Enough is enough

The guns and bombs, the rockets and the warships, all are symbols of human failure. 

I’m English. I live in the United Kingdom. My politics are informed by my life here in the UK and, to a lesser extent by what I see happening around me in the world.

So, it’s not really any of my business to comment on what happens in other countries, the citizens of whose daily lives I know very little about.

That said, I was horrified to watch the events of Sunday night unfold in Las Vegas, the US city I know best and the one I’ve visited most often.

It begs the question – why? Why, after Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after the Orlando nightclub, San Bernardino, Charleston, Aurora, Colorado. Oakland, Tucson, Binghamton, N.Y. are we still having to ask the question why is more not being done about gun control?

The argument trotted out by the NRA and those wedded to the 2nd Amendment is that ‘guns don’t kill people. People kill people’.  Yes, true. People with access to guns kill people.

Nevada has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the US, allowing the open carrying of firearms and honours concealed weapon permits issued in a number of other states.

However, in recent years it has been looking at bringing in limitations on the use and sale of firearms. It’s probably no coincidence that the state voted Democrat in the last three presidential elections.

President Trump yesterday condemned the perpetrator as an ‘a very, very sick individual,’ No shit, Sherlock. Anyone who collects  an arsenal of 42 firearms, explosives and thousands of ammunition rounds at home and in a hotel room before unleashing terror on 22,000 unsuspecting concert goers could also arguably be called a terrorist, a white, rich middle-class one. How does someone collect that many weapons of destruction and not get spotted by the authorities? Because it wasn’t illegal and it wasn’t unusual either.

Before writing this, I looked at a list of America’s worst gun crimes in the past 20 years and stopped before I’d even got 10 years through it. It’s horrifying.

For too long, the gun lobby has had a hand in writing the US gun laws and, as a result, the country has the highest rate of gun homicides of any developed nation.  The Second Amendment, the one that allows citizens to bear arms to protect themselves, was written in different times, when a frontiersman really did need to carry a gun to protect him and his family against marauders. Times change. They have to if a nation is to truly develop.

I know that this blog has readers in the US and some of you may think I’m speaking out of turn. If you do, so be it. 

Talk to any British Neighbourhood watch programme and they will tell you the police advice is to secure your property so that it make it difficult for burglars to access it. If it looks like your property is going to be more difficult to get into than your neighbour’s, chances are your neighbour’s is the one that will be targeted. Make it harder for people with criminal intent to commit criminal acts.

America, I beg you, start applying this concept to your gun laws.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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