Law enforcement personnel walk outside Uvalde High School after shooting a was reported at Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde, Texas. (William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)
Sensible gun control in the USA is an idea whose time may have come but who is to tell the members of the Grand Old Party that? Such was the senseless carnage let loose by trigger-happy fingers in two recent gut-wrenching mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas that America was shaken up like never before. It was time to act, the ruling Democrats pleaded, and the US House of Representatives passed a wide-ranging Gun Control Bill last week that is very promising, except that the Republicans are likely to shoot it down in the Senate where at least 10 of their votes are needed to give life to this revolutionary law.
The madness of individual ownership of guns may not sink readily in the public consciousness of a nation that grew out of the Wild West and had place for the Second Amendment that guarantees the right to own firearms for protecting oneself.
It seems risible that 18 to 21-year-olds who cannot buy a beer legally can walk into a gun store and pick up a semiautomatic rifle besides a cache of ammunition. The new Bill tries to stop such easy access to impressionable young people who could lose control of their minds as we saw in those two incidents.
How more poignantly could any survivor have brought out the horrors of gun violence than 11-year-old Mia Cerrillo who covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot in the school in Texas? And yet the 223-204 vote was along party lines in the House and the intriguingly balanced Senate is a different story.
The citizens living along the two long coasts of the USA may be all for reasonable gun control but a middle America is too gung-ho about the right to arms and therein lies a tale.
The system itself is unfairly loaded to the extent that right thinking people can do little about even a few sensible restrictions like thorough background checks and gauging of mental health before a person becomes eligible to buy or keep a weapon of mass shooting. Gun control appears a civilisational challenge and still the world’s oldest democracy can do little about it. The emotive appeal of a Texan Democrat says it best – "We can’t save every life, but by God, shouldn’t we try?" And that’s America for you.