In early October, the Queens Tribune ran a front-page editorial addressing our nation’s gun laws and the Second Amendment following a mass shooting in Las Vegas that was noted to be the worst in U.S. history. On Sunday, just short of a month after that shooting, Devin P. Kelley walked into a Texas church and fatally shot 26 parishioners with a military-style rifle, resulting in the worst mass shooting in Texas history.
Nearly every year in the United States, a shooting of this type is referred to as one of the worst ever perpetrated—yet Congress continues to avoid a serious discussion on gun control. After this most recent incident, the president of the United States shrugged off a discussion on gun control and said that vetting wouldn’t have made any difference in this instance.
This is—like many of the president’s pronouncements—not true. Kelley, who was a former member of the Air Force, had previously been convicted of domestic assault on his wife and stepson, whose skull he once cracked. Therefore, he should not have been allowed to legally purchase the weapon that he used to carry out the shooting. The Air Force has noted that it is investigating whether Kelley’s convictions had not been properly reported to the federal database for background checks for firearms.
There will be no changes to U.S. gun laws until the members of Congress who are deep in the pockets of the powerful National Rifle Association are either overwhelmingly pressured to make them or voted out of office. As long as voters remain apathetic (although New York City has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws), we will fail to hold Congress members’ feet to the fire on the issue of gun control—and we can expect more bloodbaths carried out in our communities.
In other words, our national conversation on guns this week has, once again, been all for show. It will be picked up briefly again in the coming weeks or months after the next shooting. We need a serious review of the Second Amendment now, not later.