It’s been all over the news since it occurred on Saturday, the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh – which has now been classified as the largest anti-semitic hate crime in America.
The topic of gun control is on the top of most people’s brains all the time and this most recent shooting in Pittsburgh bring the US closer to 300 shootings just in 2018.
This is scary.
The fact that there have been almost as many mass shootings in this country as there are days in the year is staggering and needs to be addressed. Gun control is a conversation that gets brushed aside far too often, especially when these shootings are happening nearly every day.
To make things clearer, a mass shooting is described as “an incident where a gunman shoots or kills four or more people in the same general time and location.”
When the Bill of Rights was written this country was in a vastly different place than it is now. For one thing, the capabilities of guns were far less extreme, an assault rifle like an AR-15 is something most people of the 1790s could have never even dreamed of existing.
Assault rifles are the weapon of choice for most mass shooters for the specific reason of being able to kill the most people in a short amount of time – and while, according to the Pew Research center, 48 percent of gun owners support a ban on assault weapons and, as reported by the New York Times, when polled a team of Gun Violence experts gave their highest rating to the notion that the most effective policy change would be one banning assault weapons, for whatever reason, more of the American public is in favor of limiting the types of people who can access these weapons than restricting the sale of the types of weapons altogether.
As CNN explained, the ways in which a background check to purchase a firearm is conducted is as such: the potential buyer must present the seller with identification and fill out ATF Form 4473 with personal information like age, address, race and any criminal history.
But here’s the issue. Guns are being sold illegally and guns are being sold by sellers without the proper license. Which means that bad people, people with a criminal history, can gain access to these weapons and can do so without any regulation.
And while some may argue that gun regulation will not end gun violence, the fact of the matter is that the harder it is to gain access to assault rifles the better. Even if the level of difficulty is slight. If we want incidents like this most recent slaying at the synagogue or at Parkland or at Sandy Hook to stop happening something has got to change.
As Former President Obama once said, “We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence.”
Yes, banning assault rifles is a small stone being thrown into a very large pond – but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s proactive. It’s making an attempt and as these shootings continue to happen any attempt at trying to make our world safer is a positive thing.
We can’t fix everything, but we can at least try to fix the epidemic of gun violence if not for ourselves for future generations.