Senseless shooting: When will the US listen to gun reform

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In the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas that tragically took the lives of at least 59 people, and injured more than 500 others, the controversial gun control debate is once again making headlines. Politicians and world leaders have offered their condolences to the victims of the latest tragedy.

 

On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted, “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” Although these thoughts may be appreciated, they are not going to stop the next mass shooting, and certainly are not going to save lives.

 

In 1996, 35 people were killed and another 23 wounded in the Port Arthur massacre in Australia. In the weeks that followed this attack, the Australian government introduced the National Firearms Agreement, which outlaws semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons. In addition to this, the agreement included a firearm buyback program, which resulted in over 650,000 weapons turned in to the government.

 

Since the agreement, there has been no reported mass shooting in Australia. Additionally, homicide and suicide rates drastically dropped as well according to a study done by Simon Chapman of Sydney University, Au.

 

While America and Australia are two very different countries, there are still tens of thousands of Americans dying each year as a result of gun-related violence. It is astonishing that little has been done to try and prevent these unnecessary killings.

 

Since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, which killed 49 on Jun. 12, 2016, there have been 521 mass shootings according to a report by the New York Times. That is an average of more than one per day since the Pulse nightclub attack. Of these shootings, at least 585 people have been killed with an additional 2,156 injured.

 

What options are there to ultimately stop this problem? The answer is not as cut and dry as one would like to think.

 

Many people claim that the solution to the problem is more guns. After the Sandy Hook Shooting which took the lives of 27, including 20 children in 2012, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a press conference that, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

 

Would that have made a difference after this Sunday’s attack? Probably not. According to the venue’s official website, weapons, firearms, pepper spray, pocketknives, and even mace were included on a list of prohibited items. These concertgoers were completely vulnerable in this attack.

 

Even if everyone in the pavilion had been armed, the shooter fired upon them from the 32nd window of a nearby hotel, making it nearly impossible for people to locate the source of the attack. Coupled with the panic and hysteria that immediately followed, it would have been even more dangerous had the general public also been armed. On top of that, if concertgoers had attempted to use a weapon in self-defense during this time, they put themselves at risk of being misidentified as the attacker, which would have led to more confusion, and the possibility of higher number of casualties.

 

With few self-defense options available, what could have been done to prevent such a devastating attack?

 

In order to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future, legislation needs to be passed now in order to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those who wish to use them in malicious ways.

 

When police gained access to the hotel room where the shooter was, the SWAT team found 23 firearms, and another 19 at his home in Mesquite, Nev. according to the New York Times. How is it acceptable for one individual to possess such an obscene amount of weapons without raising any sort of alarm? If people want to have a gun to protect them, there is absolutely no need for 42 of them.

 

There are still loopholes in America that allow people to possess guns without going through background checks such as if they are purchased privately, online or at a gun show.

 

One week after the Orlando nightclub shooting, four gun control proposals were voted on in the Senate, two of which were put forward by Democrats, and two by Republicans.

 

Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposal would “let the attorney general deny firearms and explosive to any suspected terrorist.”

 

Republican Texas Senator John Cornyn’s proposal would allow delays in sales to terror suspects if the attorney general could prove to a judge within three business days of the attempted sale there was probable cause to suspect the buyer of ties to terrorism.

 

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy’s proposal would expand background checks for anyone trying to purchase a firearm online or at a gun show.

 

Finally, Republican Iowa Senator Charles Grassley’s proposal would increase funding to the agency that runs background checks.

 

All four of these proposals were voted down, according to the Washington Post.

 

Now in the wake of yet another tragedy, people all over the country are calling on our government to do something, anything, to change the direction America is headed. Mass shootings are becoming the norm, and they shouldn’t be. Doing nothing is only going to lead to the deaths of more innocent Americans. It’s time the United States tries something different.

 

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