Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and nearly 500 people injured after a gunman opened fire on a country music festival on October 2, Her Campus contributors reached out to reflect on the ongoing national conversations and to critically address the volume of mass shootings they've witnessed throughout their lifetimes and, in many cases, the lack of action they believe politicians have taken to address them.
By Lauren Wigren
To all the freedom-loving gun advocates who offer “thoughts and prayers” every time tragedy strikes, you ought to rethink your priorities— and I mean really consider them. I get it: You like to hunt. You live in a tough neighborhood and want to feel safe. You want your family to be safe. It’s your right and you don’t want the government to take your liberties away.
Whatever your reasoning is, I know you don’t want anyone to get hurt and that you have a logical explanation for why you want (or maybe even need) a gun.
What I’m struggling to comprehend is why you would ever need a semiautomatic rifle that can easily fire multiple rounds with the use of perfectly legal adjustments, such as a bump stock. If you really feel the need to protect yourself, get a revolver or a pistol. Likewise, for hunting, invest in a rifle specifically for hunting. There is no need for ordinary citizens to own military-grade weaponry such as semiautomatic assault rifles, and frankly, I want to see these hazards banned.
Think of all the innocent children and adolescents at Columbine and Sandy Hook. Try to put yourself in the shoes of moviegoers in Aurora, in 2012, who never thought a fun night out would result in the violent death of a loved one. Think about all the club-goers at Pulse and all the music enthusiasts in Las Vegas who were dancing, singing and having the time of their lives one minute—then fearing for their lives, or lying dead themselves, the next.
How could you not want to enact change? I believe in God and will pray right alongside you; however, like most other people, I’ve come to the valid conclusion that praying is just not enough. At least not anymore.
There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings in America since Sandy Hook, and that will have only been five years ago this December. Sandy Hook alone should have been enough to get the ball rolling. The fact that we watched children get shot to death and did absolutely nothing is sickening and a slap in the face to the victims’ families and friends to say the least. The fact that we’ve allowed this senseless violence to continue so much further is even more infuriating.
Before you reiterate the narrative that “bad guys will get guns anyway, even if they are illegal,” consider this: Australia, after experiencing the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history in 1996, restricted gun access, banning automatic and semi-automatic weapons, instilling a waiting period for gun purchases, and renewing gun licensure requirements.
There have not been any mass shootings in Australia since. Maybe we’ll never be completely rid of gun violence, but we can certainly decrease it if we were just willing to try.
As a law-abiding citizen who wants to go to restaurants, movies and concerts without fearing for my safety, as a future teacher who wants to ensure that my classroom will be a safe and comfortable environment for my future students, and as a person who wants to someday have a family of my own and does not want to raise children in a violent, unsafe society, I demand action be taken.
I am fed up with being constantly reminded of the second amendment, legislature that was written when guns were not capable of what they are now. I am disgusted by the lack of empathy shown by both citizens and politicians who somehow think their right to a semiautomatic weapon, regardless of whether or not they actually use one, is more important than someone’s child. I’m frustrated that just because we cannot eradicate gun violence completely, we are somehow justified in not trying to do anything at all to ensure our fellow citizens’ as well as our own safety.
Change needs to happen. We cannot keep letting the unthinkable happen, especially now that tragedies occur so often that we have become almost desensitized to them. As both an American and a global citizen, I demand gun control.