After the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, it is finally time for the United States to start banning firearms.
By: Gabriel Arizon, Special to The Star
The recent shooting at a Las Vegas concert that resulted in 58 deaths and almost 500 injuries has earned the undesirable title of ‘deadliest mass shooting in United States history’; this comes only 16 months after the previous mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando earned that title.
How many more times must this continue before it’s decided that enough is enough? How many more times must we see these tragedies play out over the news before we get rid of these weapons? The time for debate has passed at this point. It’s finally time for the United States to man up and ban firearms to civilians.
Ever since the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, there have been over 1,500 mass shootings in the United States. One would think that after a shooting in an elementary school that change to current gun laws would happen to prevent such horror from happening again. However, hardly any change came. Organizations like the National Rifle Association have done an effective job of barring most gun legislation from passing.
Every time it is proposed that there be stricter gun laws, those against it are quick to change the conversation, such as blaming the mental health of shooters. While mental health is an issue, that doesn’t mean the guns aren’t a problem.
The United States is far and away the leader in gun homicides. Forty-two percent of all civilian who own guns in the world are in the United States, even though our population is only 4.4 percent of the world’s population. As a result, U.S. Homicides are almost six times higher than Canada, and nearly four times higher than Switzerland, another country that loves its guns. In 2015, there was an average of at least one mass shooting every day in America. There is an average of 12,000 gun homicides every year, and 62 percent of gun-related deaths are suicide.
Even with these numbers, pro-gun organizations zealously push against any sort of reform that could limit gun sales. Despite the fact that mass shootings are becoming more frequent in daily news, the likes of the NRA waste no time in pointing the finger in a different direction. Any time a discussion tries to happen on how to limit guns, it ends up in a dead end, and we are left with little to no improvement.
It is time for Congress to step up and take hard action. With the exception of law enforcement, and the military, we need to start banning the possession of firearms. From assault rifles to semi-automatics to handguns, we need to stop them from causing more tragedies. While it won’t stop gun violence entirely, it would be a big leap in decreasing the number of deaths by firearm.
Japan has a very low number of gun owners due to a 1958 law prohibiting the possession of firearms. Due in part to that law, there were only six reported gun deaths in 2014. That is an absurdly low number, and it is one that we should strive towards.
We have tried to talk, but time for talking is over, and the time banning firearms is now, before Las Vegas happen again.