Opinion

Mass shootings will not end until better gun control enacted

Image By: Jon Yoon

Gun control doesn’t work!” Except for in Australia, Scotland and Japan…

The recent shootings we have experienced show that gun violence is a uniquely American problem and it’s time to stop pretending that consistent mass shootings are “unavoidable.” By extension, it’s time to recognize that we need stricter gun control. There are too many weapons in the wrong hands. How many more people need to be killed by guns for us to wake up and realize that we aren’t in the 1780s anymore? Guns have changed significantly over the past few centuries and our gun laws should too. The rest of the world understands this, so why can’t us Americans get it through our heads? There is an unhealthy obsession with guns and violence in American culture. It overrides our will to enhance safety. In light of recent events, however, it is more important than ever to seriously reconsider our current gun laws, which are filled with loopholes and ineffective background checks.

Unfortunately, a number of Republican lawmakers have stated that the recent shootings with horrifying death counts shouldn’t be politicized out of so-called respect for the victims. However, not to politicize these incidents would be an insult to the memories of those lost. Their lives could have been saved if the shooter was prevented from obtaining a gun in the first place. After the Las Vegas shooting, the response was “we know that current gun laws placed a semi-automatic weapon and a bump stock in the wrong hands, but the right to own a gun is more important.” Bill O’Reilly even called the shooting, in which over fifty people were killed, “the price of freedom.” It’s disgusting. What kind of a person thinks that their right to purchase a deadly weapon is more important than saving the lives of fellow citizens?

Furthermore, after the Texas shooting, the response, or excuse, rather, was that the shooter had a rough childhood and possibly a mental illness. This is exactly why we need better background checks. Instead of using mental illness as an excuse for a shooting, we need to address why a mentally ill person had access to a gun. What’s even worse is that President Trump has introduced ideas to provide those with mental illnesses more access to weapons.

Following these devastating instances, many conservatives have only offered “thoughts and prayers” rather than actual efforts to try and prevent more shootings. They are avoiding the dilemma. Many, but not all, Republicans are utilizing the grief of families who have lost loved ones for their own gain. They are making excuses so their political agendas won’t be compromised. The fact is that stricter gun laws work and gun regulations implemented in nations such as Australia are proof. But, Trump and his supporters would rather innocent people keep dying than admit it.

Congress needs to start doing its job. “Thoughts and prayers” aren’t going to fix the problem, but passing legislation will. There are a few changes that need to be made. A ban on bump stocks along with much stricter background checks on those wanting to purchase guns are necessities. Additionally, it is time to end the gun show loophole for good. Why do we need all of this? Because mass shootings happen when guns are put in the wrong hands. A common pro-gun notion is that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Well, of course. We need to have stricter background checks on people, not guns. We need to close loopholes for people to get guns without regulation. It is all about people. It’s about determining if a person should be able to have a gun or not — and that’s done through implementation of stricter background checks and closing loopholes. Haven’t enough people died for us to realize that there are too many guns in the hands of killers?

Ashley is a freshman intending on majoring in journalism. Send any and all questions to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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