This sound will make many modern-day American’s heart seize with fear. From daily shootings in cities like Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans, to mass murders like those in Las Vegas and Texas, Americans everywhere are slowly learning to live in fear. Since the Trump Administration has been in power the United States has experienced two of its most significant and heartbreaking mass shootings. On Oct. 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada, a 64-year-old white male opened fire on a country music festival, killing 58 and injuring 546 people, the largest mass shooting in United States’ history. A month later, on Nov. 5, 26 were killed at a Baptist church in Sutherland, Texas, when a white male methodically conducted a mass shooting, the largest to ever take place in a church in the United States. Both shootings were conducted by white males, neither of which were labeled as terrorist attacks.
To me, the most heartbreaking aspect of these tragedies is that the most recent shooting in Sutherland, Texas could have been prevented. Devin Kelley, the man responsible for the shooting, had been convicted for domestic violence and dishonorably discharged from the United States Air Force. If the military hadn’t made a fatal mistake and forgotten, his name should have been put on a list of people prohibited from purchasing guns. While Kelley was permitted to purchase firearms due to an overlook, the Vegas shooter obtained his firearms easily and legally, thanks to the United States’ relaxed gun laws.
Gun violence is steadily increasing throughout America and the best way to stop mass shootings like these is to stop allowing unqualified individuals purchase firearms through stringent and more effectively enforced gun control laws. Current gun control laws only prohibit a select few groups from purchasing guns, and most states don’t even require a permit to buy a firearm. Many states do require a permit to carry a handgun, but some states fearlessly allow concealed carry of any firearms. Gun control in the United States is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately because the more people that own guns, the more people are in danger of being shot.
Other countries like Australia, Scotland and Japan have experienced devastating mass shootings, but their governments responded immediately with a strict set of gun control laws and not so coincidentally their levels of mass gun violence decreased exponentially. In response to recurring mass shootings in the United States we should not be rushing out to buy guns for purposes of “self-defense.” Instead we should be rallying together once and for all to eliminate the problem at the root of gun violence: guns.
Gun control laws vary from state to state, which make purchasing firearms a very different process throughout the country, but having the leader of our nation be so openly pro-weaponry has given citizens a feeling of approval, not to mention a literal green light to obtain firearms. The process to receive an abortion is still more arduous than the process to buy a firearm, which is wildly illogical, because guns can cause considerably more harm than an abortion.
In order to purchase a firearm, at the very least, a fully comprehensive background check should be run and if someone does not have legitimate reason such to buy a gun, such as for hunting so they can eat, or because they feel they are in danger, they should not be allowed to own one. It is often said that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But here’s the thing, people cannot kill people if they don’t have a gun. Our country needs to reevaluate how we value human life and finally decide to make the safety of our people a top priority.
photo courtesy of Redlands Bulldog Photo Editor, Halie West