Gun Control In The Wake of A Mass Shooting
The gun control debate has been going on for decades, though both sides have been arguing more frequently lately in the wake of multiple mass shootings that have occurred in a short period of time. On November 5, 2017, 27 people were killed and 20 more were wounded in Sutherland Springs, Texas. On October 1, 2017, 58 people were killed and 515 were wounded in Las Vegas, Nevada. On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed and 58 were wounded in Orlando, Florida. These three shootings are among the top ten deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. And all three of them occurred in a little over a year. In 2017 alone, there have been approximately 378 mass shootings with death tolls ranging from zero to 59 per shooting. Regardless of where one stands in the debate over gun control, it is evident that gun violence is a severe problem in America.
Let me preface this by saying that I am not entirely anti-gun. I do believe that there are some instances in which people may need a gun for protection or hunting purposes, however, the deadliest shootings are never committed with pistols or hunting rifles. These acts of terror are committed with assault rifles, capable of firing off hundreds of bullets in a very short period of time. And often, these shooters are armed with multiple assault rifles. There is no reason that anyone would require multiple assault rifles unless they intended to inflict damage on a massive scale. Banning assault rifles would be a perfect compromise in the gun control debate, because gun-owners could continue to own guns, but the types of guns that are the deadliest would be heavily regulated. As of right now, it is relatively easy to gain access to one or more of these weapons. In some places, it is even possible to purchase and trade guns online, with no guarantee that these weapons will eventually be registered by their owners.
A common argument against this sort of gun control is that people will simply choose to ignore the law and continue to buy and sell these guns. They use this argument to justify needing guns to protect themselves from criminals with assault rifles. This argument is weak because other countries, such as Australia, have experienced decreases in both homicides and gun violence after enforcing stricter gun laws. While eliminating assault rifles likely wouldn’t completely eliminate gun violence in the United States, it would certainly reduce it by making it much more difficult for someone to obtain an assault rifle. To address the other point in the pro-assault rifle argument, it would likely be more dangerous to have multiple people with assault rifles during a mass shooting. This is because it is often difficult to tell the direction in which the bullets are going, so good samaritans with guns could be confused for the main shooter. And if there are multiple people trying to “help” in a situation like that, each one might not realize who the first shooter is, resulting in a shootout that could end with multiple innocent people either wounded or dead. Not to mention the possibility of innocent people getting caught in the crossfire. Either way, refusing to ban or increasing the number of people armed with assault rifles would be ineffective and even detrimental in the fight to end massive gun violence.
It is clear that there is a problem with gun violence in America, and “thoughts and prayers” won’t end this problem. Instead, we need to contact our representatives and tell them that there needs to be a change in gun legislation. Mass shootings have only become more frequent and more deadly in recent years, and little has been done to combat this disturbing trend. We must take action to prevent these types of crimes before they increase any more in severity and frequency.