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Guns out of control

Vegas Shooting Sparks the Gun Control Debate.

Michael Levitsky, Contributor

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Tragedy struck the nation last week, as the United States suffered their worst mass shooting in modern history.  A lone gunman fired away at thousands of people attending a country music concert in Las Vegas, leaving 58 confirmed killed and wounding more than 500.  The gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel Resort and Casino.  Law enforcement later discovered that Paddock had 23 firearms in his room.  This is the most devastating mass shooting to date, just 2 years after the Orlando nightclub carnage that killed 49.

Many Americans, outraged by the recent tragedy, are calling for Congress to reopen the gun control debate.

Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), said, “When gun violence happens in neighborhoods across the country, we mourn and move on. When a gunman ambushes legislators at a Congressional baseball practice, we mourn and move on. When hundreds are shot at an outdoor concert, we are angry and outraged and call for change. We mourn. But this time, we cannot move on. We must take action.”

As one of the world’s developed nations, the United States lead the way by far in most gun related homicides.  According to the Human Development Index, the U.S. has nearly four times as many gun related homicides as the country with the second most–Switzerland, and nearly six times as many as Canada.

On the other end of the spectrum, the gun rights group, National Rifle Association (NRA), has yet to release an official statement on last week’s shooting.  Josh Meyer of Politico, noted that this is not the first time the NRA has delayed on releasing public statements after mass shootings.

“The NRA made no public statement for days after the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings,” says Meyer.  He continues to state that the NRA’s eventual response included blaming rap music, films and video games, and lack of armed guards at the school.

The NRA has previously argued that strict regulations on firearms will only harm gun owners that abide by the law, because criminals will still ignore them.  When an incident such as this occurs, the NRA’s approach involves rigorous fact finding before releasing any statements.  They normally tend to search for facts such as possible motives, whether the suspect is psychologically stable and how the individual obtained his or her firearm(s).

The question now remains: where does the U.S. go from here?  The firearm control debate has been a prominent issue in the 21st century and will certainly continue to be as long as mass shootings continue to happen.  Should Congress hold tighter regulations on gun laws, or do away with the 2nd Amendment altogether?

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Guns out of control