Gun control laws overdue for change


Art by Ian Miller


On October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. With 59 deaths and nearly 500 injuries, this was the largest mass shooting in American history. It is hard to sit by and say all of this constant violence is out of our control and there is nothing we, as a country, can do about it. It is time for America to change gun control laws or these extremely fatal events will continue to occur.

The root of the problem is our ability to even agree that this is a problem. When the President of the United States cannot even acknowledge that there is an extreme gun violence issue, change needs to happen very soon.

Like Donald Trump, many politicians react with “thoughts and prayers” and argued ‘it’s not time to discuss changing gun control laws as it is disrespectful to not mourn for the victims longer’. When this awful type of event occurs so often, we need to change something within our society and stop coming up with excuses. The first step to solving this national issue is agreeing there is a gun problem. Unfortunately, this proves to be difficult.

A large majority of Americans believe guns are needed to protect themselves, while others believe this is the root of the problem. It makes sense as to why families would feel safer with a gun, but how do we prevent tragedies from occurring when guns are allowed in so many public places?

Many states, including Texas, across the country have taken a different approach to solving gun violence and have allowed guns in more public places like college campuses, schools, and churches. These decisions were put in place to increase safety but because guns are now being legally accepted into the public, that could potentially make it easier for people with bad intentions to commit a mass shooting.

Yes, it’s true that determined killers could find a way to acquire illegal weapons but this does not mean U.S. Congress should not even attempt to improve the issue. We have examples of places where they were able to change this problem. After a mass shooting in 1996, Australia bought back almost 600,000 guns from their citizens, and there have been no mass shootings since. The Australian government made a decision that private ownership of guns should be limited. The Australian Outback can be compared to the Wild West of America past from a historical perspective. But the Australians are a sophisticated enough culture to get beyond the need for so many guns in private homes.

One step we could take toward improving this issue is requiring gun safety classes. These could be mandatory for all gun owners every few years to inform them on safety and how to react in different situations.

In addition, some potential gun owners may suffer from mental health issues and our country does not do an adequate job helping those with mental health issues. If we help address these problems, it could reduce the number of mass shootings.

America’s government needs to agree on sensible gun laws like stricter background checks and pass an assault weapon ban. It is understood that some guns are used solely for hunting or are kept in homes as self defense which provides security for some families. However, there is absolutely no reason why citizens should have military-type or assault weapons. The fact that many red states still allow it with easy background checks is frightening.

As a country, it’s impossible to expect change when there’s so much that has not been agreed upon. In order to reduce these mass shootings, we need to make changes to our gun control laws and start acting instead of “praying and sending thoughts”.