FARGO — Enough is enough is enough. El Paso. Dayton. Sandy Hook. Parkland. Columbine. Aurora. Orlando. Red Lake. Pittsburgh. Virginia Tech. Las Vegas. Those names and many more send chills down my spine. When will it ever end? The answer is never, with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of the Senate. That includes Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, R-N.D., who are attached to the hip of Trump and the NRA.
Their approach is to do nothing, and hope people forget about these massacres. Doing nothing is not working. People shouldn’t be afraid to shop, to worship, or to go to school.
Why do so many mass shootings happen in the U.S.? What makes us different than other countries? It’s the easy access to guns. Of the estimated 650 million civilian-owned guns in the world, Americans own almost half of them. Americans own the most guns per capita in the world. Only about 4% of the world’s population lives in the U.S., but a third of the world’s mass shootings take place here.
Americans overwhelmingly support common sense gun control. Sorry to say Cramer, Hoeven and their Republican colleagues do not. Here’s what Congress should do. First, there should be thorough universal background checks for people purchasing firearms, including no loopholes for people buying firearms at gun shows. Second, there should be an assault weapons ban. Law abiding citizens don’t need these weapons that are often used to commit mass murder.
Third, ban high capacity magazines. Some of those magazines are capable of firing almost 100 rounds at a time. That makes it very easy to kill many people in a quick period of time. No law abiding citizen needs that kind of firepower. And fourth, pass red flag laws. Those laws allow judges, at the urging of law enforcement or families, to prevent dangerous people from possessing firearms for up to one year. The Fargo and West Fargo police chiefs support red flag laws.
These ideas won’t eliminate mass shootings, but should reduce them. Americans should always be able to keep their hunting rifles or their guns for self-defense. Ignore the NRA’s scare tactics, that the government will come for all your guns.
Another thing that will help is for Trump to stop his divisive, hateful and dangerous rhetoric. That includes calling Mexicans criminals and rapists, calling migrants animals, telling women of color to go back where they came from, and calling violent and bigoted neo-Nazis very fine people. That rhetoric inspires extremists to commit violence. The El Paso shooter was out to kill Hispanics. The Pittsburgh shooter was out to kill Jewish people because he believed they were supporting Central American migrant caravans.
The least Cramer and Hoeven could do is condemn Trump’s comments. By saying nothing, they either shamefully support them, or they are spineless.
If you don’t like this column, you have my thoughts and prayers.