As most have heard by now, a mass shooting occurred in a Texas church early on Sunday morning. After the disaster in Las Vegas last month, many called for both sides to not politicize the issue. At this rate, however, we cannot afford to stand idly by while our fellow Americans are subject to a relatively dangerous (compared to other industrialized nations) climate throughout the States. I do not wish to appear hyperbolic, so let me start by saying that the chances of a given American being involved in a mass shooting are still incredibly small. However, American mass shootings and gun crimes are so much more common in America than they are anywhere else. We, as an American People, must finally have a real dialogue about our nation’s direction moving forward.
A common argument against gun control is that “People who buy guns legally aren’t the people we need to be worrying about”. This argument was blown out of the water when Stephen Paddock committed atrocities in Vegas with legally purchased guns. Even so, the most horrific gun crime in American history was only enough to get American legislators to consider a ban on bump stocks. If our legislation cannot change to accommodate our constantly morphing future, how can our nation hope to survive? Are we to put our trust in a governmental system that time in and time out has not seriously considered a remedy for our present situation?
I am all for the Rights of an American, but at a certain point, one privilege, a privilege which has been used for evil, is not worth the suffering of hundreds or thousands of American citizens. According to a study in the American Journal of Medicine, 3.6 Americans died from gun violence per every 100,000. This is alarmingly higher than the .1 citizen death per 100,000 citizens in the other 22 modernized countries (which include the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, et al.). The question now is how we manage this crisis while infringing on American rights as little as possible.
Any solution is sure to rub one group or another the wrong way, and I’m sure many Americans would be offended if they were faced with the prospect of their protection and security being taken from them, which I completely understand. However, gun reform in countries like Australia, where it has been wildly successful in curbing gun related deaths since its’ implementation, can be looked to for inspiration. I don’t think it unreasonable for individuals to be subject to a mental and criminal screening process, and a waiting period to ensure certainty that they want the responsibility of a gun in their home. A common argument goes as follows: How is it reasonable to subject women who want to get abortions to a waiting period, and in some cases psychiatric evaluation (however invasive or non-invasive that evaluation may be), when we don’t even subject buyers of deadly weapons to such extreme scrutiny.
I find many compelling arguments on both sides of this debate, and I do truly understand the sentiment behind the desire to keep guns attainable, but this is not a “the Government is coming to take your guns away” situation. It is a counter measure to help ensure that massive acts of violence occur as infrequently as possible.
SOURCES: American Journal of Medicine