A shocking move towards bipartisan gun control
The events that took place in Las Vegas on October 1st shocked the nation. To see something so evil and so dark in this country is heartbreaking for everyone.
Yet this scene is not new. Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando, Columbine. The list is virtually endless, and it never gets any easier. In fact, it gets worse. And when things hurt like this, people want to see change. They want to see something done to try and prevent these tragedies from ever happening again. And when dealing with mass shootings, the issue that almost always comes up is gun control and the Second Amendment.
When one of these terrible events happens, many people, usually those on the left end of the political spectrum, call for a total repeal of firearms, urging people to amend the constitution to eliminate the Second Amendment and rid the country of firearms, leaving people with air rifles or toy guns to satisfy their self-defense needs or thrilling pastimes.
While this may seem right on the surface, it is a dangerous thought. The Constitution is the Constitution, and while it is considered by most to be a living, breathing document that can be adjusted when necessary, this is not something that should be taken lightly.
Allowing emotional response to dictate change sets a dangerous precedent. If the Second Amendment is struck down when the wounds from a mass shooting are tender, who’s to say the protections against search and seizure afforded by the Fifth Amendment won’t be tossed out because of a stubborn criminal investigation being thwarted by legality. These things may seem different, but once a precedent is set, the slope can quickly become slippery.
These rights are there for a reason, and they shouldn’t be removed lightly.
However, that doesn’t mean inaction, and for the first time in a long time, it appears like something might be done.
States have different gun control laws, some of which are very strict and others that are almost non-existent. But the news that the Las Vegas shooter used a bump stock, a legal gun attachment that converts any weapon into an automatic machine gun, has sparked a joint gun control effort not seen in this country for some time.
Measure like this are most certainly not going to stop mass shootings in America. Motivations for these heinous acts vary greatly, and the mere existence of guns does not make them happen. But the point is that there is little societal value in the sale and distribution of certain types of guns. In most states, and for a time in the whole country, automatic weapons have been restricted or prohibited, something only hardcore gun enthusiasts view negatively.
After the events of Las Vegas, it appears people from both sides of the aisle are thinking the same way about bump stocks.
Amending the Constitution to take away gun ownership in America is probably not going to happen any time soon, and there are plenty of reasons it shouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean steps can’t be taken to try and limit the frequency with which these horrible events occur.
There are plenty of other ways gun control laws could be improved to make the country safer without infringing on Constitutional rights. For example, many states require background checks to buy any gun. But many do not, or they have easy workarounds that help render them useless. Working to close these gaps in the law could go a long way towards limiting gun-related tragedies.
Efforts could also be made to help states share information about gun ownership to keep track of firearms when people cross state lines. But for this to happen, there needs to be bipartisan support, and people need to feel as though someone is not trying to take away their rights.
Passage of this bump stock bill is by no means guaranteed, but its existence shows how there is a way to talk about gun control without alienating electoral bases or fellow legislators. People are realizing just how dangerous this device is and are taking action to try and limit its presence in this country.
Unfortunately, mass shootings will likely still occur, but in the meantime, steps can be made to try and protect people and prevent these terrible events from happening.