Gun control reform’s time is now

By Chantelle Hicks, Columnist

In the U.S., the debate over gun control reform has been hotly debated, with no changes made. On Oct. 1 2017,  58 people were killed at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. On Sept. 12, five people were killed at a trucking company. On May 18, 10 people were killed in a Sante Fe Highschool shooting. Now, there’s the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburg which killed 11 people and injured six. The reason? Lack of repercussions or change in policies and prevention methods which encourage these behaviors.

The gunmen in most of these recent tragedies have previously been diagnosed with mental disorders — guns do not belong in the hands of the mentally ill.  Because of their disorders, instead of spending time in prison, they spend time in hospitals.

The punishment never matches the crime.

Now some could argue that we shouldn’t severely punish the mentally ill. However, the mentally ill should never have access to the guns in the first place.

The blame lies solely within the government. Creating stricter gun laws has proven to prevent shootings, so why are politicians so afraid to save lives?

The National Rifle Association is one of the most powerful special interest groups in the United States. Originally, this recreational group was created to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis”. But, over time, they gained millions of members, and this increase in membership lead to an increase in political power which they use to influence Congress on gun policies. The group has spent $3 million alone to convince people to get guns and support these policies. The NRA has monopolized gun policies by spending $3.3 million on lawmakers. The NRA also publicly rates Congress members, using grades A through F, on how open they are to gun control laws. This rating alone affects how Congress members and American people view guns and their place in society.

Still don’t see how the NRA plays a role in gun control reform? Well, did you know after the shooting at Sandy Hook, a member of the NRA stated that the lack of an armed guard at the school was to blame for the tragedy? Later on, the NRA started lobbying for open gun laws. This law states people should be able to openly carry their guns in public places.

The most recent tragedy, which also doubles as the deadliest attack on Jewish people in the United States, shouldn’t come as a surprise to lawmakers, Congress or the American people. It is particularly insane to leave the gun laws as is and expect a different outcome. Students at different academic levels, races and religions are in danger as long as gun laws remain simplistic. This reformation delay has caused people to see gun control as an issue for years now, however the government still doesn’t feel the need to implement stricter gun control laws.

The people we vote for are the ones who stay silent when these tragedies happen. The time is now. We are the ones who no longer can afford to be afraid of the NRA and its influence. Just by becoming more knowledgeable about the topic gives you that much more of an advantage.

Vote and speak out; gun reform starts now.

Chantelle is a sophomore in Media.

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