America Doesn't Have A Gun Problem, It Has Several

I'm 18 years old and I've lived through three different events all with the same headline, “Deadliest Shooting in American History.”

I still remember the day the Sandy Hook school shooting happened. I was 14 years old and I just remember being dumbfounded that our country let something like this happen. 20 children were murdered at gun-point. I was in utter shock and disbelief, and I still am to this day. I will never forget how I felt that day.

In the wake of yet another mass shooting, which is now dubbed the “deadliest mass shooting in modern history” (only 16 months after another deadliest mass shooting in Orlando, FL), debate about gun control is a charged topic of conversation once again. One can predict that these conversations will result in no action by congress; conversations will cease a few weeks after the tragedy. This is the pattern of behavior we have become accustomed to after massacres like this.

When will enough be enough?

It’s a question I feel like I’ve been asking for 5 years now. How does congress still continue to do nothing? It still astounds me that our legislators choose to stay silent on gun violence when more Americans have died from gun violence in the last 13 years than aids, drug overdoses, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and terrorism combined. That should be alarming enough for every member of congress to put forth legislation to restrict gun ownership.

The NRA has these GOP congressmen and women wrapped around their fingers in a money clip. All our congressmen and women do is send their “thoughts and prayers” because they can’t show a lack of support for the people that put money in their pockets. What they don’t realize is that their self-righteousness and entitlement has caused a gun lobby to run the country. For some reason 20 children in an Elementary school, 49 people in a gay nightclub, and 59 people dead at a music festival is not enough to let go of their pride, and ban assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons.

What kind of person needs an assault rifle or semi-automatic weapon? Is this what the “right to bear arms” has come down to? Those types of weapons are not used for self-defense or sport; it’s pretty clear that they’re meant to kill multiple people as fast as possible. What’s even scarier is how the shooter was able to easily obtain 47 fully loaded guns and high capacity magazine weapons. In every other developed country, you need a license & registration, reason for  purchase, safety training, and safe storage to purchase a gun. All the U.S. citizens need is the second amendment. If we had those precautions in our system, would the shooter would’ve been able obtain those guns?

The reality is that the majority of Americans want better gun control. 77% of Americans do not own a gun. 90% agree that our country should have stronger gun control. This is not a democracy if a vicious few control what the law will be without any regard for the wants of the citizens. The people in power are not speaking for the people affected by this issue every single day. Instead of focusing on banning abortion after 20 weeks, when only 1.3% of abortions happen after 20 weeks, shouldn’t Congress be banning assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, and high level guns when 93 Americans are killed by guns every single day?

The question is, how can we enforce gun control in a country that is so historically gun happy? An idea that has been circulating the news references the successes of another when it comes to gun control. Australia passes the National Firearms Agreement after a mass shooting in 1996. Here’s what they did:

  • Restricted legal ownership of firearms.

  • Established a registry of all guns owned in the country.

  • Required a permit for all new firearm purchases.

  • Banned automatic & semi-automatic rifles, and shotguns.

  • Required a mandatory buyback of 650,000 guns that had just been declared illegal.

That is the kind of gun control we should be aiming for. Australia hasn’t had a single mass shooting since they introduced that piece of legislation.

Could that happen in the U.S.? The answer is debatable, since the U.S. and Australia have major political and societal differences. However, it is definitely something to look into and a good model for preventing another mass shooting.

Unfortunately, in spite of the Las Vegas tragedy, the NRA is pushing two dangerous gun bills into congress as I write this. These bills are:

  • Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act or the SHARE Act

  • Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017

I urge all of you to call your Representatives and Senators to stop these two bills from being made into law, and to urge your congresspersons to fight for better gun control in our country.

Text REJECT to 644-33 or go to https://everytown.org/act/ to find more ways to get involved.