Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 18 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.
Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot to death are all over the news today, but history tells us that the public reaction to the most recent massacre will go away in a few weeks. This is why the NRA keeps quiet.
The Parkview massacre is related to the massacre that happens every day in predominantly Black and Latino inner cities in one key way: gun manufacturers and their lobby, the NRA, have made sure that this country is awash with millions of weapons, many illegal and many more that should be illegal.
Gang members in inner cities don’t use pistols or assault rifles stolen from grandpa’s attic. They have the latest weapons and ammunition. How? Straw sales. Weapons are distributed to gun stores where they are purchased legally by people who then sell the weapons illegally to the people who sell them to the gangs.
The simplest way to achieve the “well-regulated” militia specified in the Second Amendment is to hold firearms and ammunition manufacturers responsible for their chain of sale. It would be a very easy thing to trace serial numbers to gun shops where the last legal sale occurred. If the manufacturers were liable, they would fix this overnight by not selling weapons to gun stores that are known outlets for straw sales. Ammunition could be barcoded and tracked similarly.
The Republican Congress, however, has moved in the opposite direction, passing laws that protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits.
American massacres with legally purchased guns have one common theme – large capacity magazines. I am a veteran, I earned an expert pistol medal and I am a master rated rifleman. From that perspective I can tell you no American needs a magazine with more than a five-round capacity. Today, I can go to the store and buy an AR-15 with a 100-round drum magazine and a bump stock (making the AR an automatic weapon, which was used in the Las Vegas massacre). All I need is my Florida driver’s license. Lunacy.
It would be easy to enforce a law against large capacity magazines, even though there are millions of them in circulation right now. In New Jersey, if you cause an accident where people are hurt and you have no car insurance, you go to jail immediately. Same thing should happen for possession of large capacity magazines. Go to jail for 30 days. Immediately.
Many people have no idea how we got here or why we’re seemingly stuck.
Money and racism is the answer. If you compare weapons manufacturing with the number of legal weapons owners, there’s a gap. The gap is those weapons that end up being sold to gang members and other criminals. It’s hundreds of millions of dollars a year. There’s more money to be made – our country has come a long way since police carried six-round revolvers – police are militarized, every Podunk police department has a SWAT team. More hundreds of millions of dollars are being made selling military capable weapons to fight the 50-year-old racist (and failed) war on drugs. Billions more in annual sales.
Further, the NRA specializes in creating propaganda to whip up fear – fear of Black and Latino marauders. This is what’s behind their support of Trump. Trump’s hate speech against every minority group feeds right into the fears of scared racist white people who are the president’s core 35 percent support. A perfect circular partnership.
Meanwhile, over 80 percent of white people are killed by other white people.
It is racism that feeds both desire for guns and refusal to enact logical gun control. And racism is responsible for the massacre of inner city citizens and students in leafy suburbs.