By Tom Siebert
Gun violence is as American as apple pie. Growing up, all of my heroes were shot to death: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, and John Lennon.
One of the first mass shootings in modern times occurred on Aug. 1, 1966, when Charles Whitman killed 14 people and wounded 32 at the University of Texas at Austin. Since then, the names of the places where these gun massacres have occurred are a bloody blur: San Ysidro, Killeen, Long Island Railroad, Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Northern Illinois University, Aurora, Tucson, Sandy Hook, Charleston, San Bernardino, Orlando, Dallas.
During the past 50 years, millions of Americans have been killed or injured by guns, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Easy access to guns gravely exacerbates nearly every major problem that America faces: crime, terrorism, racism, bigotry, mental illness, police brutality, and domestic violence.
This half-century epidemic of gun violence will continue to spatter blood all across the nation until we surviving Americans demand the only antidote: strict, national gun-control laws. These include trigger locks on all guns; universal background checks on all gun purchases; limits on gun and ammunition purchases; a ban on all semi-automatic weapons; long, mandatory prison sentences for gun crimes; and gun detectors in all workplaces, stores, restaurants, theaters, and churches––as well as on all public transportation.
No one’s Second Amendment rights would be violated by these common sense gun-safety measures. You don’t need war weapons to shoot a burglar or Bambi.