Gun Control Policy

Austin Swan, Reporter

On Oct. 1 2017, Stephen Paddock fired on hundreds at a country music festival on the Las Vegas strip killing 59 people and injuring hundreds more. This incident was the worst mass shooting in United States history.

On Sunday, Nov. 5 2017, there was another mass shooting in Texas where Devin Patrick Kelley shot and killed 26 people at a church, then himself.

Gun control policy is something that is almost always brought up after after a mass shooting, even though it shouldn’t be. The time immediately following a mass shooting should be spent grieving, or on finding ways to help the survivors.

Gun control policy should be talked about at times where there has not been a recent mass shooting. Talking about policy right after a large emotional event occurs isn’t smart and can lead to the creation of negative legislation.

An example of a hasty, ineffective policy implementation made because of emotions is the creation of the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11. The main results of the creation of the department were the erosion of American’s civil liberties, and mass surveillance of citizens by the government.

Many of the policy changes that have been brought up by politicians in the US have been about background checks, psychological checks, the banning of silencers, or rifles.

While more extensive background checks seems smart and logical for soon-to-be gun owners, it does not make sense to propose this change while using this shooting as evidence. This shooter specifically is not good evidence for why we should implement legislation calling for more extensive background checks because Paddock underwent federal background checks and passed. According to NBC News, a database compiled by Mother Jones states that more than 80% of mass shootings are performed with guns obtained legally.

Using the recent Texas shooting as reasoning to implement more legislation is also not a good argument because it was a government error that allowed the shooter to obtain his weapons. Devin Patrick Kelley passed the background checks when he went to purchase a gun because the government failed to enter his convictions into the database. If the government had entered his convictions he would not have passed his background check and would not have been able to purchase a firearm.

Hillary Clinton expressed that she believes gun suppressors should be banned. ”Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get”, Clinton tweeted just one day after the Vegas shooting. This tweet shows that Mrs. Clinton doesn’t understand suppressors or what they do. Putting a suppressor on a gun does not make the gun silent, as guns with suppressors are still very loud. By saying this Hillary Clinton is attempting to take advantage of a tragedy in order to push her own political agenda.

Stephen Paddock did not use a suppressor, so using this shooting as grounds for a policy change on suppressors doesn’t make much sense.

Another change that has been brought up is that rifles should be banned in the United States. This is the most illogical argument made by people attempting to force gun control. Rifle bans are always brought up after mass shootings because most mass shootings are performed with rifles.

According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, most of the gun deaths in the country are caused by handguns, not rifles. If the argument is that rifles should be banned because they can kill too many people, then the argument should be against handguns more so than rifles. Anyone who believes in the Second Amendment believes that a ban on handguns would be insane and unconstitutional.

The founding fathers understood the importance of a citizen’s right to own a firearm. In some of the early colonies, it was mandatory for all citizens to possess a gun.

Good gun policy should be debated during a time where there has not been a recent mass shooting because it takes a lot of the emotions out of the discussion. Effective gun policy changes would be things such as the banning of bump stocks and other legal modifications that you can buy to effectively make a semi-automatic weapon an automatic weapon.

Mass shootings are statistically rare and make up such a small portion of the total gun deaths each year that creating policy based off of mass shootings is illogical. When talking about gun policy, it is also important to remember that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. To suggest that guns kill people is the rough equivalent to suggest that spoons make people overweight.