Last month, 64-year-old Stephan Paddock took 23 firearms to a hotel room in Las Vegas, where he committed one of the deadliest mass shootings in history. With more than 59 people killed and 500 people injured, it has been stirring up more controversy about gun control. What is horrifying is the fact that this is just one of the 48,956 gun-related incidents in 2017 alone. It is time to take a serious look at gun violence and why gun control is needed.
One major outlook society needs to change about gun violence is the phrase “guns don’t kill people—people kill people.” Yes, people kill people, but it’s the weapon behind them that is the most destructive part. Weapons, like nukes and grenades, are also used to kill, but they are not as deathly in the long run because they are harder to get. This could also apply to knives; which can also do the killing, but are not nearly as efficient. Imagine the damage in Las Vegas if Paddock only had access to a knife—the whole incident wouldn’t have even been possible. People do kill, but the hard fact is that guns make that killing easier.
The United States has the highest rate of gun-related deaths in the world. There are approximately 3.12 deaths per 100,000 people. At the same time, the U.S. has the highest rate of gun ownership, with 88.8 guns per 100 people. In 2012, handguns killed 52 people in Canada, 48 people in Japan, and only 8 people in Great Britain. The United States, however, had 10,728. These shocking stats are all attributed to our lack of gun control.
We should not ban guns; this would be unconstitutional, but there should be major efforts to control them. This could include better background checks, more licensing requirements, and a ban on high capacity magazines. Paddock was able to obtain 47 guns in under a year—this alone should be a major red flag.
Overall, gun control would decrease the amount of gun-related incidents. Not all gun violence comes from mass shootings and machine rifle guns; many come from the household guns people use for self-defense. Yes, guns can help people feel safer in their homes, but it also raises the option of using them in unnecessary situations. Someone who has a gun in their possession will usually reach for this no matter what danger they sense, even if it is nothing.
If gun control could have stopped just one of the many massacres we’ve witnessed over the past few years, it would have been worth it. Even if it wouldn’t have stopped Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas, it certainly would have lowered the overall rate of gun deaths in the United States. That’s a start.