PERRY: Gun activists are wrong — massacres aren’t the price of American freedom

More than 80 percent of Americans want legislation that prevents those deemed mentally unstable, troublesome to police or accused of violent misdemeanors from having access to weapons

For those just as sickened by the response of President Donald Trump and those like him as they were horrified by the unthinkable massacre inside a Texas church, take heart.

America hasn’t been beaten by those who’ve warped the Second Amendment, boosted the firearms industry and provided it endless political cover.

Voters increasingly want real, common-sense change in gun laws.

That flies in the face of Trump, who confounded logic, good sense and decency this week when he spoke about the Texas church massacre.

“This isn’t a guns situation,” Trump said. “This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.”

Losing loved ones to cancer is sad. Shooting babies, the endless slaughter and maiming of hundreds of Americans in just a few weeks time — again — is cataclysmic. It’s an unbridled calamity despite what Trump and gun-industry activists want you to believe.

A growing number of Americans have better sense and a better grasp of what’s behind America’s horrific gun violence crisis and what to do to stem it.

Not long after the surreal slaughter in Las Vegas last month, a Gallup poll revealed that now 64 percent of Americans favor stricter gun laws. While that in itself is auspicious, given that such generic and charged questions have previously met with much more resistance, the numbers behind this important change among Americans are most encouraging. The gun-industry activists usually tout the milquetoast “stricter gun law” numbers, saying it reflects an overall American aversion to restricting guns.

They’re wrong.

All it asks is a provocative and emotional question to people who give a response that belies how they really feel.

The reality is that an astounding 96 percent of Americans now want Congress to enact universal background checks for all gun purchases, public, private, retail and at gun shows, the Gallup poll shows.

Gallup and other surveys illustrate that for the first time in years, the public believes that additional gun control has the ability to reduce gun violence.

Of course it does. States that have stronger gun control laws suffer substantially less gun violence, and the international application of that principal never ceases to astound even casual observers. America is awash in guns and dying to stem gun violence.

Consider this:

• Support for banning semi-automatic “assault rifle” weapons remains strong, about 50-50 or better, a variety of polls show.

• An astonishing 75 percent of Americans approve of a 30-day waiting period for all gun sales.

• Just as reassuring, 70 percent of Americans would support a law requiring that all guns be registered with the local police department.

• The most important attitude: A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll taken after the Las Vegas massacre — and before the Texas church slaughter — shows more than 80 percent of Americans want legislation that prevents those deemed mentally unstable, troublesome to police or accused of violent misdemeanors from having access to weapons.

That’s what Americans really want when they say they’re lukewarm to increased gun control. What most Americans overwhelmingly want is nothing more than common sense:

• Make sure those who own and carry guns are qualified and mentally competent.

• Ban weapons that have only military or mass-murder applications, such as assault rifles.

• Make sure those who own and purchase guns are licensed and their weapons registered.

Despite the tragic loss of life during bloody massacres in schools, churches, movie theaters, military bases, concerts, malls, offices and most recently, a Walmart in Thornton, it appears Americans have finally had enough wanton bloodshed.

Quit listening to the small, noisy minority of Americans who would have us believe church massacres are the price we must pay for freedom. Listen to those whose children, parents, siblings and friends have been maimed or shot dead by wrongly-armed mass murders.

“Anybody can carry a gun now, even crazy people,” Evangelina Santos told CNN reporters Tuesday. Santos’ brother Richard Rodriguez was shot dead this week at the church in Sutherland Springs. ”Tell the president that. No more guns.”