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  • Writer's pictureGregory N. Austin

The Cost of the Second Amendment

Let those who are thoughtless over losing children at the altar of gun religion “and the Second Amendment”, be shamed into saving lives. If they won't do it to save lives, maybe they would do it to to save billions of dollars. This is a peculiar American problem, unique to our country only. Let’s embrace good will and save lives, and money, by doing so.

Congress Woman Luna from Florida noting that republicans care more about guns than children
Anna Paulina Luna U.S. House of Representative member from Florida's 13 District

One of the costliest financial expenses in the United States today comes about as a result of mass shootings. We expend billions and billions of dollars over these shootings. The total cost is obvious and not so obvious. The obvious costs are the emotional pain and life long trauma of the survivors, parents, families and communities.


The not-so-obvious cost is actually financial. Imagine the cost (in dollars and lost education time) to our education systems of children being taught “active shooter drills” at almost every elementary, middle and high school in the nation. Because of these deaths that caused so much sadness, we forget there is also medical expenses (physical and emotional), sometimes life time care is needed, investigation expenses, lawsuits and economic disruption in the community that often lasts for months or even years. Not to mention entire schools that must be demolished and rebuilt in an attempt to lessen an event's impact on future generations. As we all know, public schools are not the only places impacted. Now colleges, public places, private schools, restaurants, and churches, can all end up as a random target.


Why do we allow these avoidable events to continue? No other society suffers from these mass shootings like our country. What is the deal here? Have we really lost our minds to continue this madness and expense? A more important question might be, why do America's right-wing conservative politicians who pound the podium demanding tax cuts support the idea of spending billions of dollars on the effects of gun violence? Why does the conservative right wing media machine that spews complaints about liberal policies that "cost too much" never mention that they fully support and even encourage the spending of these billions on the aftermath of mass shootings?


The answer is because, in the United States the gun lobby, the gun manufacturers, the NRA, and assault rifle lapel pin wearing Republican legislators all venerate guns over the lives of innocent children. The emotional and economic cost of these shootings could be avoided. The deaths from guns in the United States is nearly 50,000 a year.


Imagine, shootings where a 9-year old is shot by a mass murderer and loses his or her face and has to have DNA tests performed for identification. The number one cause of death for minors in the United States is from guns. And the number two reason is suicide. I believe this is a cruel and unusual circumstance that requires a civil remedy. Only a demented society would tolerate these tragedies.


In an era when the U.S. has a full-time military, a state national guard, state police and local police and Sheriffs—where is the need for the Second Amendment’s call for “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…?”


C’mon. We must get over the myth that citizens should be well armed with military style weapons to protect the state. Today most of those that venerate these guns, (especially assault weapons), do it for personal reasons. Like the fear of the state, the fear of their neighbor, or the fear of some forthcoming events still undetermined. Those of us unable to conjure up these fears must tolerate a society overwhelmed with 600 mass shootings a year. We all know that the AR 15 assault weapon is the weapon of choice for the deranged shooter, bent on taking out frustrations against innocent victims.


In 1994, congressman Tom Foley, Speaker of the House, voted to ban assault weapons for a 10-year period. He lost his seat in Congress over that vote. Did he whine and lament his loss? No, he did not. He seemed pleased to vote his conscience even though it ended his political career. Meanwhile, that assault weapon ban that ran out after 10 years, had saved the country by a 70% reduction in mass shootings. Since that time, the removal of the ban on assault weapons has returned the mayhem of mass shootings to 600 a year.


The cost spent on these mass shootings is profoundly based on ignorance. Especially when there are reasonable ways to correct the problem. In Australia, New Zealand, and Canada they simply ban assault weapons. Did it suspend mass attacks? Yes, it did.


The Washington Post newspaper has received copies of mass shooting photographs from the crime scenes. Some of these photographs show the victims that required DNA testing for identification. Should we not make the general public observe the horror of these shootings by releasing these photos? How else are we going to cure this madness and get back to sanity? Do assault weapons really need to be a legal part of civilian firearm ownership?


Let’s put innocent lives ahead of the veneration of guns. Handguns and hunting equipment should still be fully protected. But we should start a program of buybacks on all assault weapons to return us to a more sane society. We absolutely must be responsible parents to our children.


Let those who are thoughtless over losing children at the altar of gun religion “and the Second Amendment”, be shamed into saving lives. If they won't do it to save lives, maybe they would do it to to save billions of dollars. This is a peculiar American problem, unique to our country only. Let’s embrace good will and save lives, and money, by doing so.

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