Living in the wild west of gun violence

Congress continues to be a bystander to increased gun violence


Photo via Flickr under Creative Commons license

Protesters gather in Maryland to support gun regulation following the Sandy Hook School Shooting. Public outcry against gun violence has been loud and clear, government response on the other hand has been less than sufficient.

Brock Spence, Staff Writer

“This is about these families, and families all across the country who are saying, ‘Let’s make it a little harder for our kids to get gunned down’.” – Barack Obama

In the year 2000, people could board planes without removing any shoes or hats, normal bottles of shampoo could be packed for flights, fans could enter stadiums without being pat down. After the Sept. 11 attacks all of that changed, and while the extra security is undeniably obnoxious, these efforts thwarted 50 terrorist attacks in the time from 2001 to 2012.

Last year, 345 mass shootings occurred (almost one per day), and not a single change has been made to federal gun policies.”

— Staff Writer Brock Spence

The people in power saw areas where security could improve, and that change was enacted to help protect people — the same cannot be said about the response to increased gun violence.

Last year, 345 mass shootings occurred (almost one per day), and not a single change has been made to federal gun policies. Foreign terrorists kill roughly one American per year, but just last year citizens from Muslim countries were banned from entering the United States. Guns kill more than 13,000 people per year, yet gun control legislation appears to be non-existent.

The United States is leagues behind in gun control regulation, enabling guns to easily end up in the hands of the wrong people. It is imperative that the United States increase restrictions on purchasing weapons in order to better protect our people from the next mass shooting. Gun control is not about taking away guns; gun control is about making it harder for vindictive people to purchase guns.

In countries around the world, gun control legislation has been passed and with high success rates. Australia is experiencing its lowest gun-related crime rates in 25 years, in Great Britain gun violence occurs at a rate 160 times less than that of the United States (the United States population is only 6 times larger). The average intellectual would try and replicate working gun control systems in the midst of a gun violence epidemic, but no one ever accused the United States Congress of being logical.

Currently, in the United States, it is harder for a citizen to purchase a puppy than it is for a citizen to purchase an M134 Minigun (this particular minigun can fire up to 166 bullets per second). Conversely, 80 percent of Americans, including gun owners, believe in gun control reforms. Normally the opinion of the people would have an impact in a democratic government, but when it comes to gun regulation common sense has a formidable sparring partner — the National Rifle Association.

Photo via Michael Vandon under Creative Commons license
National Rifle Association Vice-President Wayne LaPierre rallies Republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference. In addition to backing in congress NRA lobbying allows the organization to make regular appearances at conservative gatherings to propel resistance against gun control.

The NRA is one of the most influential organizations in politics to date, and while political distraction may play a huge role in their politics, the real breadwinner for the NRA is cold, hard, cash. In 2012, the NRA spent $3 million ensuring that Republicans defend their guns from the pesky Obama administration. And in 2016, the NRA loaned the Republican party a mere $50 million  worth of political advocacy, an estimated $30 million of which was spent on yours truly, Donald Trump.

Democrats have tried their best, but it will take a lot more than human life for the Grand Old Party to turn their back on their million-dollar guardian angel. Following the Newtown shootings gun control legislation requiring background checks before purchasing guns saw great momentum, but Democrats fell just four votes short of the needed 60 votes to break the Republican filibuster.

In the current state of Congress, gun control regulations are still far away, but this has not stopped today’s Democrats from trying. In 2017, California Senator Dianne Feinstein proposed a ban on the sales of military-style assault weapons and weapons with high capacity ammunition, the very weapons used to take the lives of 59 Americans in Las Vegas last October. Unsurprisingly Senate Republicans, or NRA dollars, immediately opposed this bill because recreational hunting just would never be the same without the average minigun.

Feinstein never expected the bill to pass the closely guarded Republican Senate anyways. Instead, Feinstein wanted Americans to know that legislation that can help prevent the next Vegas shooting is ready, and all it takes is a little bipartisan support.

Only with the support of the American people will the United States finally exit this wild west era of gun violence. Action on even the slightest of gun reforms could stop the next mass shooting in America, supporters (or opposers, every opinion matters) of gun control should email their state representative today and present their stance.