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In a meeting room next to a quaint local bookshop, with their notebooks out and pens scribbling, 20 women sit around a table all with the same goal in mind: to stop new legislation in Missouri that would allow guns in hospitals, public colleges and universities, daycares, places of worship and bars. Moms Demand Action is a national organization that has chapters in all 50 states, fighting to stop legislation that would reduce restrictions on guns. They are part of a growing national concern for stricter gun laws. A concern that is met with fierce opposition.

 

The words Deadly Mass Shooting scroll across every news organization’s website after one occurs, but the definition of these tragedies is murky. The FBI defines mass shootings as attacks with four or more victims, and do not include gang violence or incidents related to other crimes such as armed robbery. With more than 90 mass shootings in the United States since 1982, according to the BBC, it comes as no surprise that the United States is the leading gun-owning country with an estimate of around 270 million civilian-owned firearms since 2016.

 

In the last decade, gun control has become one of the most polarizing political topics among Democrats and Republicans. However, according to BBC, preventing gun ownership of the mentally ill is one topic both Democrats and Republicans agree on. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center (HICRC) found that in 2010, 19,392 Americans killed themselves with a gun in comparison to the 11,078 people that were killed by other people. The National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest opposer of more restrictive gun laws, proposes that more guns would mean less deaths. Apparently, civilians are to take it upon themselves to whip out their guns like a scene from a bad western movie and take down the target. There are plenty of faults I’m sure you can see with a civilian-run task force. In all seriousness, more access to guns does not help the largest group affected by guns: those who are suicidal.

Audrey Allison
These are the names of the Las Vegas shooting victims.

Another group of individuals that is largely connected to gun violence statistics is those who have a history of domestic abuse. Esteban Santiago shot and killed five at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida International Airport and had a history of domestic violence in his home state of Alaska, according to the Washington Post. Furthermore, Robert Lewis, who shot at the Planned Parenthood building in Colorado Springs, Colorado killed three people, but had previously been arrested of rape and sexual assault, as well as accused of physical abuse by three ex-wives. Pulse nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, killed 48 people in Orlando, Florida. His ex-wife accused him of beating her and his second wife, who is accused of aiding him in the shootings, stated he was physically and verbally abusive, according to the Washington Post.

 

People with violent pasts such as these shouldn’t be able to get their hands on such dangerous weapons, the deadly outcomes are seen not only in the previous shootings, but statistically as well. Every Town Research Group, an organization which advocates for gun control, found that people with a history of committing domestic violence are five times more likely to murder an intimate partner when a firearm is in the house.

But thoughts and prayers aren’t going to prevent the deaths of the next 58 victims enjoying a concert in Las Vegas or the 20 children in an elementary school in Connecticut.”

Similarly, Texas church shooter Devin Kelley targeted the church his ex-grandmother-in-law attended. Kelley was released from the Air Force after domestic abuse, however, his name never made it into the FBI’s database, according to the Air Force. According to CNN, Don Christensen, former Air Force chief prosecutor, said, “Somebody… really dropped the ball in this case and there [are] 26 dead people now.” Dropped the ball. Twenty six people, including multiple children, an unborn child and Kelley’s ex-grandmother-in-law are dead because somebody “dropped the ball.” How many more people have to die before somebody starts doing their job?

 

So far, the response by lawmakers to these deadly attacks has been to offer their thoughts and prayers. But thoughts and prayers aren’t going to prevent the deaths of the next 58 victims enjoying a concert in Las Vegas or the 20 children in an elementary school in Connecticut. The only thing that will prevent these atrocities from happening is absence of weaponry such as the bumpstocks, assault rifles or handguns that mass shooters are using to make dangerous attacks even more deadly. The only progress legislation has seen this year is a proposed ban on bumpstocks, an attachment that makes a semiautomatic rifle more effective and deadly. The proposal, supported by the NRA, came after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. However, the spark to ban bumpstocks quickly dissipated among Congress and has since been passed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to deal with.

 

On Dec. 6., The House of Representatives passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 that allows those with licenses to conceal and carry guns across all state lines, regardless of the State’s own gun legislation. According to CNN, North Carolina Republican Representative Bill Hudson, who authored the bill, stated “Are you serious? We have to make sure that never happens again,” in response to his recounted story of a woman from Pennsylvania illegally carried her gun with a permit to New Jersey, where the permit was not recognized and she was jailed. Gov. Chris Christie eventually pardoned her. After the the worst mass shooting in American history Hudson tweeted out his prayers for the victims. He can see wrong in a jailed women carrying her gun across state lines in a state where her permits not valid, but can’t see why Congress must work to ensure the slaughtering of 58 lives won’t happen again.


It seems with our Republican-controlled Congress, gun control is on the back burner. A large majority of Republican voters are those of the NRA and those who support legislation allowing guns everywhere with very few restrictions. A Pew Research Center study found that only 54 percent of Republicans supported banning assault style weapons, while 80 percent of Democrats were in favor of a ban. Similarly, 72 percent of Republicans are in favor of allowing conceal and carry in more places, while only 26 percent of Democrats agree.

 

Besides votes, there’s one more thing holding Senators back from enforcing restrictive gun laws: money. The New York Times reported a top 10 list of which Senators received money from the NRA, either in forms of direct contributions or money spent on candidates. Senator John McCain came in first with over $7 million. Missouri’s very own Republican Senator Roy Blunt, came in third with $4.5 million. Senator Bill Cassidy from Louisiana came in last on the list with almost $3 million in contributions from the NRA. All of the Senators released statements on the Las Vegas shooting, seven of them mentioning their prayers for the victims. The first two Democrats out of the 100 Senators to make the list rank 52nd and 53rd among those receiving money from the NRA, according to the New York Times. Until Senators are willing to fight for the lives of citizens, instead of funding from the NRA, it seems gun control will be making no headway.

 

Whether it’s the FBI’s poorly managed database or the effectiveness of bumpstops, there is only one thing to blame for the deaths of 1,048 Americans: guns. Contrary to what the NRA believes, people kill people, but they’re using guns to do it. And until guns are severely limited, innocent people will continue to die at the hands of bullets.

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Life as we know it