Never again: Americans must take action on gun violence

In July of 2016, 49 people were shot and killed at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The tragedy became the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Just over a year later, this record was broken.  

A gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 1, killing 59 people and injuring 515 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Orlando and Las Vegas are not stand-alone incidents; in 2017 alone, the United States has experienced 273 mass shootings.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, 1,518 mass shootings have occurred since the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012. This number does not include all gun-related deaths, such as accidents, suicides or shootings that involved less than four people.

Despite the devastation caused by guns, no action has been taken since Sandy Hook to limit their accessibility. Mass shootings are a tragic, yet common aspect of American life.

When the news of the Las Vegas shooting broke, President Donald Trump spoke from the White House, saying that he and the First Lady were praying for those affected. However, prayers are not enough to solve this crisis. While thoughts and prayers are essential in a time of grieving, it is imperative that the United States takes action immediately.

According to Vox, since Australia passed the National Firearms Act in 1996, the country has not experienced a single mass shooting. Homicides, suicides and other gun-related deaths do occur, even with gun control. However, it is a much rarer occasion; the Australian homicide rate has decreased by 47 percent. The United States, on the other hand, has demonstrated little will to implement any sort of policy or program that would decrease the number of shootings in any given year. Instead, we offer condolences and move on.

However, there are children, students, faculty members, families and communities who cannot move on. There are students who will never return home from school. There are children who will never know their mothers. There are country music lovers who will never finish their festival because of a preventable tragedy.

After this shooting, our students will not be any safer on campus than they were after Sandy Hook, after Virginia Tech, after San Bernardino, after Orlando or after Las Vegas.

In response to Las Vegas, The Washington Post wrote, “Opponents of gun control say there is no easy fix. True. They say no law will stop every person who is intent on doing harm. True again. But America has no monopoly on evil or sick people, yet it loses far more people to gun violence.” Although we cannot control all of the perpetrators of these violent attacks, we can take steps to limit their destruction.To combat gun violence effectively, the United States must implement more gun control laws and background checks because it is the first step in the direction of safety.

After Sandy Hook, we said never again. After 1,518 shootings, it is time we make that saying a reality.

 

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