When Will it Stop?

As gun violence becomes more and more commonplace, when will we say enough is enough?

On Oct. 1, at 10:05 P.M. a gunman opened fire on a large crowd during the Harvest Music Festival on Route 91 in Las Vegas. This was the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, leaving 58 dead and over 515 injured. According to USA today, Stephen Paddock had acquired 33 guns in the last 12 months.

On Nov. 5, gunman Devin Kelley shot and killed 26 people at a church in New Braunfels, Texas.

Google Fair Use
Many Twitter users share their concern for the United States’ lack of gun regulation.

Kelley was previously a member of the Air Force but was dismissed in 2012 after abusing his wife and child according to the Chicago Tribune. He choked her and struck his son hard enough to fracture his skull. However, the Air Force did not properly submit his previous criminal history to the FBI. He also brought guns onto a military base and was accused of sexual assault in 2013. Despite all this, he was still able to legally purchase a firearm.

These events, along with other recent acts of gun violence, raise the question: What, if anything, can the United States do to prevent these tragedies?

Federal law requires licensed firearm dealers to perform background checks on prospective purchasers. However, this does not apply to unlicensed sellers. The Guardian stated in January of 2017 that “About 40% of all acquired guns are bought from these unlicensed sellers.”

Many of these gun transactions take place privately, without any record of transaction. Believe it or not, acquiring guns in the U.S. is not a difficult task. These unlicensed sellers are fully capable of selling guns to people who are mentally unstable or plan to harm innocent civilians.

“I’ve trained myself to move on from tragedy. These shootings happen almost monthly and you move on, and then you get hit with another tragedy,” said a Dunbar student who asked not to be named. “I think people should have to pass more background checks and security before given a gun. I just don’t know when it will stop.”

The Second Amendment states that “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Per the Constitution, Americans reserve the right to own guns and other weapons.

Many Americans take advantage of this amendment by keeping dangerous firearms in their home, citing these weapons as protection to provide them with a sense of security.

According to the Pew Research Center, 48% of gun owners claim to own a firearm for their own protection. However, this becomes far less logical when the following hypothetical is considered: If each individual at the Las Vegas concert had a personal gun, it is all too likely that they would have fired in return in an effort to find the convict, potentially raising the death toll.

The Atlantic states that “The United States, with less than 5% of the world’s population, has about 35%-50% of the world’s civilian-owned guns… it ranks number one in firearms per capita.”

It might be difficult to find a compromise between the Second Amendment, the will of the people and the safety of society, but the government should follow the example of other nations and define a new standard on gun control.

Google Fair Use
Numerous mass shootings have spurred rallies across the nation.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “After a major massacre in Australia on April 1996 that killed 35 and wounded 33 others, the national government pushed for gun regulation and two weeks later made the National Agreement on Firearms. There have been no gun-related mass killings since 1996.”

By contrast, the Daily Dot reported that “The U.S. has already suffered 273 mass shootings in 2017.”

On top of mass shootings and homicides that are carried out with firearms, approximately “58 people kill themselves with a gun every day,” according to The Trace. “Among those aged 10 to 19, there were 2,259 suicides in 2014.”

While guns are not the most common method of suicide, they result in more successful attempts. Even children and teens who do not legally own their own gun can use a parent or relative’s firearm to carry out suicide.

Freshman Payton Coulter said that “That could have been any of us at that concert. It’s just so incredibly sad. This never should have happened…I think they should hold higher security on gun control. I personally think they should take away guns, with all the violence they cause.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “There will certainly be a time for that policy discussion to take place, buts that’s not the place that we’re in at this moment.” When will be the time to ask these questions? If we never ask, will this violence ever be resolved?

President Donald Trump told the Washington Post that “tougher gun laws would not have stopped the mass shooting” in Texas and that fewer lives would have been lost if another person been able to “neutralize” the attacker with a gun of his own. Yet, there are reports of gun violence almost on a regular basis. “Doing everything we can” is not enough.

Easy access to firearms seems to be a luxury to some. Yet firearms are used to hurt innocent people and cause destruction in a community.

Especially in light of the recent shootings in Texas and Las Vegas, it is time for America to reconsider its stance on civilian gun ownership.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email