Why can we not talk about gun control?

Graph depicting the views of gun owners and non-gun owners in regards to key aspects of freedom.

Pew Research Center

Graph depicting the views of gun owners and non-gun owners in regards to key aspects of freedom.

Kristen Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: Kristen Rodriguez is a freshman at UNCW majoring in Political Science with a minor in International Relations. Kristen is a staff writer for The Seahawk and writes many of the pieces featured in Political Perspectives. All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Kristen may be found on Twitter @kristen_rodd. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to [email protected]

After every mass shooting in the United States comes a spike of outrage and a call for gun control. Yet every time, it seems no real change comes out of it. The question most people ask here is why? Why does our government, one who claims to do all they can to protect us, allow us to go through these horrible events and do hardly anything about it?  

A simple answer to point to is gun lobbying. In the 2016 election cycle alone, a total of $6,006,000 was given to members of congress by the gun lobby, $5.9 million going to Republican candidates, and $106,000 going to a Democratic candidate, according to Politico. Due to this, members of Congress are not particularly inclined to pass gun control bills. 

The debate on gun control has become a highly ideological one. Conservative Republicans say gun control would be a violation of their Second Amendment rights, liberal Democrats say that human lives are more important than gun ownership. The notion that gun control activists are trying to take away guns from law-abiding citizens is simply not true.  

The point of gun control is not to completely eradicate guns from the market or take them away from anyone who owns one; the majority of what gun control is supposed to be is to make it more difficult to own one. This includes having a strict age limit on when you can buy guns, mental health evaluations, and extensive background checks. However so far, any attempt to start this conversation has been met with fire and fury about how this is the first step in restricting the rights of our citizens. So naturally, if you are a good, law-abiding citizen, you should have no issue passing these evaluations and therefore are not having your rights infringed upon. 

This makes people angry, rightfully so. When people all over the country are dying, it is not something you can look over and certainly not something you can brush under the rug. In 2017 alone, the Gun Violence Archive reported 346 mass shootings occurred, one being the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Up until a certain age we are required to go to school and get an education, and while we have the right to gun ownership, it should not be too much to expect that we also have the right to live our lives without having to be constantly on the watch for potential danger or worrying for our safety.  

In other parts of the world, such as Australia stricter gun laws are not an anomaly. In 1996 Australia passed stricter gun laws following mass shootings that sparked up around the world, and they have not had a mass shooting since reported NBC News. While there is no real way to prove that mass shootings stopped because of those laws, it is worth noting.  

In the 1960s, the United States saw that more and more people were dying as a result of car accidents. Therefore, they passed mandatory seat belt laws and redesigned roads to make them safer, according to the CDC. Due to that, deaths related to car accidents have declined. Should the same concept not apply to gun control as well? 

Now we are faced with a situation wherein the last ten years, six of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have happened and we cannot begin to sit down and have real conversations about how to handle it. It seems everyone gets riled up and begin making accusations that are not true.

This cycle will continue until someone decides they have had enough and right now seems as good as any for that to be true. Especially when we live in a country where high schoolers all over the country are walking out of school to protest a government that has done nothing to protect them from the violence they have been subjected to.