Two States, Two Gun Ratings—California, Grade “A”, Texas, Grade “F” May 11, 2023
While too many in the media are obsessed with wacko Demagogue Donald v. Dictator “I Hate Disney’s” FL’s Ron DeSantis, lets concentrate on a real cancer that continues to metastasize and destroy our nation—mass shootings. As we all know by now, on May 6, 2023 in the Dallas suburb of Allen, Texas, a psychotic gunman, probably with white supremacist ties, slaughtered eight people at the Allen Premium Outlets before a police officer finally killed him (nytimes.com, Needelman & Goldman, 5/08/23). The Allen massacre already marks the sixth public mass killing of 2023, about one-third of the way through the calendar year. In a given year, the U.S. sees six mass shootings in a public place, according to James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University professor, a very bad sign (Hauck, USA TODAY, 5/08/23). Texas has now had 17 mass shootings (USA TODAY). Barely one week before, five people were fatally shot in Cleveland, TX, after a neighbor asked a man to stop firing his weapon while a baby slept (AP, Bleiberg, Johnson, & Baldor, 5/09/23). Nearly one year ago, on 5/24/2022, 19 schoolchildren and two adults were killed in Uvalde, County TX (texastribune.org). TX, remember, is a state which prides itself on its lax gun laws. The Lone Star State has never been an advocate of reasonable gun control, which flies in the face of its Wild West history and culture. In a 5/07/2023 Fox News Sunday tweet, TX’s GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, leader of the second most populous state, took “aim” (no pun intended) at CA Democrat Gavin Newsom, governor of the nation’s most populous state. Abbott tweeted, “I think that the state in which the largest number of victims occurred this year is in California, where they have very tough gun laws (6:24 AM Twitter).” Dem. Gov. Newsom responded on Twitter that Abbott “conveniently” ignored the fact that TX’s gun death rate is 73% higher than California’s (huffpost.com, Blanchet, 5/08/23, Twitter, 5/07/23, 12:16 PM). Let’s look at more facts, Gov. Abbott. As former GOP President Ronald Reagan often stated, “Facts are stubborn things.”
According to the Giffords gun control Law Center scorecard, CA has an “A” grade and ranks highest among the 50 states for gun law strength. CA ranks 43rd in the gun death rate, at 9-gun deaths per 100, 000 people. The Giffords gun control Law Center, however, gave TX an “F” grade on the gun law scorecard. The Lone Star Stated ranked 27th, with a gun death rate at 15.6 per 100,000 people (huffpost.com, Blanchet, 5/08/23). According to the Gun Violence Archive, 14,780 people have already been killed this year via gun violence (huffpost.com, 5/08/23).
In another tweet on 5/06/23, Newsom asked whether the TX massacre was “freedom.” Yes, that’s what Second Amendment right to bear arms extremists call running around with guns, rifles, and shotguns. “Freedom.” Freedom to kill and maim. Gov. Newsom rightly called on Congress to take action. Gov. Newsom added, “To be shot at a mall? Shot at school? Shot at church? Shot at the movies? We have become a nation that is more focused on the right to kill than the right to live (huffpost.com, Blanchet, 5/08/23).” Gov. Newsom could not have said it better.
Of course, the overwhelming number of GOP lawmakers are bought and paid for by the NRA (National Rifle Association). The GOP/NRA mantra? “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” No, GOP/NRA. You have it all wrong. “People with guns kill people.” Another GOP refrain bandied about states, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.” “Thoughts and prayers” may be nice, but they are insufficient. President Biden backs Gov. Newsom. In Biden’s strong words, “Too many families have empty chairs at dinner tables. Republican members of Congress cannot continue to meet this epidemic with a shrug.” Hear that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)? Are you listening Cong. Tim Burchett (R-TN)? Cong. Burchett, by enacting sensible gun control, the government will save lives, not “make a mess of things.” Biden asked Congress, once again, to send him a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines which he would immediately sign. He pushed for enacting universal background checks, requiring safe storage, and ending immunity for gun manufacturers (whitehouse.gov/briefing, 5/07/23). The GOP frequently talks about mental health in dealing with mass shooters. That’s a non-starter. IMHO, too many disturbed individuals will still escape detection, even if mental health laws are strengthened. In fact, lots of GOPers who talk about mental health measures to stop gun massacres are often the first to cut millions in funding for mental health. Your “G rand H ypocrite P arty” in action, once again. And if we already didn’t know this, domestic white supremacist terrorists must be dealt with even more strongly as a major threat to our country.
The public must write their legislators and repeatedly demonstrate for sane gun control. We must face the “800- pound gorilla” in the room—abolishing the Senate filibuster or carving out an exception for it when dealing with stopping the murder of innocents. Hear that Senators Manchin and Sinema? Finally, in Campaign 2024, Biden must be re-elected, the GOP/NRA House majority must be defeated, and “Team Blue’s” Senate majority expanded. Again, “people with guns kill people” and people who vote in droves to stop these massacres will ultimately have to get listened to. The safety of this nation depends upon it. Kudos to President Biden and Gov. Newsom for taking on the NRA! A culture of life, “a right to life” free from gun massacres, must prevail in our country.