When President Barack Obama announced his comprehensive gun-control plan and 23 executive orders, I was elated. We were all still reeling from the deaths of 20 first-graders in Newtown, Conn., and I couldn't imagine a better time for some gun-violence prevention action.
I read the pages of the plan, provided by the White House, and concluded that it was sound and doable if the President and Vice President could engage some partisan action.
Universal background checks for weapons? Check.
Improving mental health services. I agreed.
Banning assault weapons. Most definitely.
I wholeheartedly support the plan. I completely agree with executive orders and specifics of the actions. And then I saw this:
While the gun-control debate centers mostly around assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, there is little to be said about handguns. And from the data above, provided by the FBI Uniform Crime Report, it's evident that the gun epidemic in urban areas wasn't because people like Adam Lanza were running around with AR-15's. No...they were running around with handguns at their hips, ready to strike at a moment's notice.
More than 1600 people have been killed by gun violence since the Newtown tragedy and the majority of those people were not killed by assault weapons.
What's even more disturbing is that the majority of people that weren't shot with an assault rifle were black.
How did this happen? We spend so much time trying to implement strict laws on assault rifles, yet we were losing Americans, mostly black Americans, to handgun violence.
According to Buzzfeed:
But not all Americans fall victim to gun violence equally — or to the same guns. African-Americans are far more likely to be victims of gun murders than any other group — they make up 57% of all gun murders, according to FBI figures analyzed by BuzzFeed. Handgun victims, over all, were 60% black and 27% white.
And handguns are by far the most common murder weapon, killing 89% of all gun murder victims in the country.
Are we focused on the wrong thing? Have we been so concerned about military-style weapons that we forgot about the simple handguns we can hide in a sock or in a back pocket...those "simple" weapons that complicate the lives of those who have to deal with the loss of loved ones?
It must be noted that rifles victimize white and black people equally, but the handgun statistics are too polarizing not to take notice. It's time to change gears.
Let's stop thinking that gun-prevention measures stop at the gun store with background checks. Let's get the misconception out of our heads that mass shootings constitute legit gun violence. Let's start extending the mental health issue to include sons and daughters without parents, not privileged kids on medication. Let's brainstorm on how to get the illegal handguns off of the streets.
We have to start thinking outside of Newtown. We have to start thinking outside of Aurora. We have to start thinking outside of Columbine.
This is about every neighborhood, street corner, hood and city that witness a Newtown every day.
Because it's clear..handguns are the new military-style weapon in urban areas. It's time to go to war.
Christina Coleman is the News and Politics Editor at GlobalGrind. Prior to this she was a science writer. That explains her NASA obsession. She crushes on Anthony Bourdain. Nothing explains that.
Follow her on Twitter @ChrissyCole