Consensus on gun violence must be reached to prevent further violence


Artwork by Hayley Beluch '18

Maanasi Natarajan, Opinion Editor

Brian Murtagh, a 52-year old Navy veteran, gave a famous analogy in 2015 about any young man who wished to buy a gun should go through the same process as a young woman seeking an abortion.

“Think about it,” he wrote. “A mandatory 48-hours waiting period, written permission from a parent or judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protesters holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protesters who call him a murderer.”

He considered this analogy a “clever way to show hypocrisy between the different positions.”

Although many Second Amendment proponents may disagree with this analogy, they may be done fighting against gun control once and for all.

The United States makes up less than 5% of the world’s population, but holds 31% of global mass shooters. This is no coincidence considering Americans own more guns per capita than residents of any other country.

These startling statistics are barely surprising in a country where 45 out of the 50 states allow open carrying of handguns. Despite the United States’s 10-year history of violent mass shootings, which dates back to April 2007 on the Virginia Tech campus and includes the devastating Sandy Hook shooting, lawmakers have made seemingly no progress on the enforcement of stricter gun laws, ultimately resulting in the highest ever death toll of a mass shooting in the US, with 59 dead.

The Las Vegas massacre serves as just one more example of the domestic terrorism by way of gun violence that will continue to happen if lawmakers do not start taking action for gun control.

“Thoughts and prayers going out to those suffering” can only do so much. The plan for real prevention must begin with the realization that no change will occur without cracking down on gun laws, and that realization essentially begins with people thinking past themselves and their own lives.

We must realize that there is a right and wrong way to analyze mass shootings. The wrong way is to immediately contemplate the shooter’s mindset and whether he or she is connected with ISIS or if he or she is mentally ill: to, essentially, deliberate the loss of life as an afterthought.

We should instead be focusing on how to prevent future shootings and consider the idea that more guns are equivalent to more gun deaths. The gun control debate seems to be the only one in which the default response is indifference and to argue that no law can prevent bad people from doing bad things – which is true, to a certain extent – but an equally valid counterargument holds that the government could be doing a lot more to stop weapons of mass murder from getting into the wrong hands.

The question undoubtedly boils down to whether we will ever be able to settle on sensible gun regulations in wake of mass shootings like Las Vegas or San Bernardino or Orlando or Columbine.

And if we can’t now, after the largest mass shooting in US history, when will we? For the country’s sake, the hope is that the answer will emerge before the critical state of gun violence reaches its tipping point.