Our View: Throw The Bums Out

Opinion

We are lucky to live in Massachusetts. Our state has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, Massachusetts has the lowest rate of gun ownership in the country and the second lowest gun rate death at 3.7 per 100,000 residents (second only to Hawaii). Gun owners are required to keep firearms locked away when not in the owner's immediate control and must pass a safety test before being granted a license by local police. The state has a Red Flag law, allowing judges to take guns away from residents deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, and clips for semi-automatic weapons are restricted to 10 rounds. Residents must be 21 years or older to purchase semi-automatic weapons; 18 year olds can't walk into a gun shop in Massachusetts and buy an AR-15-style weapon.

That doesn't mean that there aren't thousands – probably hundreds of thousands – of guns in Massachusetts, and the potential for a mass shooting in the state looms just as large as it does elsewhere. School shootings in the state, however, are rare; there have been only a couple in the past two decades. The arrest of a Hyannis man last week for posting threats to a school on Facebook, however, is a reminder that the possibility still exists.

Despite the fact that stricter gun control laws in Massachusetts show that even small steps can save lives, we have absolutely no confidence that federal legislators will make any progress in protecting citizens, especially school kids, from out-of-control gun violence. They should be ashamed of themselves. A number of Republicans excoriated Democrats for “politicizing” last week's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. This is dissembling at its most pernicious. Mass shootings and gun control are at their core political issues, and to pretend otherwise is to stick your head in the sand. Oh, wait – that's what folks like Ted Cruz and the NRA are best at. Pretending cultural issues, video games and the decline in churchgoing are responsible, rather than the fact that there are 120 guns for every 100 citizens of our country. Or that these sort of incidents don't happen in any other country, even though those same social issues transcend borders. Cruz and others of his ilk talk out of both sides of their mouths, pretending that common sense restrictions such as strict background checks, Red Flag laws and a ban on assault weapons – which was in effect from 1994 to 2004 and reduced the deadliness of mass shootings (though the chief cause of gun deaths in the U.S., suicide, was impacted little) – do not work. Assault weapons are made for one thing: killing, which they do swiftly and efficiently. Armed guards at schools, promoted by Cruz and other gun lobby sycophants, have not been proven to be effective; there was supposed to be an armed guard at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde!

So here in Massachusetts, with strict and commonsense gun laws, we are safer than other areas of the country, but because the wild west still apparently exits in Texas and other states, everyone's safety is diminished. It's time for meaningful action at the federal level, which a majority of Americans support. If it doesn't happen this time, we should throw the bums out.