Opinion piece: We need to talk about gun control

Gun control laws are necessary in this country. This was evident after Columbine, after Sandy Hook, and after Pulse. It is evident once again after Las Vegas. And yet, the odds that something will actually happen are close to zero. The same frustrating sequence of events happens every time a tragedy like this happens. Everyone offers thoughts and prayers for victims and families, insisting it is not time to politicize the event. Then, everyone moves on slowly. When the “mandatory mourning period” is over, the issue is no longer salient, or there is another pressing problem that needs taking care of. This is the incredibly effective tool of the Right to stay away from gun control laws that are clearly needed.

The problem is, there is no legitimate reason not to implement gun control laws. There are lots of rights that are restricted for the good of the general public. For example, free speech is limited when it comes to obscene things that could upset other people. Rights do not stay intact when they interfere with the wellbeing of the general public. There is no reason why the second amendment should be exempt from this, except the Right and groups like the NRA seem to think that any intervention into gun ownership is a gross violation of our rights as Americans. The common misunderstanding is that the reform many call for is not complete abolishment of guns, just limiting of who can purchase a gun, making the purchasing period longer, and banning the purchase of things such as high powered assault rifled. This is reasonable. Longer waiting periods and more thorough mental health assessments are necessary and not harmful, and no one needs a high powered assault rifle for anything except to, oh right, hurt people. Every claim by gun enthusiasts about why those death machines are necessary are easily debunked by statistics and common sense.

We need reform, and we need it now. Anyone who refuses to let that happen has blood on their hands. There have already been hundreds of shootings this year. I urge our policymakers: do not let it continue.

Image Credits: NYT



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