Column: Vegas shooting proves gun control necessary for public safety


By Samantha Johnson, Entertainment Staff

COn October 1, 2017 at 10:08pm, the police received a call that there had been gunshots at a music festival on the Las Vegas strip. The shots were being fired from the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the 32nd floor and later the police found the shooter, 64 year-old Stephen Paddock dead in his hotel suite. This is now recorded as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, with 59 people dead and over 500 injured. Obviously all find this event to be horribly tragic, but when the topics of gun control and terrorism arise, opinions differ.

In the U.S. there have been far too many mass shootings in the last few years and it could be prevented with strong gun control policy. I do not think guns should necessarily be banned because I’m sure people would still find a way to access them that could be more dangerous, but gun access should definitely be heavily monitored and controlled. I believe that all mentally stable citizens should have the right to bear arms, however if you are diagnosed as mentally unstable with any condition which would cause you to act irrationally, you should not be allowed to own a firearm. If one is fit to own a weapon, there should be background checks made on the citizen to check if said person has any type of record, and if so, a firearm should not be allowed to be purchased. The background check should be a long, thorough  process.

I also believe that large, deadly automatic firearms or conversion kits should not be available to the public, simply because they are not needed. A hand gun with low capacity or a shotgun is feasible for home protection if people feel it necessary for their safety, but that raises the question that if we live in a civilized society based on moral law, why are we so scared that we feel the need to have weapons in the first place? The fact that it’s harder and longer for a person to get a driver’s license rather than a gun is absolutely absurd. Yes, I do like knowing that the person next to me behind the wheel had to go through the same process in getting their license that I did, you can have a gun without any training or requirement in hours. There should be some type of long requirement that must be fulfilled to purchase a weapon.

For the people saying that the right to bear arms is in the Constitution and therefore it should be allowed without limits is an absolutely absurd idea. The Constitution should not determine everything if the right is outdated. The Constitution was written over 250 years ago before semi-automatic or automatic weapons were invented. At the time they wrote it, a gun could maybe get one bullet off a minute, two if you were good. In fact, the Minutemen were named the Minutemen because they were good at getting one shot off per minute. Now people can get multiple bullets off per minute with a semi-automatic or automatic weapon. The Founding Fathers knew they could not predict everything and left ways to change the Constitution in hopes that if it was necessary, we would know that and change it.

Mental illness is also not properly taken care of, which is a huge issue. Instead of everyone having weapons and killing one another because we have an irrational mindset, we should have the proper care for mentally ill people to get better. Many people nowadays have depression, anxiety, and many other severe mental illnesses that should be talked about more and not just ignored, creating a stigma. Mental illness is a serious issue and the proper steps should be necessary should be taken in order to help people suffering from it.

Many also say Paddock shouldn’t be considered a terrorist and that he was just mentally unstable, but why can’t he be both? Paddock is a domestic terrorist and was mentally unstable. His skin color or religion should not determine his label. Anyone who could kill that many people is a terrorist and is obviously not mentally stable.

This unfortunate event should serve as a lesson to prove we cannot avoid and dismiss the topic of gun control any longer and that we should take to correct measures in order to fix what is broken with gun policy and the topic of mental illness. I hope our country will finally learn from our mistakes and accept that we are a flawed nation.