Barber: How Soon Is Too Soon to Talk About Gun Control?


By Shaelyn Barber

Gun violence has been an unfortunate theme in recent events. University of Utah student ChenWei Guo was murdered in a senseless and random act of violence. In Texas, a recent shooting at a church left 26 people dead and 20 more injured. Just over a month ago was the deadliest mass shooting yet in the United States with 59 people killed and at least 500 injured in Las Vegas.

Whenever something like this happens, cries for gun control surface within minutes. People argue that stricter gun control laws would have prevented the disaster. These claims are inevitably countered by people who say that the gun control argument is inappropriate so soon after a calamity; there needs to be time for mourning before these discussions can occur. They chasten people for turning a tragedy into a political matter.

So, how soon is too soon to talk about gun control? I say we talk about it immediately.

The U.S. has a practical monopoly on gun violence. We experience gun homicide rates of 25.2 times higher than other high-income countries. What’s the difference? Gun control. Australia experienced a mass shooting in 1996 when a man killed 35 people with a semi-automatic rifle. They immediately implemented strict gun control laws and began the disarmament of citizens. Gun violence dropped dramatically.

The U.K. adopted a similar policy in 1996 when a man killed 17 people, 16 of whom were children. Gun control tightened dramatically, and the government collected and disposed of most citizen weaponry. Since 1996, there has only been one mass shooting in the U.K.

When gun control is a proven solution to an extreme problem in the U.S. that constantly endangers our citizens, it is never too soon to start talking about it. We need to pressure our lawmakers about these events and encourage them to implement laws that would help protect people. Call and write your senators and representatives. With so many in favor of loosening gun regulation, it is especially crucial to voice your concerns.

In 2017 alone, we’ve had 307 mass shootings. How can we postpone talking about gun control when mass shootings are happening multiple times per week? If we must wait for some ambiguous period of time after every tragedy before talking about solutions, we will never be able to work towards a remedy.

Gun control is the answer. People wanting to purchase guns should go through strict precautionary hurdles in order to prevent mass shootings. Gun restrictions are so loose right now that they permit people who intend to commit heinous crimes to easily obtain weapons. 

When mass shootings happen, it is the most important time to talk about gun control. Without this discussion it is impossible to prevent future tragedies.

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