Schaumburg: Mass Shootings and Gun Laws, “Freedom is Not Free”

Sage Schaumburg, Entertainment Editor

This past Friday, I noticed that the Subway in Columbus had a sign out front reading “Freedom is not free.” This means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but after these recent events, I interpret it as “We have the freedom to buy guns, but at what cost? Is this ‘right to bear arms’ that so many are fighting to keep worth the hundreds of thousands of lives lost because of these ‘arms’?”

I’m not saying that we need to completely ban guns, despite my general unhappiness with them, but there should be no reason for ordinary citizens to gain access to semi-automatic weapons. We are in desperate need of thorough background checks that can truly gauge the individual’s mental state and intentions with a gun before we even consider allowing them one. But under no circumstances should that gun be able to injure or kill almost 600 people.

USA Today says that the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, bought 33 guns in the last 12 months.

The weapons we are selling in America now are weapons used by tactical law enforcement and the military.”

— David Chipman

“Under federal law, gun stores are required to report multiple handgun purchases to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives but not multiple rifle purchases. The lack of notification for multiple rifle purchases creates a loophole where people can stockpile assault weapons, similar in design to those used by the military and police SWAT teams, with little federal detection, said David Chipman, a former ATF special agent and senior policy adviser at Americans for Responsible Solutions, which advocates for stricter gun rules. He added: “The weapons we are selling in America now are weapons used by tactical law enforcement and the military.”

There is clearly a major problem with this system. No one should be allowed to stockpile weapons like this and there is no reason whatsoever to be selling these nearly military-grade weapons to the public

“But devices known as ‘bump stocks’ can be purchased by the public and allow gun owners to fire semi-automatic weapons nearly as fast as fully-automatic ones, without government oversight,” Chipman said.

The article states that Paddock had similar legal devices that were attached to 12 of his semi-automatic rifles. Just like silencers, these “bump stocks” have no real reason to be sold to the public.

I searched through Donald Trump’s Twitter account to see if he had anything to say about the recent mass murder–part of me hoping there would be hints towards better gun laws–but all I saw were a few “God bless you’s.” So I directed my search towards his responses to other attacks.

According to an article written by the Los Angeles Times, “He [Trump] told an NRA audience that Democratic rival Hillary Clinton wanted to destroy the 2nd Amendment and that terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino would have been stopped if more victims were armed.” I don’t agree with this at all.

When people are being attacked, the common response is to run. With the mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas, it was lucky that the gun wasn’t silenced. The sound of gunfire caused alarm and because the people were running, many were able to escape the rain of bullets. Now imagine you have citizens, victims, armed and ready to fight back. Guns will be pulled frantically, but it’s harder to aim when your life is in danger. You have people shooting towards an unknown source, you have the remaining citizens getting caught in the crossfire, and since there are so many guns being pulled, there is no telling who is shooting to defend and who is shooting to kill the innocent.

“We’ll talk about gun laws as time goes by,” Trump said on Tuesday, before a visit to Las Vegas.

We’ll talk about gun laws as time goes by.”

— Donald Trump

There will never be a right time to talk about gun laws if you wait for time to go by. The amount of mass killings is continuing to grow with no sign of slowing down because no action is being taken. The amount of mass shootings that occur annually have dropped due to stricter gun laws in the past. Shouldn’t we be learning from the past?

Australia enacted stricter gun laws after a mass shooting in 1996, and they haven’t had mass shootings with semi-automatic weapons for two decades and their multiple homicide rates are down tremendously.  

I found a Washington Post article that provides some comparisons between gun laws and mass shootings in the United States versus the rest of the world, and I was horrified to learn that there are more guns than people in our country.

I’ve listed various reasons to cry out for better gun control, but there are so many more examples out there to prove that. Changes need to be made before more lives are lost in this never-ending civil war.