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Washington must bite the bullet on gun control

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-06-19 07:47

Gun-control advocates take their message to the National Rifle Association in a protest outside the group's headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 11, 2022. KEVIN DIETSCH/GETTY IMAGES/AFP

A 32-year-old father in Cleveland, Ohio, killed his three sons, ordering them to stand in a row and then shooting them with a rifle. The three young boys were aged 7, 4, and 3. It is a tragedy.

Although the case is different from the mass shootings that happen in public places where the gunner shoots people indiscriminately, the tragedies share one thing in common, namely that the killer held a gun. Had the US effectively implemented stricter gun controls, the deaths could have been lowered, minimized, or even prevented.

With the world economy struggling and US society facing increasingly bigger problems such as political radicalization, widening social gaps as well as racial hatred, conflicts among people might happen more easily than in the past period of prosperity. Some might argue that guns are neutral, and it is the people holding the guns that kill others, but easy access to guns makes things worse by making these problems more acute by transforming them into bloodshed.

More absurdly, it is poor people at the bottom of society that face the biggest risk. Rich people live in well-protected neighborhoods with well-paid guards, and mass shootings tend to happen in public spaces with large crowds of people or to poor families when pressures reach boiling point.

With social problems on the rise, guns are especially risky and make things worse. As the social problems US faces, ranging from conflicts among different classes, races, and interest groups, are hard to resolve, US lawmakers should control guns first so that conflicts and crimes bred by these social problems will be less fatal and bloody than they are right now.

Time for action on gun control to prevent more such tragedies.


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