And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. — Hebrews 11:4b
The recent massacre in Las Vegas has once again forced our nation to come to grips with the need to pass responsible gun laws.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said, “I think it’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions if there are any,” and President Donald J. Trump told reporters Wednesday, “We are not going to talk about that today.”
The question is: When are we going to talk about it? And more importantly, when are we going stop talking about it and enact responsible gun laws!
The Las Vegas massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history. Prior to Las Vegas, there had been more than 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America.
This epidemic is becoming alarmingly familiar to American society. And, increasingly methodical and vile.
Stephen Paddock, the identified mass killer, used a semi-automatic gun and unloaded several rounds of ammunition for 10 minutes into the night air on the Las Vegas Strip, the busiest and most congested area in Las Vegas.
When we do not enact sensible gun laws, the message we are sending to the American public is that mass shooting is now normalized behavior in our country.
Why don’t lawmakers pass real gun laws? And how much blood must be shed before political leaders do so?
The tragic events that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School—when 20 innocent young children in the first grade and six adults lost their lives— should have shaken us to the core. This should have been a defining moment for America. We should have turned the page then to enact stiffer gun laws and gun control.
Now is the time for us to stop the senseless and preventable murders.
Gun violence in America is as commonplace as being killed in a car crash. This is not the norm around the world and should not be the norm in America!
When you compare gun violence to other advanced countries, America is an outlier. Other countries have substantially lower death rates from gun homicide because of smart, accountable gun laws.
For instance, statistics show that in England – only one out of every million people die from gun violence. Comparatively, in Japan – one in 10 million dies from gun violence.
Mass shootings are preventable.
As the nation on earth with the most guns, our elected political leaders must make it mandatory that owners are trained and licensed regularly to renew their permits akin to renewing your driver’s license.
We must recognize that gun violence is a public health problem and allow the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the nation’s public health agency, to make recommendations on different ways that we can reduce gun violence (because they currently are not allowed).
The CDC should collaborate with the National Institute of Health (NIH) to identify the causes of gun violence, how we can be vigilant and establish preventative measures. The CDC should be at the forefront to create the infrastructure to develop strategies to prevent gun violence.
It is not that I am against the 2nd Amendment. As a sports hunter, I believe in it. However, I also believe there should be sensible gun laws.
High-capacity magazines are not needed for hunting and certainly not for civilians. Such equipment should only be used in war. No one should have access to a weapon that can unload at rapid fire into our communities.
At the March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King said, “We are faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such as thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
Beloved, the time is now and it is urgent.
We are stronger together than apart.
We must work together to restore our beloved America to a safe country where our children can explore and roam without the fear of being killed at the hands of a gun.
Yes, the Bible is correct, the blood and faith of Abel still speak, even though he is dead.
As always, keep the faith!
Kevin R. Johnson, Ed.D. is a frequent columnist and the lead pastor of Dare to Imagine Church, 6611 Ardleigh St., Philadelphia, PA. Follow him on Twitter @drkrj.