Since the deadly shootings in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012, more than 500 deaths by means of gun violence have occurred in the United States, according to Slate.com.
Action toward fixing the gun issue must be taken if we want to protect our citizens. Conservatives and liberals agree: the fundamental goal of government above all else is to protect the lives of its citizens and their property. Though we cannot prevent all rampage shootings, it is within our capacity to limit the frequency and scale of horror.
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora and Newtown. These are the most infamous examples in recent memory, but they are not isolated incidents. Every day Americans are killed because politicians have wilted their political courage to an organization, the National Rifle Association. An average of 18 people are killed per day as a result of guns, according to the reporting from Slate.com
To be effective, legislators need to go after gun violence in general, not the massacres.
A good first step would be to prohibit those on the terrorist watch list from possessing firearms. People who are being monitored for potential terrorism or are associated with a terrorist group should not have access to firearms.
Next, we should close the gun-show loophole and require that all secondhand locations for gun purchases perform mandatory background checks.
Then, we should reintroduce the assault weapons ban. It is a piece of legislation that should not have expired. Additionally, large magazine clips must be banned. Magazines like these allowed the Tucson, Ariz. shooter to fire 31 bullets in 15 seconds and the Aurora, Colo. shooter to stack his assault weapon with a 100 round drum.
Moreover, we should create a strategy for a federal gun buyback program. Local gun buyback programs have been highly successful.
After the horror in Connecticut and the continuing incidents of gun violence, the country has shifted its views. Fifty-eight percent now say they support stricter gun control, up from 43 percent last October, according to a USA Today Gallup poll. Historically, mass shootings have not had a significant effect on the public’s attitude. But now Americans are fed up and ready for this type of action.
The beloved first amendment has its limits, and the second amendment should, too.
Everyone realizes that except the NRA. The NRA CEO, Wayne LaPierre, argued before the press that the solution for the nation was to put armed guards in every school. This laughable solution would require hiring at least 133,000 police officers according to NBC News. Ignoring additional benefits and only factoring the average salary of a police officer would total nearly $7 billion. Additionally, Columbine High School had a guard on duty the day of the shooting but he was unable to stop the carnage.
The NRA’s proposal may indicate the wish to protect children from school violence, but in any other place a 7-year-old may go, they’re on their own against gun violence. They’re on their own against the best equipped murderers in the world, primarily thanks to lobbying done by LaPierre and the NRA.
As we continue into the new year, we must use it to take meaningful action. Rampage shootings cannot immediately go away with any legislative action, but it is our responsibility to lower fatalities in gun violence.
Politicians and organizations must organize and fight for the children and teachers in Newtown, the over 11,000 other victims of gun violence in 2012 and for those 500 who have already died in shootings who can’t live to see the end of 2013.
Saving just one life is worth pissing off NRA members.