It’s been said that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. In the case of recent terror attack perpetrated by Stephen Paddock, what happened in Vegas sparks a national debate over gun control… again.
It’s a little disheartening to have the headline “largest shooting on US soil” pop up twice in two years. As many will remember, last year saw Omar Mateen attack a nightclub. This too, prompted a vehement argument over guns. That debate kicked up enough dirt to make lawmakers think about and even attempt to reform gun laws. The two laws proposed had to do with the ability of a suspected terrorist to purchase a gun, both of which fell through the cracks. In fact, only two Democrats voted for the Republican-submitted bill, with the general consensus being that the bill was not preventative enough. In my opinion, the bill is worthless and would not have made a demonstrable change, as the objective of the legislation is unclear.
So, if I’m critiquing legislation I must have some better plan, because us high school students are so well known for our bright ideas. Well, sadly, I don’t. I do, however, have a few insights to the overarching crisis that is gun control in the United States. First off is a conclusion that I made a long time ago, (when I heard of the Aurora shooting in Colorado) and will stick to for years to come: Guns are like drugs. You can do everything in your power to make them illegal and demonize them, but the only thing that will do is push the entire gun market underground and then you’ve got an illegal gun-smuggling empire on your hands. Think Pablo Escobar, but with untraceable and potentially modified weapons rather than cocaine. In addition to this, one has to keep in mind all of the Americans who worked hard for their guns and would hesitate to turn over all of their constitutionally protected firearms to the government. This only furthers the issue of strict gun control, proving that America is in too deep to ban firearms all together.
If banning guns outright doesn’t work, and giving people the constitutional right to own a gun given that they fit a certain criteria gets more than fifty people killed at a concert, what the hell do we do? You can’t give everyone guns, because this isn’t the Old West. I’m sure some people would claim that everyone having guns would devalue a gun and make the threat empty, since everyone can draw a pistol on one another. If everyone had a gun, people with anger issues could end up pulling a gun on their coworker for menial things. Then, everyone else in the office would pull their guns on the crazy guy, and now you’ve got a standoff at work.
Maybe the answer lies in the person shooting the gun, then. Only crazy people commit mass murder, right? Wrong again. As of early October, brain scans on Stephen Paddock have shown no abnormalities. The results of his toxicology are yet to come, but the fact that no disorders were found is frightening. His motive is still unclear, and at this rate it may continue to be unclear.
Lack of action is the recurring theme in this issue. Nobody is really quite sure what to do, since the issue is one of a hotly debated nature. Somehow, the balance of rights and safety need to be found. It surely needs to be harder for people to get firearms, but imposing specific laws to combat guns reaching the hands of those who would use them for terror is going to take a lot of time and debate in Congress. The sad reality of this issue is that a minor step will be taken, (or not taken, in the case of Orlando) and then we’ll have to wait for the next mass homicide for more laws. There are many issues that plague America, but gun violence seems to be one of the most prevalent right now. It’s going to take a lot of legislation to cure America of this sickness. It’s been time for change for ages, and hopefully this will be the incident that pushes Congress to action.