Columbine, 1999. Sandy Hook Elementary School, 2012. Stoneman Douglas High School, 2018. El Paso, 2019. These four names are among the many places in the U.S. that have become famous due to mass shootings — mass shootings that would not have happened if there were stricter gun laws.
Although people like to say that mental health, video games and even race and religion are the causes for mass shootings, the only thing mass shootings have in common are guns.
A mass shooting is commonly defined as a shooting where at least four people have been injured or killed in one location. As of Aug. 5, 2019, there had been 255 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. The only way to decrease this number and, in the future, eliminate mass shootings in the U.S. altogether, is to create stricter gun laws.
I know, I know. It’s a completely “radical” idea — how dare we create stricter gun laws and take away the population’s seemingly “God-given” right to bear arms. Let’s arm children and teachers instead.
The only way to create a safer environment for the future is to look at the root cause of the mass shootings. The only similarity among each and every mass shooting in the U.S., and any other country for that matter, is that guns were used.
In 2019, the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand forced the government to amend their legislation to make the country safer. Now, any firearms in New Zealand that have a capacity for more than ten rounds are prohibited. This restricts the use of most automatic weapons.
Shortly after just one mass shooting in New Zealand, the laws changed to make the country safer for its citizens. Why can’t the U.S. change its laws too?
A large reason why the U.S. is unable to change its laws because of how the National Rifle Association (NRA.) pressures politicians and many members of the House of Representatives represent populations who are members of the NRA, or they just enjoy being able to own a gun. Therefore, gun legislation often cannot get passed.
However, is owning a gun really more important than being able to be safe in your own school? Or your workplace? Or your own place of prayer? Or the grocery store down the street from your house? None of these places are completely safe from mass shootings.
After the El Paso and Dayton shootings, the Trump Administration considered gun legislation. However, President Trump wanted the legislation to be tied to immigration laws, despite the fact that both of the gunmen were white men who were born in the U.S. In fact, the El Paso gunman preached Trump’s anti-immigration ideals, and targeted the specific Walmart that he did because of the number of immigrants — especially Mexican-Americans — who frequent the store.
It is terrifying that not a single place is safe from this kind of horror. We should not have to walk around thinking about the fact that places may not be secure enough to prevent such a tragedy from happening.
Trump and many other GOP lawmakers suggested that exposure to violent video games were the cause of mass shootings. “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah disagreed with Trump’s ideas.
“If video games are so persuasive, maybe video games could even inspire politicians to do something to end gun violence,” Noah said on “The Daily Show” episode on Aug. 8.
There is no evidence that violent video games directly correlate to exhibiting violent behavior. Guns, however, are used for mass shootings, and they are among the few things that we can actually control.
Similar to New Zealand, the U.S. should enact stricter gun laws. Politicians should consider prohibiting automatic weapons and assault weapons, creating more thorough background checks and creating more age restrictions and safety measures. With more laws in place, the U.S. will be a much safer place for everyone.
Anika Veeraraghav is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.