When your life is ripped apart due to someone you care about being murdered, it’s only natural to start looking for answers. For a lot of people, especially if they don’t have some foundation in gun rights to begin with, it’s often decided that what we need are more gun laws.
Believe me, I get it.
So when I see a story of a parent or sibling advocating for gun control in the wake of losing a family member, I can’t really get mad at them. I think they’re wrong, but I know why they are doing it. They have to do something and they honestly believe gun laws will somehow make it so no one deals with what they’ve dealt with again.
After all, the media is filled with people telling them so.
But I’m afraid most of them, like this mom in Pennsylvania, are missing the mark.
I thought that running to save my child from a mass shooting at his school in 2022, only to hold him as he died, would be the hardest thing I ever did in my life. It wasn’t.
Nick and I had a few moments before he passed; he was unconscious, but I knew he could hear me. I lay on the ground with him, held him, and spoke to him. Those were the last moments we ever spent together in this life.
I held my child as he entered and exited this world: the ultimate pain and privilege for a mother. This was God’s gift to me.
In the 15 months since Nick’s murder, there have been moments that have proven harder than watching my son die. One of those moments was testifying last March at a Pennsylvania state House Judiciary Committee hearing about the need for stronger gun laws.
I testified at the House committee hearing because I thought I could help prevent other students from being gunned down at school. I thought I could change hearts. I was emotionally unprepared to see the callous disregard that some people have for my beautiful boy and the other victims.
Four commonsense bills were in front of the committee. The hope was, with a new Democratic majority in the House, real gun reform was possible. But only two of the reform bills passed: a red flag bill, which allows the seizure of firearms from someone deemed a threat to themselves or others, and another bill expanding background checks to include the sale of long guns from private owners, closing the gun show loophole. One bill requiring trigger locks to prevent a gun from firing never made it to the floor.
And yet, absolutely none of these measures would have prevented what happened.
See, I get someone advocating for a law that at least seems to tie into their loved one’s murder in some way, even if I think their efforts are misguided, but these measures don’t have the least bit to do with what happened to her son.
For example, it seems most of the shooters were under the age of 18, so they weren’t lawfully buying guns from anyone. I’m quite sure they didn’t go to a gun show to get one; and there is no gun show loophole, by the by. It’s just a face-to-face transfer, but universal background checks do manage to shut all of them down.
In short, it looks like they were gang members with a grudge, people who existing gun laws failed to keep disarmed, so now we have a mother advocating for still more gun laws.
While I can’t fully understand her anguish, I do understand her need to do something.
Yet advocating for any gun law that comes down the pike isn’t exactly going to prevent such tragedies from happening, especially not when there’s a strong likelihood that most of the shooters circumvented all the existing gun laws in such ways that new laws won’t have any impact.
I get that she’s hurting, but her suggested solutions simply won’t make anything better.