It seems we are stuck in a dark cycle. Tragedy strikes, we grieve, we point fingers and then we forget. Once everything seems back in order, tragedy strikes again.
Last Thursday, Oct. 1, in Oregon the cycle started once again. Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, entered a classroom at Umqua Community College and opened fire on his classmates. Nine victims lost their lives before the horror ended. This is the most recent case in an endless string of mass shootings in the United States.
With each mass shooting comes a call to action. The first argument that arises from these situations is the necessity of gun control. Nearly 77 percent of all mass killings involve a firearm, according to USA Today. Extremists lie on both sides of the argument.
For some, the only solution to this issue is strict control over all firearms. On the other end, people argue that this is a clear infringement of the 2nd amendment right we have all been guaranteed.
There is no need for anyone to own a fully automatic assault rifle. Claims have been made that an assault weapons ban could greatly impact the frequency and severity of mass shootings. This point has been made time and time again. However, it has been found that assault weapons were used in only 27.1 percent of mass shootings. Handguns were used in 72 percent, according to USA Today.
As soon as a mass shooting hits the news, we all begin to point fingers. We find something or someone to blame and then we move on. It is clear that as a nation, we are not doing enough to combat this senseless violence.
The solution is clear, but it is not very clean. The claim is often made that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” This is true, people do kill people. However, someone with a gun is immensely more capable of killing a large group of people than someone without a gun.
There is no way for us to determine someone’s mental stability before allowing them to purchase a gun. There is no way for us to predict which gun owners will use their firearms in a responsible manner.
There are countless examples of countries with strict gun laws that have greatly minimized gun violence. After the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Australia, in which 35 individuals were killed, the government took action.
According to CNN, an array of new gun laws were implemented, including a ban on a wide assortment of firearms. Since the year 1996 and the introduction of strict regulations, Australia has seen astounding results. In the years following the Port Arthur massacre, the risk of dying by gunshot decreased more than 50 percent. Not only did this action nearly eliminate mass shootings in Australia, it also lowered the firearm suicide rate by nearly 80 percent.
It has been made clear that this is not a short term problem. We will not see the solution in the near future, but it is important that we start toward a more positive direction. Gun control alone will not put an end to the violence we see, but it is a great place to start.