Uvalde, TX buried 19 children and two teachers, slain by an eighteen-year-old armed with a military-style semi-automatic weapon. Enlisted to pass mild legislation designed to make this sort of predictable tragedy less likely, virtually all Republicans and many Democrats have refused, citing the Second Amendment, and the “liberties” of gun owners. There are over 400 million guns in America, and since 2014, over 34,000 children have been killed or injured by firearms. What lies behind America’s gun exceptionalism? Who benefits? Why do political parties lack the will to act when 69% of Americans don’t own a firearm?

George Ovitt has been teaching at Albuquerque Academy since 2000. Before that he taught at Sidwell Friends School and Drexel University. He is the author of eight books, the most recent a collection of short essays on literature and politics, Trotsky’s Sink, written with his colleague, Peter Nash.