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Reflection: Lack of gun control takes yet another toll

On the weekend of Oct. 1, over 22,000 concert goers from across the nation shared their love of music at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas. Among the attendees was 32-year-old Michelle Vo. An agent for the New York Life Insurance Company located in Glendale, as well as a new fan of country music; Vo was absolutely exhilarated for her weekend getaway.

What initially began as a relaxing Sunday evening for Vo and thousands of others eventually turned to chaos. At approximately 10:05 p.m., 64-year-old Stephen Paddock began firing at the crowd from his 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

Her phone was shortly flooded with missed calls from worried friends and family. On her most recent Instagram post, comments came one after the other, all expressing the same concern.

“Michelle, please let us know you are okay,” said one commenter. “Quick update… we checked 2 hospitals and her hotel…no sign of her,” said another.

It wasn’t until hours later that Kody Robertson, a stranger Vo had met just hours earlier, got in touch with her family. The news came through a simple phone call.

In the midst of the horror, Vo had been instantly struck in the chest. A semi-automatic rifle, capable of firing hundreds of rounds per minute, ended her life, the lives of 57 others, and left over 500 wounded.

In a matter of minutes, the United States had witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in modern history.

Michelle — a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a neighbor –– had her life senselessly taken at an occasion meant to rejoice it.

Yet again, it has left the nation’s people to confront the harsh aftermath of a mass shooting –– just like the previous, it will most likely have no effect on our country’s lack of gun control.

The unfortunate reality is that victims, once memorialized, will not serve as incentive for stricter gun regulations.

According to an organization known as the Mass Shooting Tracker, 2,246 Americans and counting have either been killed or injured in a mass shooting this year.

Action by the U.S. government, on the other hand, has had little to no effect on keeping guns from the hands of mass murderers.

Following the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 schoolchildren and 6 faculty members were brutally murdered with a military-style assault rifle, proposals for stricter gun control surfaced immediately. However, the proposed ban on assault weapons and a requirement for universal background checks in all states ultimately failed.

Introduced by Nazi Germany during World War II, assault rifles were initially designed for use in combat. Their ability to produce rapid fire is no coincidence. Semi-automatic weapons were developed for the sole purpose of committing mass murder, and serve the same purpose today.

Gun collector or gun enthusiast, it cannot be denied that the sale of assault rifles permits the continued abuse of the system. As mass shootings continue to grow in frequency, it is crucial that we remove assault weapons from the gun market.

Mass murderer Stephen Paddock used an AR-15 with a “bump-fire stock” to carry out the horrendous violence at the music festival. Bump-stock devices enable a shooter to produce automatic fire, a major factor in Paddock’s ability to induce maximum damage within a six-minute time span.

Most alarming of all is Paddock’s seemingly unrestricted ownership of 47 guns and modification devices. Whether it is an absence of federal regulation or a lack of government interest in ensuring the safety of its people, something is not quite right with this image.

The first step to battling this issue is not only up to a country’s people, who must adopt a logical perspective on the ownership of assault weapons, but to its government, who must do more to enforce stricter gun control on a federal level.

Whether it be through universal background checks or a total ban on assault rifles and bump-stock devices, as a nation, we must work as one to develop stricter gun laws that go beyond individual states.

Though owning a gun may be protected by the Second Amendment, a line must be drawn if we truly want innocent lives to be saved.

It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

1 Comment

  • Reply Douglas Campbell November 8, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Would you say that same line ought to be drawn regarding the ownership of trucks? How about fertilizer? Airplanes?

    Out of trucks, fertilizer, airplanes, and guns, only one has its ownership protected by our Constitution. Why is a gun protected? The answer is bi-fold — first, personal defense, and, secondly, community defense. Were you to attempt to remove all guns from society, you would quickly discover that the law abiding citizen would give them up, but the citizen intent on breaking the law would not.

    What we saw in Las Vegas is what happens when we give to the Police the sole right to defend us. In the recent shooting in Texas, the criminal walked into a church and shot dozens in a matter of minutes. The only thing that saved others from a similar fate was the presence of a neighbor of the church — an armed NRA firearms instructor, who shot the criminal and prevented his escape. The police arrived long after the action had occurred.

    In the recent Walmart shooting, the shooter, a mentally unstable adult, walked into the store and began shooting unarmed people. When several others in the store drew their own firearms and began stalking the shooter, he exited the store and then was captured by the police. Those other gun owners undoubtedly saved others — as well as themselves — from mayham. None of them fired a shot, but their presence caused the gunman to retreat. The police, who did not arrive until after the gunman exited, blamed those other gun owners for complicating the analysis of the video to find the real gunman. If the police had been there within seconds of the man opening fire, perhaps they might be able to claim that other gun owners complicated the situation, but because it took them minutes to arrive.

    Note the maxim here: Whenever seconds matter, the police are only minutes away.

    And that’s a powerful reason why the Second Amendment will not be going away any time soon.


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