By Campaign Agent Johnny Wordsworth
Since the October 1st shooting in Nevada where 59 people were killed and 441 were injured, there has been 44 mass shootings across America, with the largest two being the Texas church shooting on November the 5th and the California elementary school shooting on November the 14th.
The frequency of these kind of mass events poses a major risk in anaesthetising us to the number of people who die from shootings in one of the world’s most developed nations each year. It seems there is no place in the USA that is immune to these types of horrific event, whether the culprit is either religiously motivated or simply rampant on killing family, friends or locals.
From a European perspective, we see American gun legislation as an incredibly nightmarish reality, and we can not even start to understand how legislation, laws and policing have not been dramatically increased to a substantial level that matches that of the crimes being taken place. It appears current efforts to reduce gun related crime and mass shootings occur to no avail, with political leaders leaving false promises; often to the disgrace of those whose families have been affected the most.
Trump, in his latest acknowledgement of the November 14th shooting, failed to even refer to the correct event; instead, referencing the Texas shooting that took place a week beforehand. The European media director of Human Rights Watch stated “Even for Trump, this is astounding: he’s confused last week’s mass shooting with yesterday’s. Terrible insult to the victims of both,”.
This poses a question to the general public; is the government and political elite even hindered by such events and do such events really incite an increase in political awareness of gun related mass shootings in America?
Currently, the impulse for any new gun control measures — even ones limiting access to firearms for known terror suspects, domestic abusers and the mentally ill — has repeatedly been stymied by a Republican-controlled Congress and the handful of independents and Democrats who are against any changes to the status quo. It seems, despite wide public awareness regarding the fact that current gun crime legislation does not seem to work in the US, there will be no marked and substantial increase in preventative laws. So far, studies show there are a wide range of possible solutions that could be incurred in the future:
– Increased smart gun technology
– Increased mental health checks
– Increased background checks for assault weapons
– 10 Round maximum magazines
– A total ban of automatic, semi-automatic and pump-action weapons (Which worked in Australia)
– Destruction of gun stockpiles
Despite these possible answers, a recent study by the FBI, gave shocking light to the fact that the purchase of guns rises after mass shootings. With 270 million firearms background checks since November 1998, the study shows that after each shooting, there is a positive correlation that purchases of handheld guns actually increases not decreases. A question that I find acute in the matter is, do people feel the need to increase the purchase of guns to protect themselves, or is it simply a frivolous expansion of the second amendment, and in this case would the above solutions work?
Ultimately, public opinion and political action do not line up in the United States when it comes to gun control. There is a dire need to attempt to address such mass gun crime in America, however the issue persists regarding conflicting political motives as well as the issue of voters, who may vote elsewhere once legislation may be enforced by a certain party.
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Image: Mike Mozart @Flickr