically blocking, for decades, any effort to give firearm sales at least a regulatory framework to reduce the likelihood that an assault weapon or semi-automatic pistol would get into the hands of an unstable person.
Their central argument is based on the Second Amendment, which provides, “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.”
It is as insane, however, to assume this right is absolute, as it is to claim that the amendment does not need regulating or an update. The Second Amendment was ratified at the end of the 18th century when firearms were only capable of firing one shot at a time and needed to be loaded before each shot. Under the circumstances in which Thomas Jefferson drafted the law, it would have been impossible for someone to perpetrate the kind of slaughter that is taking place today in American streets, schools, churches, shopping malls, cultural venues, sport centers and private homes; incidents which have in the past year increased to the rate of more than one each day.
The impact of this violence on our neighbor is devastating. In 2021 alone, for example, 10 times more United States citizens died from firearm-related wounds (45,000, including suicides) than the number of American soldiers killed in the Iraq War (4,497) between 2003 and 2011. The reality, however, that in the U.S. anyone can get their hands on a weapon like the AR-15 rifle with nothing more than verification in a police database and an ID check (or even without these things when the sales take place at fairs and exhibitions) has extremely serious consequences beyond its borders. it has been proven that 7 out of 10 guns belonging to Mexican criminal gang members come from the U.S. market, where the lack of regulation enables wholesale purchases destined for these organizations. Estimates show that year after year, the number of firearms crossing the border between Mexico and the United States comes to 200,000.
Most exasperating of all, as mentioned above, Biden’s call to Congress to enact legislation has no future. The National Rifle Association, which is committed to arming civilians without any control, spends enormous amounts of money financing presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections, as well as discrediting politicians who support gun control.
At the end of the day, however, it’s not just citizens behind the NRA, and there are undoubtedly millions who want to continue to “keep and bear Arms,” but above all, there are huge consortia that manufacture and market these instruments of death. All of them – politicians, NRA leaders and weapons manufacturers – have a central and undeniable responsibility for the deaths and massacres like the one last Saturday in Allen, Texas, and for the increase in the firepower of criminal organizations in Mexico and Latin America.
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