I am very pleased yet cautiously optimistic to see Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s call for reasonable gun control.
New Orleanians know all too the well the violence, loss of life and destruction of families that occur on a daily basis but rarely makes the national news. It is a sad state of affairs when as a nation we are so accustomed to mass shootings that even when a mass shooting occurs at a playground, if no one dies, it does not even register at the national level. Therefore, it is refreshing to see an elected official, who by his own admission “believes in the Constitution and in the Second Amendment in particular” call for gun control measures.
Moreover, those who continue to balk at calls for universal background checks by claiming their second amendment right is being violated are just regurgitating the NRA’s dangerous rhetoric. What’s more preposterous is that an individual on the no-fly list can legally purchase a gun in this country. There is room for both gun control and the second amendment.
Surveys conducted by the PEW Research Center find that over 85 percent of Americans are in favor of universal background checks. Following the Lafayette theater shooting, there were (again) calls for gun reform, including state Rep. Terry Landry Sr. and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/louisiana-gun-control-laws) However, no action was taken; a 2014 report by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence rated the state as having “the weakest gun laws in the country.” (http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/louisiana-weak-gun-laws-jindal-cost-of-gun-violence)
While not causal, but highly suspect, lax gun laws and high gun ownership, has enabled Louisiana (as of 2012 data) to have the highest gun homicide rate in the nation: 9.4 per 100,000 residents. This is not a list we want to be at the top of.
Those Americans who are law abiding citizens and responsible gun owners are not in jeopardy of losing their guns; it seems however, they are more and more likely in jeopardy of losing their lives to terrorism or senseless acts of violence. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/how-much-money-does-gun-violence-cost-in-your-state)
We know it works. Australia and England both suffered mass shooting atrocities and almost immediately thereafter instituted gun reform. They have not suffered nearly the amount of mass shootings in the time since gun reform as we have. It is incumbent on us, the citizens of New Orleans to support those elected officials who stand up to the naysayers and the NRA, to demand gun control, and to vote out those who continually block action. Enough is enough.
Arianna C. Baseman, MPH
National Council of Jewish Women, New Orleans Chapter