Last year, America experienced its largest mass shooting in recent history. We did nothing and things got worse. This was evident earlier this month in the violent attack in Las Vegas.
In case anyone has forgotten, on June 12, 2016, a gunman opened fire inside of Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and wounding 58 others. At the time, this was the deadliest domestic act of violence in the U.S. since 9/11.
Stephen Paddock came to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas armed with 23 separate guns. He opened fire on concertgoers from the window of his hotel room on the 32nd floor, killed 59 people and left 527 injured.
Without prior knowledge that Paddock would be shooting from the 32nd floor, no amount of concealed carry permits or good guys with guns could have stopped the shooting. To play devil’s advocate, maybe those good guys with guns could have taken down the shooter at Pulse nightclub—but they didn’t.
Some states have worked towards gun control, like California for example. It passed six gun laws after the San Bernardino shooting that killed 14 people in 2015. All we have gotten from Congress and now our president, is thoughts and prayers. While their kind sentiments are nice, their inaction toward solving the problems of gun violence and mass murder is inexcusable.
Since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, the only gun legislation I could find for Congress was a vote to renew a ban on plastic weapons. During that same timespan, over 100 gun control bills have been voted down. So while our politicians keep telling us that this isn’t the time to talk about gun control, American citizens keep getting mowed down in the streets.
Thoughts and prayers have never stopped gun violence. They don’t bring back those who are murdered or deter a shooter’s plan. What they do is allow politicians and citizens to act like they care without actually having to take steps towards a solution.
As an American, gun violence doesn’t shock me anymore. Desensitization to murder and terrorism is a regular part of living in a country that values unrestricted gun ownership over human lives.
I don’t know exactly how to solve America’s gun problem but I do know that doing nothing has only allowed the problem to grow. Right now is the time to talk about gun control. Right now is the time to pass gun legislation, no matter how small and right now is when we can start making a positive difference in gun violence. Or we can wait until the next tragedy to have this conversation again.