Editorial: Stricter gun control laws are a matter of public safety


People rallying for stricter gun control in the streets of Las Vegas after the shooting incident

Kimberly Wilson, Opinion Editor



On Sunday Oct. 1, the deadliest mass shooting in US history took place. A gunman opened fire on a crowd attending an outdoor country music concert from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. More than 500 people were injured and at least 58 people were killed in the horrific event. This latest tragedy has inevitably reopened the public debate surrounding stricter gun control laws, but there are still people who don’t want to discuss the harm a maniac with a gun can inflict.

“I think it’s particularly inappropriate to politicize an event like this.” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when the topic was brought up. When asked if the U.S. has a “gun violence problem” by a reporter at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, President Donald Trump responded by declaring, “We’re not going to talk about that today. We won’t talk about that.”

Conversely, Rep. John Lewis told the members of Congress to “have courage” and “bring common-sense gun control legislation to a vote.” He then pleaded, “How many more dead bodies will it take to wake up this Congress? This must stop, and it must stop now. We were elected to lead.”

There’s little doubt the injured and their families, as well as the families of the deceased, need our thoughts and our prayers now, as House Majority Whip Steve Scalise alluded to during an interview on Fox News. However, unfortunately, thoughts and prayers probably won’t stop this from happening again. Stricter gun control laws would, at the very least, be a proper start. As Rep. Katherine Clark said in an interview with ABC News, “The best way to honor victims of gun violence in our country is to take action.”

America has never taken a second thought about shielding its citizens from outside danger. Travel bans have been implemented, border walls have been proposed, and wars were even started all in the name of keeping those who threatened the safety of Americans at bay. So how is it that when Americans kill other Americans, by way of mass shootings, the consensus is we’re at a loss for what can be done? It seems nonsensical for the government to continue to do nothing to stop these mass shootings.

Many opposing stricter gun control laws have reiterated that such laws would not necessarily stop mass shootings from occurring, but an article posted on Newsweek’s website says “nonpartisan fact-checking organization PolitiFact found in 2015, ‘States with laws that restrict guns do tend to have lower death rates.’” Even if criminals can’t be stopped from finding a way to perpetrate criminal acts, that doesn’t mean we should be making it any easier for them to get away with it.

From implementing a gun registry to mandatory training and updated skills checks for all gun owners, there are several measures that can be taken to reduce these kinds of tragedies. An article on NBC News’ website states that a bipartisan bill is being worked on by Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida to ban bump stocks, which is “a device used to rapidly accelerate a weapon’s’ rate of fire.” A dozen bump stocks were said to have been found in the shooter’s hotel room.

It’s easy for us to shy away from the conversation of how we’re going to stop mass shootings from becoming all too normal in American society. However not talking about it and not taking any action isn’t going to help find a solution. Something must be done to stop these horrendous acts from happening, otherwise they will continue to happen. In the words of former President Ronald Reagan, “I know it’s a hell of a challenge, but ask yourselves if not us, who, if not now, when?”