By Kourtney Husnick
In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1, the subject of gun control has been brought to the forefront once again. As usual, the mentioning of gun restrictions has been met with an abundance of criticism and anger. The internet has flooded with wishes of thoughts and prayers, which are quickly followed by claims that now is not the time to talk about gun control.
Now is absolutely the time to be talking about gun control. Now more than ever, we should be discussing what made such a horrific event possible and what could prevent any future shootings if our only actions are thoughts and prayers. Now, when this harsh reality is fresh in our minds, we should be talking about guns, rights, precautions and change. Now, when it has beat the desensitized mindset that past shootings have burned into us, we must have these discussions.
The Second Amendment is always the start of this debate. We often hear that the shooter bought his weapons legally, as though that somehow makes the situation better because there is nothing anyone could have done. We can do something. We can change the law. We can prioritize people’s lives above their infatuation with semi-automatic weapons. As American citizens, we have the right to bear arms, but that right should never infringe upon an innocent person’s right to live.
No one should legally be allowed to buy weapons that can kill more than 50 people — and injure more than 500 others — within a matter of minutes. Our response cannot simply be that we are praying. We cannot just ignorantly shout that guns don’t kill people. People kill people with guns. People kill more people with guns in the United States than in any other developed country. It is a lot harder to kill or injure a huge crowd of people without semi-automatic firearms. While other mediums for violence would still be available with restrictions placed on semi-automatic weapons, the amount of mass shootings and gun violence would decrease. Examples of this concept can be seen in every country that has gun control.
Among the other common opposing arguments is the idea that criminals do not follow laws, so it would be useless for us to make laws that restrict guns. No, criminals do not follow laws. The very concept of a criminal cannot exist without laws, but that has not stopped us from making laws regarding any other problematic topic. Conservatives happily fight to ban abortions, immigrants and marijuana because they know that laws do at least limit things from being readily available.
The answer to a gun problem is not more guns. The Las Vegas shooting would not have been solved by letting concertgoers carry weapons, and the problem is not a hotel safety policy issue. We need to acknowledge this as the problem it is.
Mass shootings are no longer shocking. There is a deadly mass shooting at least once per month. Seventeen of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. have occurred in the last 10 years. It is a normal part of living in this country, and that is absolutely unacceptable. The right to own guns should not come at the cost of more than 15,000 deaths in just one year. Action must be taken. Reforms must be made. Thoughts and prayers are not enough, and they won’t save anyone in the future.