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People attend a candlelight vigil at a makeshift memorial honoring victims of a mass shooting that left at least 22 people dead, on August 7, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

People attend a candlelight vigil at a makeshift memorial honoring victims of a mass shooting that left 23 people dead, on August 7, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Science Journal Editorial Says 'Minions' of NRA 'Must Be Defeated' to Save Nation

"A nation of children threatened by gun violence does not have a future."

Andrea Germanos

A new Science editorial calls on scientists to get up from "the sidelines" of the national gun control debate and debunks arguments frequently used by right-wing politicians and media personalities to reject tightening limits on firearm access.

"A nation of children threatened by gun violence does not have a future," it states.

Authored by Science editor-in-chief Holden Thorp, the editorial was published online Thursday in the wake of a string of mass shootings—on May 14 at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on May 15 at a church in Laguna Woods, California, and May 24 in Uvalde, Texas—and as the NRA is set to begin its annual meeting in Houston.

"The common thread in all of the country's revolting mass shootings is the absurdly easy access to guns," Thorp wrote. "The science is clear: Restrictions work, and it's likely that even more limitations would save thousands of lives."

Failure to impose tightened restrictions on that access, he wrote, ensures "living with more and more senseless carnage, courtesy of the National Rifle Association and their well-funded political lackeys."

Thorp refuted the suggestion that mass shootings in the U.S. can be blamed upon national rates of mental illness, noting that the levels "are similar to those in other countries where mass shootings rarely occur" and that previous research found that "less than a third of the people who commit mass shootings have a diagnosable mental disorder."

Assertions that gun restrictions are useless because a potential assailant could simply work around them also don't hold water, he wrote. Citing 2017 research, Thorp noted that "extending criminal sentences for gun use in violent crime, prohibiting gun ownership by individuals convicted of domestic violence, and restricting the concealed carry of firearms lead to demonstrable reductions in gun violence."

The Second Amendment, Thorp continued, is also a flawed justification for not imposing stricter gun control laws. He pointed to "many times when the American people have concluded that rights granted at the nation's founding could not be reconciled with modern conditions and knowledge," citing slavery and women's suffrage.

As happened with those issues, he wrote that it must now "be decided that unfettered gun ownership by American citizens is not consistent with a flourishing country where people can worship, shop, and be educated without fear."

Thorp concluded with a direct appeal to fellow scientists, who can show "that gun restrictions make societies safer" and "that racism is measurable and leads to violence."

"Make protest signs. Start marching. Push lawmakers to finally break the partisan gridlock that has made moments of silence a regular observance," he wrote.

The NRA "and its minions," he added, "must be defeated."


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