NEW YORK -- Two people are dead after a shooting in a movie theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana. The gunman also lies cold, having taken his own life. On Thursday, Barack Obama said the biggest “frustration” of his presidency was being unable to enact meaningful gun regulation, despite repeated mass shootings.
Despite the president’s opposition, gun control has become even more lax over the past seven years, with the National Rifle Association, a lobbying organisation, gaining ground in state after state. The sole purpose of the modern NRA is to ensure money continues to flow to the gun manufacturers. As such, it uses the Second Amendment, distorted through a thin cloak of nationalism, to push back against any attempt to regulate firearms.
Louisiana, the scene of Thursday’s killings, is a good example. The state boasts some of the feeblest gun laws in the Union, including a recently enacted constitutional amendment enshrining the right of “each citizen to keep and bear arms.” This right, it states, is “fundamental and shall not be infringed.”
The amendment, backed by the NRA, also stops any future legal move to ban the carrying of concealed weapons by the citizenry. Anyone can sell guns in Louisiana; dealers do not require licenses. Citizens can buy as many guns as they want, whenever they want. There is also no restriction on the types of firearms people can buy, including assault weapons.
The NRA claims that lack of gun control leads to a safer state. What stops a “bad guy with a gun?” A “good guy with a gun,” as the organisation repeatedly suggests. Yet no "good guy" stood up in the movie theatre on Thursday evening.
Still, the lack of gun control should, according to the NRA, result in lower rates of gun violence. The statistics say otherwise, with a 2013 report by the Center for American Progress rating Louisiana as the worst out of all 50 states in relation to gun related violence.
Research by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rates the state fifth for the weakest gun laws in the country, while a 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 45 percent of Louisiana residents own a gun.
In a comment piece for the Mail Online, Piers Morgan, a staunch critic of America’s gun laws, placed the blame for Thursday’s shooting at the door of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican candidate for the 2016 Presidential election.
He said: This is a guy [Jindal] awarded an A+ rating from the NRA – meaning they absolutely love him for his pro-gun speeches and legislative behavior. Jindal voted to stop gun manufacturers being sued for misuse of their weaponry, and he co-sponsored banning gun registration in Washington, D.C.”
Morgan has a point. Or as Jindal neatly surmised in a 2012 speech: “In Louisiana and all across America, we love us some guns and religion."