- Posted December 22, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
We Forgot About Gun Control...Again
The anniversaries of mass shootings come, we lay wreaths, offer our "thoughts and prayers," but still take no federal action to prevent more of the tragedies we mourn. Some states have tightened gun control, but even more have made gun control laws more lenient. After all, gun advocates would claim, having more guns makes us safer. Gun advocates convincingly paint emotionally-driven scenarios in which a mass-shooter could be stopped if the "good guys" had guns.They say we should be heavily-armed to defend our homes. No one is arguing against all gun ownership, but guns may mostly provide a false sense of security. A gun in the home is twenty-two times more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or accident than it is to be used in self-defense, and do people really need an AK-47 to protect their property? And the chances of being able to aim only at a mass shooter in the midst of chaos seem slim. But, no matter which side you're on, nothing is happening. We can't get anything done.
From my observation as a college student in West Virginia, nothing sparks a passionate classroom debate like the issue of gun control. There is something about guns that strikes a chord in people. I think President Obama's frowned-upon comment about people "clinging to their guns and religion" was true. People cling to their guns religiously, and Appalachian culture especially exemplifies the President’s comment. Earlier this year, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin introduced a mild gun control bill that would have established universal background checks. Applauded for his "bravery," Manchin fought for his bill to pass congress, but it failed. After the bill died the first time, congressional Democrats believed bringing the bill to a vote a second time was wasted effort, while house Republicans were voting to repeal ObamaCare for the fortieth-something time.
A sizable majority of the country supports universal background checks, bans on assault weapons, and limiting magazine size. But the whole political system is taken hostage by the loud voices of the minority, who value their "right" to own 30-round magazines and military-style assault weapons more than trying to save lives. Gun advocates are right about one thing: criminals will still find ways to obtain weapons. That's true. But with stricter laws, fewer criminals can obtain weapons. It will be harder for criminals to obtain weapons. People who consider themselves the "good guys" should realize that trying our hardest to keep guns out of the hands of murders is not a sacrifice or a restriction on liberty—it's "common sense," as President Obama would say.
Hoping that we will get gun control passed anytime soon seems foolish. Instead, we will focus on the failures of The Affordable Care Act. We will continue to search for the "truth" about Benghazi. The right-wing conveniently remembers about those subjects, but, as a country, we are all guilty of forgetting the mass shootings in Tucson, Aurora, Newton, and D.C, and we have let our post-shooting resolve, once again, fade away to complacency.