Recent tragedies show need for stricter gun control laws

Anna McCloskey, Staff Writer

Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado, and other gun related incidents represent a morbid but imperative call to action. Gun violence in this country has reached a point where we must act, or risk the pressing consequences. The fact is, this issue cannot be ignored any longer. This country cannot go on without action upon the issue that takes 30,000 lives in the United States each year. Furthermore, we cannot solve this issue with looser regulations. Fighting fire with fire, or in this case fighting guns with guns, will not be effective.

Guns are the problem. Fewer guns equals less gun violence. Basic logic must prevail if Americans are to see that more guns and sloppy laws will never prevent the motives of their use from being impure. The numbers tell the story: the current 238 million guns in civilian hands raise the chances of gun violence.

One potential gun control measure would be the ban of assault weapons. Once banned in the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, assault weapons are now legal for citizen ownership. Why do Americans feel the need to own an assault rifle? The sole purpose of these weapons is the killing of others, and while self defense is an understandable concern, an AK-47 under your pillow is not only inessential, but ludicrous.

Take a recent incident in China––during the same week as the Newtown tragedy––twenty two school children were stabbed by a man while they sat in their class. Not one of their injuries was fatal. While the crime was no less heinous, the casualties were significantly diminished. Had the gun-wielding killers of Aurora and Newtown not had access to such lethal weapons, their impact would not have been as widespread.

There are other areas of gun control that could lower violence within the United States. Increased mental health screening, pre-purchase education, and reduced permit availability are some less involved examples, while various bans, strict purchase regulations, and the prevention of previous perpetrators of gun violence from obtaining guns are more involved and potent varieties. The bottom line is that without increased gun control, violent and fatal incidents will continue to occur.

Opposers of gun control often argue that criminals and mass murderers obtain guns illegally, making gun control useless. This is not, in fact, true, as 49 of the mass murderers in the United States since 1982 had obtained their guns legally, while only 11 obtained guns illegally. Had those shooters been hindered by gun control regulations, innocent lives could have been saved.

Turning a deaf ear or refusing to “politicise” recent gun related issues is ignorant, callous, and offensive. Action simply must be taken on a political scale. If five of the eleven deadliest mass shootings in United States history have occurred in the years since 2007, we obviously have a growing problem. As a country with rather lenient gun laws, we also have the most mass shootings on the list of the twenty-five worst mass shootings in world history, with fifteen. Ignorance can no longer be bliss.

To put it in simple terms, issues related to gun violence will not go away with mild gun regulations or a complete lack of regulation. In order to preserve our once peaceful nation, stricter gun ordinances are a necessity. We must not ignore, but act. We must not deny, but learn. We can not let such tragedies happen with such a simple solution at hand.