For Gun Control

Dylan Ryfe, Reporter

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It was a late, cool night on Sunday, October 2nd. The Route 91 Harvest Festival was in full swing, and main act Jason Aldean was partway through his set when shots were fired from the Mandalay Bay Resort. Countless were injured, and this shooting would go down as the worst in U.S History. The only question people are left asking is: Will anything change?

Of course not.

Since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, there have been more than 1,500 mass shootings in America alone, and the overwhelming response is to simply show your support online with the phrase “Pray for *insert place*.” The common response after a mass shooting is to buy a gun. This signals that many feel that they can protect themselves if a shooting occurred in their life. Another response is to argue for stricter gun laws, but most of the time the lense shifts after a week or two, leaving these tragedies to fall into the void never to be seen again.

Even if there was a constant overwhelming force pressuring Congress into making new gun laws, the National Rifle Association could simply pay off the legislators to reject bills that would cause them harm. Many Republicans have a history of being in the NRA’s pocket, receiving donations in exchange for their support (Senator John McCain received over seven million dollars in campaign and personal funds.) Being in the pocket of the NRA makes these Senators vote against gun restrictions even if their own opinion think otherwise. If a Senator backed by the NRA votes the other way, they will most certainly lose many millions of dollars in campaign funding, almost assuring they won’t be reelected. This poses a problem. Due to the Republican majority in the House and the Senate, the likelihood of passing a gun bill is small.

There was a segment on 60 Minutes a few years ago where they send a 16 year old boy to go try and purchase cigarettes, alcohol, and lottery tickets. He is turned down for all three, but when they send him to a gun show, he is able to walk out with an automatic rifle and about a hundred rounds of ammunition in less than five minutes. Personally it’s mind boggling to think about how this is possible. We as a country are able to go to extreme lengths to vet incoming immigrants to make sure they aren’t criminals, but can’t vet ourselves?

However, there may be a solution. In the early to late 80s, there was a large push to demonize tobacco; hundreds of commercials, infographics, interviews, news stories, and scientific studies were pumped through the American household. The tobacco companies lobbied and lobbied but the campaign succeeded: U.S consumption of cigarettes has declined by over 100 billion packs in the past decade, and is projected to decrease even more in the future. Although I don’t think demonizing guns is a way to get laws passed, something similar could work. Since the gun industry panders to a large portion of the population, limiting gun purchases to only allow people to buy say one to two per person (after they have had a background check done) could limit shootings to a minimum.

Recently, the main focus of gun regulations have been focused around bump stocks. These stocks allowed Stephen Paddock’s single shot rifles to turn into automatic weapons. The NRA has come out and said they are open to talks about new regulations regarding bump stocks, which is most definitely a step in the right direction.

There is still much to be done if we want to eliminate mass shootings in our country, and it will take time to get people to change. While I am not opposed to people having guns, stockpiling tens or hundreds of rifles is just plain unnecessary. At this point, we are just waiting for the next shooting to happen, until we have senators who want to achieve action regardless of jobs and dollar signs, all we can do is wait.