Once again America finds itself grappling with not one but two mass shootings in a matter of days. A man killed 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado, grocery store on March 22. Another man killed eight people in a series of shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16.
Officials said that the Boulder shooter used an AR-15-style pistol modified with an arm brace.
According to the Washington Post, Boulder officials barred assault weapons in 2018 in efforts to prevent mass shootings like that of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The ban was blocked in court 10 days before the gunman opened fire.
“No other details were released as to when or how the suspect obtained the AR-15-style firearm six days before the shooting, or whether the gun was used at the King Soopers grocery store. Police have yet to say whether the ordinance would have prevented him from buying or possessing the weapon within city limits,” the Post reported last week.
These back-to-back mass shootings demonstrate the continuing issue of gun accessibility in America. Our right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. But we must tighten the systems in place that allow easy access to firearms.
The goal is not to take away guns from responsible owners who follow the process and are educated in firearm safety. Instead, the goal is to make sure the guns are not ending up in the hands of people who wish to inflict harm upon innocent people going about their lives — in a grocery store, for example.
We must work toward solutions both in our communities and through legislation. This means maintaining effort and time spent toward advocacy. We need to support our communities by increasing accessibility to mental health services. We must look out for one another in our own communities. After these horrific events, there is almost always a family member, friend or neighbor who tells the press that the signs were there and no one said anything.
If you see something, say something.
Our legislators must stop with the tone deaf, performative statements following every mass shooting. They call for change until the next news event takes over the headlines and the attention is turned away. It is not just our legislators; we are very good as a collective society at swiveling our conversations based on the hot topic of the day or week.
We must lobby our legislators to pass reasonable gun control bills removing the loopholes of the background check system. We must also increase education for gun owners and those wishing to become gun owners.
It should not be easier and require less paperwork to get a gun than to vote or adopt an animal.