By Eunice Kim
When I first heard about the Paris mass shooting, my dad, brother and I were crowded around the television, finding it difficult to register our shock at the atrocious crimes that had just taken place. In the days after a mass shooting, like the recent Las Vegas shooting, Americans experience a similar feeling of shock. People clad themselves under the blanket of solidarity and the warmth of sympathy from loved ones. The event triggers time in which people feel, viscerally through the sorrow of others, the pain of loss.
However, such situations also become a pedestal for an increasingly pressing thought: Could this tragedy have been prevented with more stringent gun policies? Today, the Las Vegas shooting is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, accounting for the deaths of 59 people and more than 500 injuries.
Although mass shootings represent a small percentage of firearm homicides, these incidents should be addressed, not just set aside as another tragedy. President Trump did not shy away from denouncing the Las Vegas shooting as an “act of great evil” during his October speech; however, he remains unwilling to discuss his stance on gun control policies.
The National Rifle Association maintains a huge role in Republican affairs by supporting and endorsing Republican candidates.
“I thought Sandy Hook would [mean gun policy changes]. I thought Columbine would. I thought 101 Californians would. None of that did,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, an outspoken critic of “bump stocks” told reporters, according to CNN.
The split between Democratic and Republican ideals is partly the result of different views on gun control. These contrasting ideals showcase the obstacles to crafting policies that appeal to both ends of the political spectrum.
According to Pew Social Trends, more than 40% of Republicans are gun owners compared to 20% of Democrats; in addition, the latter group is more adamant in its desire to ban assault type weapons.
When the Las Vegas shooting occurred, many Republicans criticized the Democratic party for politicizing the tragedy after it called for gun policy reforms, instead of
reserving time to grieve.
However, it is absurd to solely mourn over a tragedy instead of attempting to address the roots of the issue. Grieving cannot come at the expense of a desperate need for gun policy reforms.
Statistically speaking, interest in gun regulation typically increases after mass shootings. But it is a transient and risky phase during which the bubbles of potential
change eventually fade out to tiny fizzles. That is, until the next big shooting. This is why immediate response for action is crucial.
Mass shootings cannot be dismissed just because of their sporadic nature. To pinpoint the shooting as an act of one crazed person and go forth is too dismissive. After all, these shootings hint at the damaging capacity guns have.
There is a difference between exercising the right to bear arms and potentially exploiting it for something else. These are the kinds of problems we need to address.
In a time of crisis, why is the Congress pondering over whether silencers should be allowed for guns?
In Washington, D.C., a bill was introduced to limit civilian access to equipment used by a shooter to accelerate their ability to shoot. I can only hope it yields some results.