Twenty-seven people died In the Sutherland Springs massacre last Sunday (including the shooter by suicide) from the shots fired by a Ruger AR-556, a semi-automatic rifle that costs $700. The worst mass shooting in the history of Texas has reopened the debate on gun sales, by now staid and ceremonial, with very little hope for any change.
Trump himself shut down the debate by pushing the notion that the mental problems of the killer, Devin Kelley, were at the root of the tragedy, and not the four firearms he was free to buy despite having a criminal record. A small controversy arose on the role of anti-depressant medication (which Kelley was not even using), which forced the president of the American Psychological Association to clarify that there is no scientific evidence of a link between these drugs and mass shootings. If the debate is merely running around in circles, this is also because of the heavy censorship that for 20 years has been weighing down the U.S. scientific community.
It may seem paradoxical that, after so many mass shootings, the experts are discussing pills instead of guns. But in the U.S., the cultural influence of the gun lobby is even stronger than its economic influence. In truth, the $3 million spent annually by the National Rifle Association (the lobby that defends the right of Americans to acquire a gun) to bring members of the U.S. Congress to their side may sound like a lot, but in the context of U.S. lobbying it’s not much at all. The Realtors’ association, for example, spends 15 times as much.