By Maddie VanHorn
(10/10/2017) Last week I wrote about a terrorist attack in London and about London’s unarmed police force. I said that an unarmed police force would never work in the United States due to the cultural differences, and the amount of guns owned by American citizens. I said that due to the high amount of violence within the last year,it is essential for police to have guns. Now less than two weeks later, the United States is left devastated by the deadliest mass shooting in American History.
On October 1st, sixty four year old Stephen Paddock, open fired on a crowd of more than twenty two thousand people attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Las Vegas strip. Shooting from the fifty eighth floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, armed with more than a dozen firearms, Paddock killed fifty eight people and left more than five hundred injured. He purchased all of these guns legally.
After every gun related tragedy, the gun control debate is brought up again. People argue if these heinous attacks could have been prevented or not. While I agree that we must honor our constitution and the second amendment, we obviously need more gun control regulations, as the United States has experienced 9 mass shootings in 2017 alone. The government definition of a mass shooting involves criteria that 4 or more people must be killed, and the victims must be selected randomly (Diehm). This rules out many other gun related crimes than have occurred this year, such as the “baseball practice shooting, in June, because the gunman didn’t kill four people”(Diehm).
However, it is extremely difficult to find a balance for a topic like this, which is so controversial and puts so much at stake. I believe that while people should still have the right to have guns, whether it be for hunting or for protection, there is no need for these guns to shoot anymore than one bullet at a time. Automatic or semiautomatic guns should not be permitted, as they are not necessary for everyday Americans. Gun “bump stocks”, which make semi automatic weapons operate like automatic guns, were used by Paddock in his attack. The United States must also impose greater control over the possession of devices like these, as they are currently legal in the US. In addition, stricter criteria must be put in place to purchase firearms, including extensive background checks and mental health exams. While many may argue that the people responsible for these massacres get these guns illegally, imposing some restrictions on guns is essential, as we cannot afford to wait until the next deadly shooting to take action.
Renaissance alum Hank Brianard was a witness of the event. You can read his account with the link below:
What is your opinion on gun control regulations in the United States?
Bui, Lynh, et al. “At Least 59 Killed in Las Vegas Shooting Rampage, More than 500 Others Injured.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 2 Oct. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/10/02/police-shut-down-part-of-las-vegas-strip-due-to-shooting/?utm_term=.d6ce5f01f47c.