WASHINGTON -- March 22 -- Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz said yesterday's shooting rampage at a school in Minnesota is "the latest sign that the gun culture has run amok" and called for a dialogue on the role of firearms in America.
"Six years after the Columbine shootings started a national debate over gun violence, the use of guns to settle routine disputes is no longer considered unusual," Horwitz said. "We have to face the fact that we can't shoot our way out of trouble."
Among the most notorious shootings so far this year: a man shot his ex-wife and a bystander outside a courthouse in Tyler, Texas; a disappointed litigant in a malpractice case killed a federal judge's husband and mother in Chicago; a rape defendant in Atlanta overpowered a police officer, seized her gun, and shot three people to death; and a man walked into a church service at a hotel near Milwaukee and shot 12 people, killing eight.
"The National Rifle Association has been quick to argue that these cases do not point to any problem that more guns could not solve," Horwitz said. "The message that more guns will solve our problems has been promoted relentlessly by the NRA and other elements of a fringe culture that believes not only in the right to bear arms as the most important bulwark against violent crime and government oppression, but that every citizen should prepare for armed confrontation. This just doesn't make any sense."
At the urging of the NRA and its allies, several states are considering legislation designed to roll back restrictions on guns in bars, churches, schools, and elsewhere.
"The latest spate of shootings has produced proposals to increase security for judges, offer easier access to concealed carry permits, and pass a new assault weapons ban," Horwitz said. "These ideas should be debated, but not as a substitute for a discussion about whether a society where citizens feel they need to be armed to the teeth to go to school, work, or church is really the kind of world we want to create."