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America's Gun Issue and Why Nothing has Changed

By Kelson Howerton
On October 13, 2017

Following the tragic shooting in Las Vegas in which a shooter opened fire on the crowd of a country music festival, killing at least 58 people and wounding more than 480 others, the issue of gun control has once again entered the forefront of American political discourse. As the country mourns the tragic loss of the deadliest shooting in American history, pundits and policy-makers alike have begun discussing various plans for gun control and have continued to question why gun laws still have not changed, another mass shooting in the books.

    There is a reason why gun laws still have not dramatically changed despite the frequency of gun violence in America, as the issue of gun control and the second amendment is trickier than most realize.

    It is clear that America has a very unique problem with gun violence compared to countries with bans on firearms, so the logical step would be to simply ban guns. However, this argument is problematic for a number of reasons, namely it being completely improbable. The already incredibly difficult process of amending the Constitution is worsened by our increasingly divided politics, making the likelihood of changing or repealing the second amendment an impossibility.

    Even if issuing a gun ban was feasible, rounding up the millions of guns out in the wild, both legally and illegally owned, would cost the government an astronomical amount of funds and would no doubt lead to mass hysteria from gun owners who do not wish to give up their rights, likely resulting in more violence.

    Even further, the countless of proposed half-steps, while more likely to see the light of day, will not do much to fix America’s problem either. The process of legally purchasing a firearm is already a strict and thorough process, automatic weapons are already illegal, banning assault weapons has been proven to make very little difference, and reducing magazine sizes will do little to slow down an experienced shooter, just to name a few.

    These measures certainly would not have stopped the Las Vegas shooter as he purchased all of his weapons legally, and underwent all of the necessary background checks, according to two Nevada gun shops.

    Nothing will curb mass shootings short of a gun ban, and sadly, that just is not an option. Instead of placing all of our eggs in that basket, wasting everyone’s time and contributing to the lack of actual progress regarding gun control, American legislators should be working to curb the larger portion of unnecessary gun deaths in America.

    Since mental illness is a strong contributor to gun deaths, both homicide and suicide - suicide makes up the majority of gun deaths in America - the solution should be increasing access to the healthcare those suffering from mental illness need. Since a large portion of gun deaths and injuries are due to negligent gun owners, another solution should be to increase education on gun safety. Just three weeks ago, two toddlers in an in-home daycare were accidentally shot by another toddler who picked up handgun just lying around the house, and stories like this are not uncommon - someone gets shot by a toddler more than once a week, according to gun violence prevention group Everytown. While tragic, these gun deaths can be easily prevented, and should not be ignored among the bigger discussion of gun violence in America.

    In truth, the first step to repairing this tragic issue is for policy makers on both sides of the isle to have an honest conversation, not just the conversation that furthers their agenda, but an honest look at the facts of the issue. If so, maybe, just maybe, America can come to an agreement about what can be done.

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