Gun Control: It's Not Too Soon to Talk About It, It's Too Late

By Michael Glantz on December 19, 2012

What happened on December 14th in Newtown, Connecticut is the latest mass shooting to shock our nation. It, like every tragedy

Mourners visit a memorial for the victims of Friday’s tragedy in Newtown, Connecticuit.

of this nature, has levied unimaginable grief on the community, the families of the victims, and the survivors who had to endure that trauma. I always wonder, after events such as this, why it seems that we’re always learning of a new massacre and never learning of steps our leaders in Washington plan to take to avoid these situations in the future. The lack of political response to these tragedies comes from calls to avoid “politicizing the issue” after it happens. There are two problems with that request. First of all, calling to avoid politicizing a mass shooting is a form of politicizing that shooting, it just favors the lax status quo of gun control. And second, if politicians wait until people have forgotten about the most recent shooting to avoid politicizing it, introducing gun control legislation goes back to being too controversial to talk about and all too often falls by the wayside. I say enough is enough.

On Sunday evening, President Obama spoke at a vigil for the 26 victims. There, he said that “our first task” is caring for our children and that if we ask ourselves if we’re doing enough to protect all the children of America, the honest answer is no. He asked, ”Are we prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is the price of our freedom?”.

The politics around gun control are hard and incredibly divisive. Since the supreme court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller established the individual right to keep and bear arms, debate on the issue has changed. In discussions I’ve had about gun control, one of the most common arguments against stricter gun control is the notion that gun control would only keep guns out of lawful citizens’ hands and criminals would still find ways to get their hands on guns through illegal means. In other words, all stricter gun control would do is infringe on the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and do nothing to solve the problem. On Sunday, Obama also stated that “no single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society but that can’t be an excuse for inaction.” 

Mass shootings are on the rise in the United States. In the past three decades, there have been at least 62 mass shootings with 24 of them occurring in just the last 7 years and, of the 24 worst mass shootings of the last 50 years, 15 of them have happened here. Our second amendment right to bear arms cannot come with these incidents as an unfortunate trade-off. I can only hope that these tragedies become extremely less frequent, but unless we change something about the way we treat guns, I can only see them becoming more frequent.

Further reading:
 Twelve Facts about Guns and Mass Shootings in the United States by Ezra Klein

A Guide to Mass Shootings in America from Mother Jones

 Top Democrat will seek new gun law in next Congress

I am a sophomore at the University of Denver studying Film and English. I am deeply interested in Politics and the role of the U.S. in the world at large.

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