By Triandous Hobson
A few days ago, we experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history. If it feels like you’ve heard that before, it’s probably because you have. It seems like every other year we have the same situation and conversation.
Lives were lost due to a shooting, governors and congressmen offered prayers, citizens ask for tighter gun control laws, and then nothing really happens or changes. It is sad, but true.
When asked about gun policy, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders contradicted herself by proclaiming that now is not the time to discuss gun policy, but then quickly brought up Chicago’s gun control policies. She explained, “I think if you look to Chicago, where you had over 4000 victims of gun-related crimes last year, they have the strictest gun laws in the country. That certainly hasn’t helped there.”
Should that not mean something? That maybe, quite possibly, we should have a conversation about regulating policies that would reduce the chances of these type of things from happening? Can we not, as a society, agree that this is the last straw and something needs to be done about this?
I would hope so, but I’m not quite sure. In the House of Representatives, we will soon see a bill that might make things like mass shootings easier to execute.
While that might come off as unfair, or paranoid, it doesn’t feel that wrong to say.
The House will soon be tasked to look at the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreation Enhancement Act. If you don’t know what it is, basically it is a bill that will loosen restrictions on hunting and shooting on public lands. This bill includes some provisions that do not seem to be necessarily needed for those who shoot for sport.
One features the legalization of selling armor-piercing bullets, where the manufacturer would have to state the ammunition given is intended for strictly sporting purposes only, while the other would loosen some laws on silencers.
With both being unnecessary, one has to ask why? Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas, we learned this domestic terrorist had 23 different weapons and passed all of the requirements to obtain them.
Now you add things like silencers and piercing rounds being easier to obtain and that could make situations progressively worse.
I thought that after Sandy Hook, where children were murdered, we as Americans would come together and say no more. We didn’t, and it is sad because we could have potentially prevented more lives being lost.
There are other countries, like Australia, which tightened their gun laws and consequently saw a drop in gun-related deaths over the years.
We can even look at Japan which has one of the strictest policies on getting a gun I’ve ever heard of. Staff writer for The Japan Times Mizuho Aoki references the extreme difference between the U.S and Japan when it comes to gun laws in the article, “Strict Gun Laws Mean Japan Sees Fewer Shooting Deaths.” Aoki states, “The number of gun deaths in Japan totaled six in 2014, compared with 33,599 in the United States, according to Gunpolicy.org, a website run by the University of Sydney.”
What’s interesting about this whole thing is that, in America, you can get a gun before you can actually buy a drink. That’s right. In the United States you have to be twenty-one years of age to drink, but you can get a gun the second you turn eighteen.
Something is off about that. Not to mention, almost every time we have a situation in which mass shooting happens, the person is mentally ill. Each of these points to the fact that something is wrong with how we are doing things in America.
I understand the second amendment protects our rights, but all I want, honestly, is to feel safe wherever I am. Unfortunately, that is not possible right now and it necessitates the conversation about something being changed. It is 2017, and we are still abiding by rules and rights that are centuries old. Times have changed and it’s about time some of our laws follow suit.
Every time there is a mass shooting, the topic of gun control is deemed too soon to be addressed. Press Secretary Sanders continued this pattern of shying away, which begs me to leave you with this question. If we cannot address gun laws, policies, and regulations now, then when can we? How many more mass shootings have to occur before we take the steps to prevent them from ever happening again?