America is the land of 300 million guns, and combined with a culture that is crazier and more violent than most other "developed" countries, and much more extreme inequality, it is a very lethal combination indeed. And some states, such as Florida, have particularly lax gun laws compared to other states. Of course, the biggest elephant in the room is the fact that at least 98% of mass shooters are MEN. Thanks to the patriarchy and the sort of "toxic masculinity" that it creates, combined with the above factors, too many men end up resorting to violence. Like the Iron Maiden song says, "a briefcase, a lunch, and a man on the edge". With a gun. I mean, what could possibly go wrong, right?
There should be no doubt at this point that something needs to be done. However, we do not believe that banning all guns for everyone, or adopting British or European-style gun laws, is the solution, as the genie is already out of the bottle, and there is also that whole Constitution thingy as well. Thus, the TSAP recommends that the following measures be taken:
- Bring back a new and improved 1994 assault-weapons ban yesterday, this time with more teeth. This time, include all rapid-fire devices and all magazines with more than ten rounds in the ban as well as the previously-banned types of semi-automatic rifles and their knockoffs.
- Remove the 20-year ban on gun violence research, yesterday.
- End the gun-show loophole and implement universal background checks, yesterday.
- Put a significant excise tax on all bullets/ammo, like Chris Rock recommended. (Seriously)
- Treat ammo sales the same as gun sales. Or better yet, treat bullets like Sudafed: must show ID, limit on the number that one can buy, the number bought would be recorded, and if you do buy too many, you will be investigated.
- Pass a "one gun a month" law at the federal level. And consider perhaps putting a limit on the number of guns that an individual can own at a given time, except for antiques/relics/curios.
- Require reporting of lost or stolen guns.
- Regulate firearms like other consumer products in terms of health and safety standards--currently such standards are nonexistent.
- Improve enforcement of existing gun laws, which tend not to be enforced very well these days, and improve state reporting of prohibited persons to NICS. Also, prohibit anyone on the terrorism watch list from buying any guns, period.
- Consider a massive gun buyback program, one that pays significantly more than what the guns are worth on the street. Voluntary for any still-legal weapons, mandatory for any newly-banned ones.
- And last but not least, improve our woefully-inadequate mental healthcare system.
While we don't know why this particular mass murderer did what he did, it was most likely due to a combination of toxic masculinity, easy access to weapons of war (including the obligatory AR-15), and some sort of grudge with the school that kicked him out. He was also known to do reckless stuff, wanted to join the military (most likely for the wrong reasons), and apparently enjoyed hunting. Regardless of the motive, the first two factors are absolutely essential for virtually all mass shootings, whether in schools or otherwise.
And before anyone starts getting on their anti-youth high horse about this, keep in mind that the zero-tolerance school policies put in place in the wake of Columbine, along with the increasingly prison-like atmosphere in schools these days, have done absolutely nothing to stop school shootings from increasing dramatically since then. Such tragic events went from occurring an average of once or twice a year in the 1990s and early 2000s to nearly once a WEEK this year so far as well as the past few years. If anything, one can argue that the "powder keg" atmosphere made things worse in the long run. And of course, most mass shooters in general are over 21 and the vast, vast majority are over 18.
I don't know about you, but my favorite part of the Second Amendment is where it says "well-regulated". Too bad so many Republican Congresscritters who are bought and paid for by the NRA can't seem to read the first half of the freaking sentence. Oh, and nevermind that when it was written, guns at that time fired at most one round per minute, not 600+ per minute like so many of today's killing machines. Not like the gun lobby and their lackeys really do nuance.
UPDATE: Looks like the killer in this case may have been a white nationalist (i.e. "alt-right" white supremacist, or at least a fellow traveler) of some sort despite being at least part Latino. And it appears that he had quite a dark side for a while: a troublemaker, kicked out of school for fighting, stalked a girl, fascinated with guns, and enjoyed killing animals for fun. The FBI was even warned last year that he posted online that he wanted to be "a professional school shooter". But no red flags there, right? Apparently not enough to keep him from getting his hands on an AR-15 and plenty of ammo, at least.