On November 13 there were four mass shootings across the nation. Four.
Enfield, NC saw one person killed and five injured. Philadelphia had four injured. One person was killed and seven injured in Omaha.
Charlottesville, Virginia drew the most national attention after three were killed and two others injured.
A former University of Virginia football player, 22, is alleged to have shot and killed three UVA football players and injured two others, including Michael Hollins, a Baton Rouge University Laboratory High School graduate who was a linebacker and running back and helped start the team lead 3A state championships in 2017 and 2018. He is listed as a junior running back on the UVA roster and is said to be recovering from surgery.
The suspect was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony. Other charges were pending.
There are far more shootings that are not mass shootings, but there are also far too many mass shootings, particularly in schools and public spaces. It hurts to know that we can expect another mass shooting any day. It hurts more when one or more of us is hurt or killed.
We may not be able to prevent mass shootings, but we can certainly reduce the number of such incidents. We have differing views on how and if the Second Amendment is a factor and how best to address these situations with mental health and gun control measures.
But nobody wants this to continue.
The Louisiana legislature can address this issue and legislate to restrict access to guns, particularly automatic weapons, and to establish gun violence as a public health concern.
The UVA shooting took place with a handgun on the bus returning from a field trip to a theater in Washington. Many other gunfights have been cataloged using long guns, including guns that can easily be converted to use magazines with dozens of fast-firing bullets. No other civilized country in the world allows such easy access to weapons, which have been repeatedly repurposed as instruments of mass murder.
At the federal level, Congress has provided limited responses after the Uvalde Elementary School shooting in Texas, and proposals from the Senate and House of Representatives have varied. But the law that President Joe Biden ultimately sent and signed into law included funding for states to enact so-called red flags, which allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous. No such law currently exists in Louisiana, but Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has expressed support for the idea.
The new law will also provide money for a range of mental health initiatives. Both sides of the debate have physicians in their assemblies like US Senator Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, who has helped broker changes in this area.
A law passed by the Democratic Party this year would have banned the sale of semi-automatic guns to anyone under the age of 21, a provision that could have stopped the 18-year-old Texas gunman. Finally, background checks were strengthened in the Compromise Act. Other regulations that were left behind would have banned the sale of large-capacity magazines and enacted a federal warning signal law.
With the forthcoming change in party leadership in the House of Representatives, will there be impetus for stronger initiatives? There should still be, especially since it’s clear they wouldn’t confiscate guns. The Second Amendment does not prohibit reasonable gun control initiatives, the US Supreme Court has found.
We mourn with the bright young people at the University of Virginia who are desperate to help critically injured colleagues in their last moments. When is enough enough?