Why Is It Not The Time To Talk About Gun Control?
By: Kayla Pasacreta
Yesterday, you woke up to the tragic news of the largest mass shooting in United States history. I'm only 19, but I've heard that headline three times in my time living. Virginia Tech. Orlando. Las Vegas. This should prove we have a problem, right? Everyone can agree these shootings are senseless, but shockingly lawmakers aren't moved enough by these senseless tragedies to do something about it instead of just offering prayer.
Though a number of Democratic politicians have come out and urged their colleagues to start passing tougher gun control laws, many, er, Republicans refused to talk about it. Sean Hannity said anyone talking about gun control is "politicizing the tragedy in an absolutely despicable display.” Conservative pundit Bill O'Reily went as far to say the tragedy was the "downside of freedom". Republican Senator Jon Corbyn called it "disgusting" for Democrats to "politicize" the tragedy. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders choked up at the podium about the bravery exhibited by many in Las Vegas - but insisted now was not the time to talk about gun control. Republicans every where shared a similar message yesterday: sad day, but don't you dare talk about guns.
Fox host Howard Kurtz begged people to hold off the gun control talk for at least one day.
I can't help but notice the country's love affair and misunderstanding of the 2nd amendment. Trump often rushes to address terrorism when the culprit is Muslim, and immediately reinforces his mission to enforce a Muslim ban, to make the country safer, he says. But on the flip side, having to talk about the damage guns cause seems to be a more sensitive, uncomfortable topic than innocent people losing their lives to people who should not be in possession of guns. The Trump Administration seems to be doing everything possible to keep Muslims out of the country - but they're failing to acknowledge the scarier issue that's closer to home. White men have committed more mass shooting than any other group. Why does this country refuse to focus their efforts on keeping guns out of the hands of the group most prone to committing these atrocities on our home soil? (I'll answer this for you: we only care about doing anything about crime when a person of color is the one doing it).
I'm not saying citizens shouldn't have guns - the 2nd Amendment clearly gives citizens the right to bear arms. But why does the every day person need a machine gun or assault rifle, which are specifically made to kill as many people as quickly as possible? Stephen Paddock owned 42 guns. Gun violence occurs more in the United States than any other country. Let's bring out the receipts. Nevada specifically is home to some of the "laxest" gun laws in the country. Here's what you need to know about gun laws in the state:
- Open carry is legal without a permit
- The state does not ban assault weapons and there is no magazine capacity limit
- You do not have to "register" a gun to someone else
- It is legal to carry a gun in a restaurant or bar, even if you are consuming alcohol
- It is legal to carry a gun in casinos or on the Las Vegas strip
There's no way to prove that stricter gun laws would have prevented what happened on Sunday night. However, the government has a responsibility to ensure there are no legal loopholes ill-intended human beings can go through in order to secure a gun. There is no plausible reason why prospective gun-owners should not have to go through every damn background check possible. Tougher gun control is worth it, even if it only secures one life being saved.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are still set to vote on a bill that will make it easier to purchase silencers. This bill, of course, is backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Last February, one of Donald Trump's first executive orders was signing a bill to roll back on Obama-era legislation that kept guns out of the hands of mentally ill people.
The NRA is undoubtedly influential when it comes to politics. The gun lobbying group cashed in over $30 million dollars to Donald Trump's campaign. According to Open Secrets, the NRA has spent $3,200,000 on lobbying efforts to politicians so far this year. It's not difficult to see the connection between the NRA's generous spending and Republican reluctance to pass tough gun control laws.
When will this country start to realize the dire consequences of making bills aimed to please powerful gun lobbies? I'll leave you with this tweet: