COMMENT: Gun control needed after countless mass shootings in U.S.

Opinions expressed are author’s own.

On the first day of October, United States had their 294th mass shooting of the year.  A gunman open fired on his Oregon Community College killing 9 and injuring seven. Those killed have been named, and whilst the media have identified the shooter, the police have refused to do so with Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin stating, “I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act.”

President Barack Obama took to the podium, yet again, to talk about how routine this has all become – that there is a formula to what happens, why, how it is dealt with and discussed in the aftermath.

Yet there are still those who insist upon their second amendment right. How can people see so much violence and still insist on the importance of gun ownership for all?

In 1996, Australia had its worst mass shooting in history. Martin Bryant murdered 35 people in Port Arthur. John Howard proceeded to ban all semi-automatic,automatic rifles, and shot guns.

We haven’t had a mass shooting since.

Attempts are being made to erase these laws, to which the former Prime Minister said, “I don’t think it benefits anybody. I’m critical of any winding back of the laws.”

I am in total agreement. Removal of these laws is probably one of the stupidest things that could be done. It is proven that these laws work. Every year, 200 lives are saved because the scheme has limited firearm-suicides.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) believes we’ve had our liberties removed, stating in an article, “The Australian people paid a massive price in liberty. Their reward? At best, an unexamined resolution that things were somehow better now. For those who became victims, or who simply examined the situation with open eyes, it was rather clear that they were not. Gun rights were, for all practical purposes, gone forever.”

This is ridiculous faced with the facts. The question remains, why haven’t the U.S followed suit?

This graphic has been created by Mass Shooting Tracker, who have been accused of being too liberal with the term ‘mass shooting.’ The FBI define a mass shooting as three or more people which were  killed by gunfire, according to the Washington Post. 

It doesn’t matter, in my opinion. Gun control is something that needs to be done regardless. Even if it were just 294 single shooting incidents, it would be too many. I am not saying Australia is perfect. Gun crime still exists.

I’m sure the United States is sick of aching, however. How many people have to be buried, how many people have to be imprisoned, and how many times do we have to see a Presidential address before something is done?

I acknowledge that it is extremely hard to change the U.S Constitution – both Houses must have two thirds of the vote, and then it must be ratified by three fourths of the states.

I think enough people have died for it to be realised that the right to bear arms needs to be repealed – or at the very least amended.

After Charleston, President Obama said, “I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. We don’t have all the facts, but we do know once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. Now is the time for mourning and for healing, but let’s be clear, at some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”

He’s right. He has made statements like this too many times. The President has tried to pass ‘common sense gun control laws’ but has failed. It is “the greatest frustration of his presidency’.

Maybe this will be the shooting to change it all? Maybe this will be the last time I have to write an article about the United States’ lack of gun control?   Something needs to be done. The culture of turning our backs when a mass shooting occurs needs to be finished. This routine needs to be broken. This needs to be the last time. Some believe that school safety is actually the problem  but let’s be honest with ourselves, if guns weren’t so readily available why would we even need to worry about school safety. Something needs to be done about how freely guns are available in the United States of America, whether they follow our footsteps or carve their own path.

At the end of the day, the right to bear arms must be questioned.

Originally published here in 2015.


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