Prevent Another Massacre: Enforce Gun Control


Anna Orlandi, Feature Editor

On an average day, 93 Americans, 7 of them children and teens, are killed with guns, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 30,000 gun homicides occur in the US each year. The American Medical Association declares gun violence a public health crisis, but what is actually being done to reduce these tragedies?

On the night of October 1, 2017, a 64-year-old retired accountant perched on a hotel balcony in Las Vegas and rained down bullets from an AK-47. An unsuspecting crowd of 22,000 were enjoying a country music concert when the shots started hitting them. This one man killed 59 and injured 546 people. In only 10 minutes, Stephen Paddock caused the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

In a crowded Orlando nightclub, a gunman killed 49 people in June, 2016.  In 2012, Newton, CT lamented the 28 lives taken at an elementary school. A massacre on the campus of Virginia Tech left 32 dead in 2007. Advocates call for action to stop these shootings, yet some question what can actually prevent a deranged shooter.

Gun control skeptics argue that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Although this may have some validity, guns allow for a quick and efficient method of murder. A person ultimately uses the weapon, but the difference lies in the destruction. If Stephen Paddock had access to a nuclear missile or a only knife, the aftermath would have varied drastically.

After suffering their own mass shooting in 1996, many Australians rallied behind one goal: prevent additional carnage through stricter firearm laws. According to The Journal of Public Health Policy, the gun homicide rate and gun suicide rate halved after this mission.

The Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms and this freedom should be upheld. However, the deaths of millions Americans highlight a need for reform.

A few rational gun control laws should be enforced: a universal background check, an age limit of 21 for purchase, and a ban on high capacity clips and semi-automatics. Additionally, a mandate for safe storage to prevent theft or a mishap by a child, and further research into the efficacy of different firearm legislation should be imposed.

Public uproar and a Twitter hashtag pledging for change usually arise after each shooting. Yet no change is actually enacted and it returns to silence — until the next tragedy occurs.

As Americans, we must not only mourn these losses, but fight to prevent another massacre. If a gun control law foils at least one shooting, it will be worth it.