To the Editor:
Since the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub, we have averaged more than one mass shooting a day. At least 26 people were killed during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas, last weekend. The New York City attack, the only terrorist attack involving an immigrant carried out on U.S. soil this year, resulted in President Donald Trump almost immediately excoriating the justice system, law enforcement agencies and immigration programs.
Trump immediately blamed the Sutherland Springs killings on a mental health problem, saying it had nothing to do with U.S. gun laws. Of course, if the alleged perpetrator was a very deranged individual, how did our blameless gun laws allow him to obtain his arsenal?
We now hear, almost as if to excuse the laxity of our gun laws, that the U.S. Air Force’s failure to submit the killer’s criminal record to the FBI allowed the killer to purchase his weapons legally. Various studies show that a sizable percentage of legal gun sales occur without the necessity of any kind of background check. Therefore, it is unclear how the killer’s inclusion on some FBI list would have impeded his ability to purchase his weapons legally. The gun laws of Texas are extremely lax and would have required no licensing on the killer’s part for any of the weapons he used.
Make no mistake, the killer’s ability to carry out this terrorist attack would have been in no way made more difficult had he been included on some FBI list. It is the surfeit of weapons and the easy ways in which weapons can be acquired that allowed this outrage.
Terrorism’s goal is to invoke nervousness, unease and fear in a populace undergoing its daily routine. These daily mass shootings do just that.
Perhaps it is time for us to classify mass shootings as acts of terror. Then it may be possible to undo the NRA’s success in making the Second Amendment a false idol that all too many Americans and politicians worship.
Doris Macdonald and Michael Van Buer