In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, gun laws are again at the forefront of conversation. The U.S. suffers more mass shooting incidents then there are days in the year. The U.S. sees about 12,000 people die each year due to gun violence, which is about 25 times higher than other developed nations. Yet every time this happens, very little is done by politicians to stem the tide of this constant loss of life. So what’s different about this mass shooting? What will change in our approach to gun control?
No one is going to take your guns away
The NRA tends to get into an ad campaign right after these mass shootings to promote the idea that the left is coming to take your guns. You may remember when NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre said: “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The simple fact is that no politician is ever going to pass a law that would ban all weapons forever. Even the most liberal politicians, like Bernie Sanders, are a little skittish when it comes to the idea of complete abolition.
Next: What will be done about guns?
What will be passed in Congress?
The only thing that has a chance to get passed would be a bill that expands background checks on people buying guns. Such legislation is aimed at curbing the amount of gun violence in general. In Senator Chris Murphy’s home state of Connecticut, they saw a 40% decrease in gun violence overall after expanding background checks.
It is important to note that this would not have prevented Stephen Paddock from purchasing a weapon because he didn’t have so much as a speeding ticket on his record. If this shooting is going to do anything, it’s going to delay loosening of restrictions that are already in play.
Next: What bills will be delayed in Congress?
Silencers and trafficking are stopped
The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act is a bill that was put on hold by the GOP in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. The bill would have loosened the restrictions on silencers, currently held in the same regard as explosives by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The legislation would remove restrictions on the purchase and use of silencers.
It also would allow guns to be trafficked over state lines, and loosen restrictions on armor-piercing bullets (you know, for all those deer with armor on). This bill was delayed once before, when the mass shooting at the Congressional baseball game occurred earlier this year.
Next: People’s minds have changed on gun violence.
Some people’s views on gun control are changed
It’s hard to believe that almost no one changed their mind after 20 children were gunned down at Sandy Hook, but some people seem to be changing their mind now. The lead guitarist for the Josh Abbot Band, Caleb Keeter, who has been a staunch advocate for 2nd amendment rights, did a 180 on his support.
He was at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas the weekend of the shooting, and wrote about his experience afterward: “I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my whole life, until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was … We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.” Keeter goes on to say how much he regrets not realizing it until “my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.” Keeter is a country music artist and has no official role in politics, but if he can change his mind, other opponents may be able to as well.
Next: Will Americans actually support gun control regulations?
Do Americans actually want gun control?
This is a very nuanced subject. For example, according to a poll from Quinnipiac University, 98% of Americans support laws pertaining to background checks. This may sound like Americans are over the hill in support of gun control, but you can look at the same poll from Quinnipiac University, that says only 47% of Americans feel like a ban on assault rifles will be effective at preventing gun violence. So the range of beliefs is varied and confusing, since the gun control debate covers so many different areas of a very large industry. There isn’t a cut and dry answer to this question.
Next: Does any regulation actually work?
The numbers speak for themselves
The most effective middle ground on gun control is the criminal background check. You still get to keep your guns, but only if you’re not a threat to the rest of society on paper. For example, Connecticut saw a 40% decrease in gun violence passing a similar regulation. Conversely, Missouri rolled back criminal background checks in 2007 and saw a 25% increase in gun deaths and a 98% increase in trafficking of firearms.
Next: How can we help?
How can common sense gun reform get passed?
Short of dismantling the NRA, and voting the majority of Republicans out of the House, Senate, and White House, there is a snowball’s chance in hell of getting any gun legislation passed in the United States. We are going to have to wait another few years to see that happen. So if you think there should be gun control, elect representatives on local, state, and federal levels that reflect those views. In an effort to save lives, isn’t that the best thing you can do?
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