“Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the Las Vegas shooting.”
“Pray for Vegas.”
“Now is not the time for political debate. It is a time to pray and mourn.”
These are the words I’ve seen millions of twitter users type out who think their voices are loud. But what if thoughts and prayers aren’t enough? What if now is exactly the right time to have a political conversation that this country has been putting off for way too long?
In 2012, Adam Lanza shot 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It seemed social media users sent their thoughts and prayers and we all moved on without really doing anything.
If Sandy Hook didn’t change gun control legislation then what will?
This country has seen more mass shootings than anywhere else in the world. According to a CNN study, although the United States only accounts for five percent of the world’s population, 31 percent of all the mass shootings in the world occur here.
We live in a culture where violence is romanticized, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. We watch television shows and movies that enact violence. Violence sells.
Dr. Herbert Gooch, a political science professor at California Lutheran University, thinks it goes back to our individualistic tendencies and revolutionary roots in the U.S.
“We were born into violence and revolution, and God damn it we are still in love with it,” Gooch said.
And when a society like this is given access to firearms, the consequences have been, and will continue to be, quite literally, deadly. We need more gun control, and we need to talk about it now.
According to a Politico Poll, 64 percent of U.S. citizens support stricter gun control laws. What’s stopping us?
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution says “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Many in opposition to tighter gun control laws cite this amendment as their foolproof method of rebuttal. However, the Constitution needs to be interpreted, just like any other document, and we are interpreting it in misleading ways.
The Constitution was written in a post-revolutionary United States. The amendment states “a well regulated Militia,” meaning that this clause is referring to a militia. It does not mention anything about individual citizens. The Second Amendment is in place so if the government becomes dangerous or tyrannical, militias may take up arms and rebel.
“If that was true that you needed the guns to defend yourself against the government, then there would be no case for licensing assault weapons and things like that. But we do that,” Gooch said.
Instead of clinging to a Second Amendment definition that is not completely accurate, we should be making progress in creating more laws to prevent future tragedies.
Gun owners need to take a test. They need to be mentally stable and they need to know how to use the gun.
There should be a national registry for anyone who owns a gun stating if they are using it for self-defense or sport. They should have nothing to hide.
Sure, guns don’t kill people. People kill people, but guns sure as hell make it a lot easier and that needs to change.