The great debate on gun control continues. Gun control has been a topic of conversation in politics for a long time now, but what is being done to control who can purchase them legally? What measures are being taken to ensure that the people who buy these weapons are responsible, sane adults?
When it comes to gun violence, no one is safe. Random acts of mass murder occur at any time or any place. The perpetrators wreak havoc on society because they have mastered how to collect weapons and plan attacks undetected. What makes it more difficult is the inability to stereotype the offenders. Your neighbor, coworker, or family member could be waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. The offenders also may be young or old, black or white, or rich or poor. Therefore, everyone must be aware of this fight.
On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold took the lives of 13 innocent people and injured another 24 in the Columbine High School shootings. This shooting shook the nation because children are supposed to be safe at school. The unthinkable happened in this case. An investigation revealed that the guns used in the shooting were purchased by an acquaintance, Robyn Anderson, who was at the legal age of 18 to buy a firearm. Both of the perpetrators were under 18 at the time of the shooting.
In contrast to the young people in the Columbine massacre, older age groups also commit irrational gun violence against innocent, defenseless people. Sixty-four-year-old Stephen Paddock committed the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. History on October 1, 2017, when he opened fire on concertgoers from his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. He killed 57 people before committing suicide. The police found 24 guns in his room.
Implementing tighter gun control laws does not erase the fact that many unstable people already possess guns. Many people still fight for their right to bear arms covered by the 2nd amendment. They argue that guns do not kill people, but instead, guns in the hands of the wrong people result in these violent acts.
Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO took a strong stance on gun control and gun violence by destroying over $5M dollar’s worth of assault rifles and refusing to sell firearms to anyone under 21. This decision received mixed reviews from the public. Retired Army SFC, Demetrious Jordan, applauds this decision stating, “These weapons have no place on the streets.” Many people believe that if you cannot purchase guns legally, individuals will buy them off the street illegally. This statement is accurate; however, most weapons used in mass shootings in the U.S. were purchased legally.
Twenty-two years after Columbine, the legal age to buy guns remains at 18, and the number of senseless murders is on the rise. Although there is nothing that we can do to curtail all gun violence, we can do something to limit it. Our government has failed thus far. You have to be 21 years of age to purchase alcohol in the United States, but in most states, you can buy something as lethal as a gun at the age of 18. Legislators talk tough on gun control, but there is minimal action in reference to this serious matter.
The minimum age needs to be raised to purchase any weapon. In addition, new laws need to be put in place that will prosecute equally, anyone who purchases a gun for someone else, and that weapon is used to commit murder. That will make someone think twice before getting a firearm for someone else.
There is no rhyme or reason as to why these people do what they do. However, the belief is that psychological problems are the reasons for their actions. Perhaps a national database, which requires gun sellers to input a buyer’s information using a government-issued ID, could limit one gun purchase per citizen. This type of law would have disallowed Stephen Paddock to accumulate 24 firearms. Also, requiring a 90-day waiting period could allow a person to cool down in the event they are looking to purchase a weapon to kill by impulse, whether it be suicide or murder.
Nothing will ever be 100% effective, but with stricter gun control laws, we can limit the amount of violence and tragedy. We need to take action now.