By Omar Carrillo
On October 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a span of just 10 minutes, nearly 60 people were shot dead and over 500 people were injured in an attack that has now been recognized as being the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Opening fire on a concert happening literally hundreds of yards away, the shooter would forever impact the lives of everyone on the Vegas strip below, in the instant blink of an eye.
In their room, authorities would find precisely what allowed him to do this in the first place: twenty-four different firearms, presumably part of the thirty-three guns he was reported to have purchased in the last 12 months alone.
All of the firearms, most of which were assault rifles and purchased legally, are a variant designed to fire rounds in succession at incredibly fast speeds; which is without a doubt ideal for multiple targets at a greater distance.
So why does the number of weapons he had at his disposal matter? After all, he surely did not use all of these weapons in the attack? Unfortunately, like many things, the answer to this issue is a lot more complicated than you may think, and it definitely may not be as conveniently concise enough for a ballot as a politician might want.
In the United States, calling the topic of gun control a “hot button issue” is quite the understatement. Everyone seems to have an opinion about it, one way or another, with possible misunderstandings and ignorance on both sides.
The phrase “gun control” is quite loaded and misleading in and of itself, as people sometimes feel controlling guns may be the first step in controlling other issues in our lives. To some, it boils down to the government wanting to take every single firearm in the country away from their owners. However, as shown by past events such as Nixon’s “War On Drugs” in the early seventies: banning and witch-hunting a specific item that is already largely present in society, could arguably not be a very good idea at all.
Instead, a broader and more realistic definition of “gun control” would be simply a greater increase in gun regulations when it comes to selling these weapons in the U.S. Some of these regulations could include screenings for any criminal record or mental illness the intending owner may have.
The second amendment protects every citizens’ right to defend themselves with a gun in the late 18th century, particularly in the forming of defensive militias, in which the common firearm was the standard musket, a weapon with a ludicrously long reloading speed incomparable to today’s rifles. Therefore, it could very well be argued this long-followed law must be respected. Simple, but not bad a point at all.
Yet on the other hand, it is also arguable to point out the very valuable flexibility of the constitution, and the changes made to it that have been very important for the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for American citizens; changes such as the 14th amendment, which abolished slavery.
However, if less people were given access to guns, logically there would be more people vulnerable to those who do, right? “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” after all. A reasonable concern, and one with legitimate cause to bring up. On the other side of this though, the actual rarity of house invasions has to be addressed, as well as another sub topic in and of itself: why is legal to sell assault rifles?
These are not weapons needed to defend yourself or your home, and an experienced shooter with a smaller gun, less convenient for mass shootings is just as well off when it comes to self defense.
In April of 2016 at Gresham High School, an incident involving gun violence arose when a shooting threat was spray painted on the outside wall on the front of the school. The steps the school took (a lock-in, security precautions, etc.) were arguably only necessary, especially when considering the amount of violent school shootings taking place at the time.
Thankfully, the incident was a false alarm that was addressed quickly, but it truly put in perspective how on-edge the entire school system was at the time, especially in light of the incredible tragedy that occured at Reynolds High School in mid 2014.
As difficult as it is to debate such controversial topics, it is shown to be necessary at this point. There have been almost 300 mass shootings in the United States this year alone. This issue needs to be argued, whether we might like it or not, because frankly an issue as serious and critical as this demands it.