I thought Sandy Hook would start serious gun control debate in the US.
I mean - dozens of 6- and 7-year old kids! Surely that was the wake-up call?
I was wrong.
Then I thought the Orlando nightclub shooting would start serious debate.
49 people dead, 50+ injured - surely that had to put things over the edge?
I guess not.
And then I thought surely, Las Vegas, with 58 people dead and -hundreds- injured.
This has to be the mass shooting that finally gets people to wake up to the fact that ‘thoughts and prayers’ won’t actually change anything.
Now we’ve had two mass shootings within the same day. We’re barely making sense of 20 dead in El Paso, and now we have dozens killed or injured in Ohio.
What’s the over/under on how many Republicans will insist that ‘now is not the time to politicize’ the deaths with talk of gun control?
What will it take for there to be meaningful (i.e., Republicans actually on board) gun control debate in this country? Or are we stuck for another couple of decades waiting for the current old guard to die out?
In my opinion, if Sandy Hook didn’t lead to meaningful reform, there is nothing in the world that will. The only question is how much political capital will be lit on fire by Democratic politicians calling for wide ranging gun restrictions.
I suspect having a bunch of black people walk around proclaiming and displaying their ‘right to carry’ would have a pretty rapid reaction…after, of course, several dozen POC being shot for demonstrating said right.
I would guess it would have to be something so awful that Congress couldn’t be all " So, guns! Second Amendment! Now is not the time to talk gun control!" without getting beat up by the public. Like someone shooting thousands at the Superbowl or Disney World.
We’re not supposed to talk about gun control or politics in general in the immediate aftermath of shootings. With the pace picking up, there will always be another shooting in the immediate aftermath of the last one, meaning that there will never be an appropriate time to talk about gun control and politics.
Relatively small gun control policies (i.e. background checks for all) would only have a negligible effect on mass shootings, IMO. Larger gun control measures (i.e. banning semi-automatics, tracking all guns and purchases, etc.) are political infeasible. Maybe there’s a sweet spot of policies that could reduce body counts – like banning large magazines – but who knows. I don’t foresee any significant change in mass shootings without a sea change in American culture and society.
OP lists several well-publisized mass shootings. As I and everyone else here is at neglible risk of harm from such an event, it just doesn’t make it very high on a list of topics that warrant serious debate on policy changes.
The risk of dying from a mass shooting is minimal - but that wasn’t the point.
Tens of thousands of people die from firearms in the US, compared with minimal firearm deaths in just about every other developed nation on earth. I’m sure I don’t need to give the whole rhyme 'n verse here.
Dozens of people being shot and killed every day, one or two at a time, all across the country? Nobody cares. Most of the time it only makes the local newspaper.
The only hope we have of change is that some event becomes a catalyst. Sexual assault and harassment has been a problem for women for decades, but it took the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby to start the MeToo movement.
One would have hoped that of all the many tragic events in recent years, one of them would have sparked something - Australia had Port Arthur. But as noted - if Sandy Hook didn’t result in any meaningful change in the US, probably nothing will.
That’s not a debate. That’s a group think echo chamber. We debate gun control here all the time and it always boils down to one side wanting a ban and/or to regulate guns out of existence vs. the other side who want neither.
It took generations to get is to the point that a very few people now think it’s ok to shoot up a shopping mall. To think that a stroke of a pen will somehow change that is wishful thinking at best.
I doubt there will ever be such a catalyst in the US. A majority of Americans already want gun control, so that’s not really the problem. Rather, the problem is that there isn’t enough of the right kind of political power being exerted in the right direction, and that is because we have effectively a minority government in power. Republicans are a minority government; they have received fewer votes and Democrats, and yet they still have more power.
I think the Democrats/progressives need better outreach campaigns in these areas and need to connect the interests of people in rural America with those in the cities. It sounds crazy, but it may not be that far-fetched when you consider that Kansas - yes, freaking Kansas - was once considered a progressive hotbed. During the 1930s, FDR was successful at tying together economic issues and concerns of farmers and rural Americans with those who lived in cities. I admit that I sometimes throw shade at people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, but I’ll give them credit for visiting rural America and not just staying safe in cities and suburbs.
To address the issue of guns specifically, progressives need to get face time in these rural areas through town halls and other formats. Republicans and the NRA have not necessarily been successful in persuading the majority of Americans that gun control is a bad idea; rather, they’ve been successful at persuading just enough Americans in these white, conservative, Christian communities to vote against “liberal elites” in diverse cities. The Republicans and the NRA are in a position where they’re using rural (white and Christian) nationalism to defend their version of America. Take enough of that support away, and you’ll see a meaningful shift toward more common sense gun control legislation.
This is, historically, what has led to gun control. Not just the famous Reagan example, but more generally when politicians imagine the assailants to be Black then they will legislate.
As you say, though, in this climate such a thing is just as likely to spiral into widespread violence as to lead to meaningful policy change. So the answer to the OP is probably: civil war or something similar.
Yet it was precisely how you framed your OP. Instead of framing a policy discussion around rational risk assessment, you went straight for the sensational.
But in the sense of larger “gun violence”, what will it take? My guess is it will take convincing people they and their immediate spheres are at non-negligible risk even if they are not suicidal, are not in a relationship with an abuser, are not involved in criminal activity, and are not associating with people who are. And that some other policy isn’t a better solution.
Personally it’s little skin off my back if you just ban them. But do-somethingism makes for poor policy