Yesterday 26 churchgoers were murdered in their place of worship by a deranged man
wielding an assault rifle. This tragedy comes only weeks after 59 people were killed during a country music concert in Las Vegas.
Mass shootings occur with so much frequency that we as Americans have almost become numb to them, and follow the same, predictable cycle in their wake. First, we react with shock, and send our thoughts and prayers, which is an absolutely normal response. But for many people, including politicians, that’s where the process ends. People will call for changes in gun control legislation, but, in the end, nothing ever changes. So we move on, until the next tragedy strikes, and the cycle begins again. So when will we say enough is enough?
The United States is the only nation in the world where we experience these constant mass shootings. Why? We are not the most populous nation in the world, nor the largest in area, yet we experience a ridiculously high volume of gun violence. At a certain point, we must make changes.
Many people make the argument that gun control doesn’t work, but as my professor and former President of the Brady Campaign Paul Helmke once said “We’ve never really tried gun control, so we cannot argue that it doesn’t work.” He’s right. Policy-wise, the US has only tried small gun control efforts, despite popular support for enacting common-sense legislation. This would include mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, something that has received wide support.
A 2017 Quinnipiac poll reported that 94% of American support universal background checks. If that’s not a mandate, I don’t know what is. Additionally, bans on assault weapons have been proposed, as well as bans on modifiers such as the bump stocks that were used in the Las Vegas shootings.
We all know how this story ends. Congressional inaction is likely, unless people use their voices to speak out in favor of increased gun control regulations. We can keep guns out of the hands of those who are dangerous while still allowing law-abiding citizens to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. But we must say enough is enough.