In seven days, America has been rocked by two horrific shootings – the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16 and the March 22 attack in Boulder, Colorado.
As we pray for and honor the victims, their families, and first responders, we must also examine the root causes of what leads an individual to pick up a weapon with the intent to commit violence against innocent people.
I served as a pastor for many years before coming to Congress, and I view this violence through the lens of my faith. I firmly believe that mass shootings are a symptom of a profound moral crisis in America – one that cannot be easily solved by simply passing law after law in Washington.
George Washington said that “religion and morality are indispensable supports” of a prosperous nation. These two great pillars have been driven from public life, and until they are restored, we cannot remedy the brutal absence of compassion in our society that leads to mass shootings. We must renew our love and faith in both God and each other.
This epidemic of violence results from the decades-long erosion of the traditional values that once formed the bedrock of American life. I believe, without a doubt, that this absence of decency is inextricably linked to mass shootings. For example, when one looks at the profiles of mass shooters, they are almost exclusively male, and a startling number grew up without a father present in their lives. Fatherless children are significantly more likely to drop out of school, run away from home, abuse drugs and alcohol, commit suicide and, yes, perpetrate gun violence. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly one in four American children now live without a father in the home. Strong family bonds are correlated with religion and morality. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that the number of mass shootings has increased as the number of fatherless children has skyrocketed.
Why is this critical link not discussed in the wake of mass shootings?
Unfortunately, the Left would much rather use these horrific events as opportunities to manipulate Americans’ emotions and vulnerability to advance their political agenda, and this time is no different.
We still don’t have all the facts about these shootings, yet President Biden is already calling for a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” Be wary of politicians jumping to offer up their pet policies as prepackaged, ready-made “solutions” to end gun violence. Too often, there is another motive at play.
Last October, I explained in Newsweek that a ban is not only unconstitutional, but it’s also far more problematic and far less effective than Democrats claim. An “assault weapons” ban will not end mass shootings, but it will severely restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans – a goal the Left has been pushing towards for years.
President Biden has openly said that he wants to confiscate AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles (the most popular type of firearm in the country), which starts by banning them.
Folks, this proposal isn’t about preventing mass shootings. This is merely a steppingstone in a larger political agenda, and Democrats are using Americans’ grief over these tragedies to do it.
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, represents Georgia’s 10th Congressional District.