Patricia A. O'Malley

Social Policy & Programs Consulting

Training and Services for agencies working toward social and economic justice

Patricia A. O'Malley
Social Policy & Programs Consulting    ~    Community Matters
P.O. Box 97803    ~    Pittsburgh, PA  15227   ~    412-310-4886    ~
Copyright Patricia A. O'Malley    ~    All rights reserved

Established 1993

Gun Violence, the Second Amendment, and Common Sense
Join the March for Our Lives on March 24.
March 22, 2018

Seventeen more people in Florida are dead because Republicans want them dead.  Otherwise, they would do whatever is necessary to stop it.  What are you doing?

Statistics on mass shooting incidents in the U.S. vary because the definition varies.  In a 2015 report, the Congressional Research Service defined a mass public shooting as “… a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms, within one event, in at least one or more public locations, such as a workplace, school, restaurant, house of worship, neighborhood, or other public setting.”  There have been countless more gun deaths – murder, suicide, negligence, and accident.  I won’t delve into the numbers; we all know there have been too many incidents.

The Constitution’s Second Amendment says:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Today, American adults have just about unlimited access to any kind of guns they want, whenever they want it.  A good portion of them whine and wail if anyone mutters a single thought about limiting that access in any way.  If “militia” wasn’t supposed to be part of the equation, then the word wouldn’t be there.

I don't suggest prohibiting all guns. But I do want to see a serious, thorough, adult, conversation about issues, problems, and remedies. I don't expect it to happen anytime soon because the gun goons are well funded.  We need a practical, effective, national firearms policy that protects the public while preserving individual rights. What would that look like? How do we get from here to there?
Gun goons refuse to discuss the issue.

It's time to amend the Second Amendment. Guns were standard life tools 200 years ago, and citizen militias were necessary. Today, most of us don't need a gun any more than we need a hippopotamus. Our professional National Guard makes militias redundant. If you think you need a gun for "protection", then there's something wrong with the way you're living your life.

The NRA was founded in 1871 to represent the interests of gun owners and actually does provide many legitimate services for its members, but it no longer represents them.
It represents gun companies.  The companies make money when people buy guns.

For eight years, they pushed the lie that Barack Obama is coming for your guns.  And they sold millions of guns.  There was a shortage of ammunition.  Now that Obama's gone, gun sales have plummeted.
Every restriction on gun ownership means fewer gun sales.
That's why they won't quit.
It's all about the money.
They’re sacrificing children for MONEY.
And they don’t feel badly about it because they are immoral.

If I hear one more time that the gun violence debate must stop being political I'm going to lose my mind.
The problem is political.
Therefore, the solution is political.
They don't buy plumbers.

Wayne LaPierre is not an advocate for gun rights.   He's an advocate for murder.
Otherwise, he would do something to stop these murders.

Every time there’s a mass shooting, the NRA, politicians, and the media wail about mental illness, whether the shooter was mentally ill or not.  Of course, mental illness is a piece of the problem.  But it’s not the whole problem.

After the Sandy Hook shooting, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy said that every American family has some experience with mental illness, and all too many have experience with gun violence. Families need help and support to get treatment for their loved ones. The dead, the wounded, and the survivors are testament to our failure to create a thorough, sensible mental health diagnosis, treatment, and support system.

Many, but not all, of the mass shootings occur in schools because many of the shooters are younger and school is the hub of their social lives.  But it can happen anywhere, any time, to any of us.  No one is safe.

Arming teachers is a stupid idea.  And anyone who supports it is stupid.  Or lazy.  Or an NRA tool.
Or has never met a fifteen-year-old boy.

I was so pleased to see that thousands of students in dozens of cities participated in Walkout Day on March 14. 

While some of the schools suspended or otherwise disciplined students for walking out, they did not obstruct first amendment rights.  They punished the kids for walking out of school, not for demonstrating.  They would have been punished even if they had all walked out and gone home.
The students are still free to demonstrate any other time.

That said, I wholeheartedly support the kids and oppose the NRA.
Read the Constitution.

Thousands more people are killed by guns every year due to common negligence.  Public officials don’t file proper reports.  No one follows up on information about dangerous people.  And adults leave their guns unattended so that children can get hold of them.

Every time a person dies from a gunshot like this, the responsible person should face prosecution for criminally negligent homicide.

So what do we do?  People keep searching for single, simple cause, that they can "cure".  There isn't one.  There are many.  And accepting that fact is the first step to solving this problem.
There is no single solution to fix this.  We can’t click “undo”.


  • Lobbying is not what the media tells you it is.  "Giving money to legislators" is not lobbying.  ​Lobbying is the effort to convince local, state, and federal officials to support or oppose legislation and policies reflecting your positions. Everyone can do it.  It doesn’t cost a dime. ​ Legislators listen to corporate lobbyists because they're the only ones doing the talking.

  • The corporate media and our Republican controlled schools don't want you to know that Lobbying is the only thing that can restore our democracy.  Nothing is more important in our government than lobbying. 

  • Tell your representatives – federal, state, and local – what you want.  And don’t take “no” for an answer.

  • Learn why we can't do without it, when, where, and how to lobby, and how to contact your local, state, and federal legislators at the Community Matters link below.

  • We need a practical, effective, mental health system that protects the public while preserving individual rights. What would that look like? How do we get from here to there?

  • Changing the Second Amendment will take at least ten years of major community organizing and cost about a billion dollars.  But it’s worth it.  Massive community organizing projects always begin with the kernel of an idea.  And that’s just what the Parkland students have given us.  How many more people will die before we get this right?

  • Work for campaign finance reform, so that legislators don’t have to take NRA money to survive.
    They're running scared now.  Keep pushing.

  • Thank and support the growing list of businesses that support common sense gun laws. 
    Boycott those that don’t.

  • Join an organization working to end gun violence.  They’ll keep up with events, legislation, and more.  A few of them are listed below.

2.  VOTE

The Parkland students have started the ball rolling.  They can’t, and shouldn’t, do this alone.  Everyone can help.  Attend the march in Washington DC or one of the 832 sibling marches throughout the world on Saturday, March 24.  Find one at the link below. 
Show the world what you stand for.

I offer my sincere condolences and best wishes to the injured, the survivors, the families, and their communities. I offer my help, support, and thanks to those working to end this scourge.

Two quotes come to mind.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi –
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead –


For More Information
March for Our Lives
Congressional Research Service: Mass Murder with Firearms: Incidents and Victims, 1999-2013
Community Matters: Lobbying
Washington Post: Mass Shooting Statistics
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Everytown for Gun Safety
Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence
Read the Constitution
National Rifle Association
NRA Institute for Legislative Action

Contact Pat for email notice of all new Community Matters articles.