The satirical newspaper the Onion famously repeats the same headline whenever a high-profile mass shooting occurs in the United States: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”
It’s a grim reminder that the United States — or, at least, key leaders within government — has chosen to prioritize gun rights over the kinds of laws that successfully protect citizens of many other nations from being struck down by a bullet.
One of the most consequential choices by policymakers to choose gun rights over sensible policy came in 2008, with the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. By a 5-4 vote, the Court held, for the first time in American history, that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a gun. Among other things, Heller gave special constitutional protection to handguns…
The bulk of gun deaths in the United States look very different from the kind of mass killings that inspire so many American nightmares. Most of these deaths are suicides. 2020 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, shows that over 24,000 people died of suicide from a firearm that year, while just over 19,000 died in a gun-related homicide…
And when someone is murdered with a gun, the most common motive is an argument that escalates into a killing because someone was armed.
And it seems to me … that the precedent created in a 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court might be revisited in some future time and case.