Mass Shootings Devastate Americans

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Candlelight Vigil held outside of Virginia Tech University. April 6th, marks the Virginia Tech mass shooting. Photo Credit / Kate Wellington

On December 2nd, 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik went into the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 and leaving 21 people injured. Not only was this another mass shooting, but it was also a terrorist attack. Before that, on November 27th, 2015, there was a shooting in Colorado Springs where Robert Lewis Dear Jr. shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three and leaving nine people injured.

“[…] We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world,” said President Barack Obama during a CBS Interview.

Mass shootings are frequent in America, but in Australia the situation is different.

According to Business Insider, Australia had the worst mass shooting in history, known as the Port Arthur Massacre, where Martin Bryant killed 35 and left 23 people injured. The Australian government took immediate action and enacted the National Firearms Programme Implementation Act of 1996. The act restricts the private ownership of semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic/pump-action shotguns, and introduced firearms licensing.

It’s not easy passing gun control laws in America because the 2nd Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms. The conservative government, gun advocates, lobbyists, interest groups and other organizations lobby to make sure the 2nd Amendment isn’t being restricted any further.

“I’m in favor of the 2nd Amendment. I believe it is the most crucial liberty we as Americans hold,” said senior Bailey Martin, “There seems to be a misconception about what the 2nd Amendment really protects from and why it’s there. It isn’t so that hunters can keep a rifle for sport or for food, but it’s to protect from a tyrannical government.”

Gun advocates, such as Martin, believe that there could be a possibility that the government could take guns away from people who own them. Some advocates of firearms believe that the government could carry out this master plan to send Americans to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Camps and enact martial law. Some people see this as following in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler where he made all German citizens give up their guns to seize power over them so they couldn’t retaliate his fascist government.

Gun supporters also fear that losing the rights to bear arms could lead to the corruption of the government, invasion from other countries, creation of terrorist groups such as ISIS, economic crisis’ and not being able to do the simple things they love such as hunting and gun sports.

“The standing belief that we’re America and our government would never try to expand its power is just naive,” said Martin.

People in favor of guns may have this idea of having to stand up against an evil government, but that’s not the case for gun opposers.

“I just definitely think there needs to be more gun control in the United States,” continued junior Sophia DeRango. “Other countries have more gun control than us and have less shootings and gun violence.”

On January 5th, 2016, President Obama laid out executive action that would influence gun control policies in America. Proposals Obama stated in his speech were that gun shows and businesses would be required to do background checks, notify law enforcement if guns get lost or stolen, stop illegal gun trafficking and expand research of gun safety technology. Included in this action, the Social Security Administration (SSA) would have to notify the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) of people who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm due to mental health issues. Obama also wishes to improve background check systems and invest $500 million into mental healthcare.

This executive action is seen as crucial to people in favor of gun control because it’s a step forward to keep guns away from people who want to use them for the wrong reasons.

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