On Monday April 10, 2017, a man by the name of Cedric Anderson opened fire inside North Park Elementary School that would leave 3 people dead, including himself.
One of the victims was an 8-year-old.
How many more needless tragedies need to occur for our country to have a real conversation about gun control?
Only 13 states require background checks before a sale of any given gun. Most states allow their citizens to trade and sell freely, especially when a gun is sold between private parties. These exchanges can usually be found at gun shows and according to a report by Elisha Fieldstadt of NBC News, 40 percent of guns are sold without a single formality.
In 1998, a background check system was implemented to amend 1991’s Brady Act. It was aptly named the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). And it’s exactly what the title suggests: its made to provide an “instant” turnaround when conducting a background check. In 2014, the program had a 91 percent “immediate determination rate,” meaning a buyer was able to purchase a gun within three days, given they “pass” the background check. The ones that were caught up with FBI investigations were allowed to buy from their seller if the FBI couldn’t come to a conclusion within three business days.
Basically, it is way too easy to purchase a gun here in the United States, even in states like California where gun laws are much more strict than the majority of the country.
Anderson had a history of criminal behavior. According to a report done by CNN, he once faced criminal charges for brandishing a weapon, assault and crimes against public peace in 2013. Those charges would later be dropped. He also had two separate women petition for temporary restraining orders as well.
The fact that Anderson was able to somehow get his hands on a deadly weapon is beyond me. Terrorists have shown us over and over again that our gun laws are way too lax. And every single time, nothing has been done to tackle an issue that should be a priority.
Obama pleaded and fought with Republicans for common sense gun reform after the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre in 2012 that left 28 people dead – 20 of them being grade school children. Instead of working together with the President, the right wing conservatives were much more concerned with the right to shoot a deer than to protect human lives from being taken away in such senseless tragedies.
The following year, 5 people were killed in Santa Monica, California, followed by another 12 killed in Washington, D.C.
Fast forward to 2014: 3 killed in Fort Hood, Texas along with another 6 killed in Isla Vista, California.
Then in 2015, there were a total of 5 mass shootings that left a total of 40 people dead. The deadliest shooting of that year was in San Bernardino, California, where a couple shot and killed 14 people.
In 2016, 50 people at a gay nightclub were gunned down by the hands of a bigoted terrorist. He had bought his arsenal from a local gun store. The deadliest weapon he acquired was an AR-15 rifle, a gun that has no business being in the hands of an ordinary citizen. It was military-grade. It was powerful. And in a matter of minutes, 50 lives were taken resulting in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Monday was the date of the latest mass shooting. Coverage of the shooting has been overshadowed by an Asian man being dragged off the plane. While both stories should be covered with intensity, an 8-year-old child died in a hospital because he was caught in the cross-fire of a man that shouldn’t have had a gun in the first place.
The differences in coverage of these incidents are not because one story was less important than the other. It’s more of a testament to how desensitized our country has become to deadly events such as the one that transpired in San Bernardino.
The proponents that hold the 2nd Amendment close to their chest are losing sight of what’s truly important. It’s frustratingly disappointing seeing individuals not being able to grasp the idea that people can still bear arms with decent gun laws in place.
Australia is a great example of how strict gun laws can prosper among its citizens. After the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996 that left 35 people dead, the island country recognized their dire need for gun reform. As a result, the Australian government swiftly enacted strict gun laws and even had a mandatory gun-buyback program implemented that same year. From 1979 to 1996, Australia was home to a total of 13 mass shootings. From 1997 to 2016, they had none.
For the record, I don’t err on the side of banning guns altogether. Our citizens have the right to bear arms and to also be able to protect themselves. And maybe comparing the U.S. to Australia is the wrong way to go about this due to the sheer difference in size. But don’t we owe it to the hundreds of victims to at least try? Or have the lives of these victims already been forgotten?
Our deep-rooted obsession with guns is getting innocent civilians killed. How many more parents have to bury their children for change to occur?
Gun violence isn’t an issue that needs to be debated. There is no right-wing argument that holds any weight. It’s not liberal “snowflakes” crying and making a scene.
This is a human lives issue. And it desperately needs our full and undivided attention.