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Ourview: Action must be taken to prevent another mass shooting


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Each week, the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not necessarily reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week’s editorial board is composed of Viewpoints Editors Lauren Sanchez and Kenny Phipps.

Fifty eight Americans lost their lives on Oct. 1 in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. In what has become a dreadfully predictable routine, the nation has begun mourning the victims, sending ‘thoughts and prayers’ towards those affected and reignited the debate on how to best prevent these tragedies from happening again. While many would argue that it’s just not the right time to talk about gun control, they’re wrong: there is no better time than now.

How can we take proper action against gun violence when people are so willing to sweep the real issue behind this tragedy under the rug?

The real issue at hand is not hotel security or shooter Stephen Paddock being a “mentally ill lone wolf,” it’s the fact that these weapons are easily accessible in the first place.

The simple fact of the matter is that most of the guns used in recent mass shootings were both legally acquired and sold after a federal background check was conducted. The common denominator in these events isn’t mental illness, ties to foreign extremists or even the type ammunition used. It is the gun.

When people use the term “gun control,” it is often mistranslated into “take away all the guns.” The Supreme Court has ruled that, under the second amendment, you have the right as a citizen to own a gun. Our nation cannot let misconceptions like this derail our efforts to end the gun violence that kills Americans every single day.

There’s no reason to believe that guns must be completely prohibited in order to reduce the number of gun-related deaths. There are steps that can and must be taken to begin preventing these tragedies from occurring.

Military-grade automatic weapons shouldn’t be in the hands of everyday citizens. They shouldn’t even be in the hands of local law enforcement, neither should devices like bump stocks, which essentially transform semiautomatic weapons into automatic ones, and which the Las Vegas gunman utilized to indiscriminately murder 58 people.

Luckily, even the NRA seems to be on the side of prohibiting these devices, which may mean that Congress can get its act together and start protecting American citizens from massacres.

However, the action taken cannot end when we agree automatic weapons are dangerous. Semi-automatic weapons, armor-piercing ammunition and similar weapons and accessories, which have no other purpose than to harm other human beings should also be outlawed. No one hunts with a 50-caliber rifle; having weapons like that in the hands of the public only increases the likelihood of a tragedy. They shouldn’t be in average gun shops that you see on street corners or in strip malls.

The government should also impose a limit on the amount of weapons and ammunition a person can own. While he is an outlier, the Vegas shooter was believed to have over 20 firearms in his possession, a gratuitous amount that almost certainly would have drawn the attention of the FBI had he looked like a terrorist.

These regulations would, unfortunately, do nothing to suppress the rampant gun violence that happens on the streets every day, which is mostly committed with handguns and on a small scale. But it would be a start.

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Ourview: Action must be taken to prevent another mass shooting