Mass shooting in Las Vegas raises serious discussion


Tribune News Service

Police vehicles are seen near the site of shooting in Las Vegas, the United States, on Oct. 2, 2017. At least 50 people were killed and over 200 others wounded in a mass shooting at a concert Sunday night outside of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

When this legislation was written almost 250 years ago, the technology required to build a semi-automatic firearm was still more than a hundred years away.

The founding fathers never laid eyes on semi-automatic assault rifles or would have been able to guess the technology in weaponry that would develop by 2017.

However, it’s the advancement of these weapons that resulted in the rifles used to kill at least 59 people and injure hundreds more in Las Vegas Sunday night. These numbers are subject to change, as new reports reflect rising numbers of weapons and deceased.

Let’s call Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler, Nevada resident and U.S. citizen what he really is: a terrorist.

Let’s call Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler, Nevada resident and U.S. citizen what he really is: a terrorist.

Although this shooting is anything but an isolated incident, Nevada legislation may have played a role in this.

For example, when you’re drinking in Las Vegas, law dictates they’ll take away your car before they take away your AR-15. The illegal blood alcohol content (BAC) to drive is .08 percent. The illegal BAC to possess a firearm is .10 percent.

However, this is not only Nevada’s problem. AR-15s are popularly categorized as modern sporting rifles that are used in hunting.  It’s these types of guns that we view as epitomizing the role of the second amendment.

While this is not a call to take away all guns, it might be fair to call for a federal update on modern gun legislation. Those who are in favor of the second amendment are not in the wrong for wanting to preserve their right to bear arms. It is important to be able to protect your family, your property and yourself if you desire to do so. It is one of the unique qualities of our country that citizens are afforded such rights.

However, there are also rights of citizens who want to enjoy a concert, a movie or a stroll home from getting food on Green Street without the fear that someone might open fire on them. Innocent citizens have the right to enjoy their lives without being shot to death.

New legislation might include harsher requirements put in place for those wishing to purchase a firearm. There’s a way to allow for the use of recreational guns without infringing on the citizens’ rights to safety.

We cannot continue relying on archaic laws to keep our country safe from its most lethal dangers.

We cannot continue relying on archaic laws to keep our country safe from its most lethal dangers.

The gun control debate is nowhere near over. However, if this country continues to allow innocent citizens to die without taking into consideration new amendments to the right to bear arms, horrific events such as the one in Las Vegas will not be the only ones of their kind.  

We know it’s been said time and time again, and people might read this and then immediately ignore it. But 59 people are dead because no one thought it was odd that one man owned more than 20 automatic rifles. On top of this, mass shootings happen far too often in the U.S.

Something needs to be done. For students, that means being an informed voter. Those for and against the second amendment should make sure their votes reflect their values.  

Becoming an informed citizen starts by refusing to be a bystander to events like these. No matter the stance and no matter the political party, it is important to take a stand for what you believe in.

The United States is a democratic republic. Our government was designed with its citizens in mind.

Being politically active means having those difficult conversations about controversial topics like gun control. Being politically active means voting in the presidential primaries and in your state and local elections. Being politically active means utilizing the public sphere to attain greater knowledge as citizens and achieve more progress for our country.

People will continue to be murdered and our country will continue its nearly constant mourning if we do not step up and fulfill our role as citizens.