The unthinkable happened again in America, this time on the 4th of July. As the people in the affluent town of Highland Park, Illinois were enjoying their first Independence Day parade since the pandemic began, shots rang out from a rooftop. Six people were killed and close to thirty were injured.
Talk of who’s to blame for the shooting began almost as soon as the shots stopped. Liberals say it’s the guns, especially assault weapons, and conservatives say it’s a mental health crisis or a lack of God. One thing is for sure though: the town of Highland Park has had an assault weapon ban in place since 2013 and it didn’t stop what happened on July 4, 2022.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering spearheaded an effort to ban semiautomatic rifles from the town in 2013 when she was on the City Council. The effort passed and, despite it being challenged all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, the ban is still in place, as the SCOTUS decided not to take the case up.
Despite having a law in place in the town where July 4th parade shooting took place, 22-year-old Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo allegedly “legally obtained the high-powered rifle that he used to kill six people and wound dozens more[,]” reports the Daily Mail. Now, seven people have died.
Despite all of that, Mayor Rotering, on the day after the shooting, went on national television and called for a national ban on assault weapons. “Someone clearly had a mental breakdown but I don’t want to ascribe it to mental health[,]” Rotering said.
Rotering continued, “[w]hy do we as a nation allow this to happen with such regularity? I can’t tell you how many mayors I heard from yesterday… it was like “here we are again”. I never thought I would be one of ‘those mayors,’ well none of us do. This is unbelievable to me that this is an acceptable part of who we are as a nation.”
She said, “I don’t know where [the gun] came from but I do know it was legally obtained. At some point, this nation needs to have a conversation about these weekly events involving the murder of dozens of people with legally obtained guns. If that’s what our laws stand for, we need to re-examine the laws.”
Mass shootings are indeed taking place all too regularly in the United States. It is also true that the Mayor of Highland Park successfully instituted an assault weapon ban in her town that has been in place now for nine years. Finally, it is true that, despite her ban, the unthinkable still happened. Her ban didn’t stop anything. Is it reasonable to believe that a national ban would?