Firearm Democracy

“Guns don’t kill people – Americans kill people,” noted filmmaker Michael Moore once said.

On November 5, about a month after the Las Vegas massacre, described as the largest in the United States’ recent history, another similar event occurred, this time in Texas, when a man opened fire killing at least 27 people and injuring dozens more, who were congregated in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

After so many deaths in the United States due to shootings, the same question repeatedly arises: is the free sale of firearms democracy? In a free and democratic country, people are not afraid to go out into the streets. In the face of so much violence, the possession of guns does not seem to be the solution for U.S. citizens to feel safe.

The use of firearms is permitted by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution adopted December 15, 1791. Since then, just how many massacres have taken place in the name of this so-called “freedom?” Despite the numerous fatalities and constant criticism, the U.S. Senate continues to refuse to pass legislation restricting the sale and use of firearms.

Arms sales in the most powerful country in the world are a multi-million dollar business and the National Rifle Association (NRA) works to protect this “right.”

Following the shooting in Texas, described as the fourth deadliest in the history of the United States, President Donald Trump stated in a press conference during his tour of five Asian countries that it was the result of a “mental health problem” and not a “guns situation.”

Such a statement, like so many of his administration, reveals a huge contradiction, because as part of his good relations with the National Rifle Association, according to the news agency EFE, “U.S. President Donald Trump approved in March the suspension of a regulation promoted by former President Barack Obama to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns, marking a victory for pro-gun groups such as the aforementioned NRA.”

According to the same source, “the norm, which was estimated to affect 75,000 people, required the Social Security Administration to notify the federal government of the names of people with a history of mental illness to prevent them from buying weapons.”

In addition, within the series of executive orders on gun control approved by Obama, vendors must have licenses to sell and conduct background checks, and the sale of military-style assault weapons is banned.

As Donald Trump works to reverse such regulations signed by his predecessor, many families, like those that were affected in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, will face the possibility of one day mourning a loved one. Each year the lives of more than 30,000 Americans are cut short by guns, according to official figures.

Weapons do not make a person feel better. Knowing that a gun or a rifle can end the life of another human being should be reason enough not to freely purchase them.

According to a study conducted by U.S. researcher Michael Siegel, some 300 million firearms are in circulation in the United States, that’s almost one per person. The conclusion of this study emphasizes that “for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%.” These are not very encouraging figures for a society experiencing decisive moments, while it continues to promote and impose its bloodstained ideal of “democracy.”

This article originally appeared in Granma.