After one of the deadliest mass shootings in the history of the United States of America, citizens are yet again torn on the issue of gun control.
In times of such peril — especially in the immediate wake of such traumatic events — I believe that it is of the utmost importance to take a step back and assess what it really is that we need to take measures to prevent.
Firstly, we need to address the history of violence in our country. Since its conception, America has struggled with perhaps the most vicious occurrences in a developed country. Though played up by redundant “wild west” films, we cannot hide from the black marks that plague our past. That said, the byproduct of living in one of the most free and independent societies to ever exist can sometimes be ugly.
However, when it comes to mass shootings, I don’t believe that it is solely the access to a weapon that enables the perpetrator. Reality shows us that the sadistic and malevolent people who carry out these horrific acts will find the means regardless. Ergo, the first step in hindering future mass shootings starts on a societal level. The most prime environment for somebody who wants to perform a mass shooting is one where the general public is ignorant and naïve. In almost all mass shootings, the culprit shows obvious signs of intent prior to the crime itself. Together, we must become vocal and vigilant in our attempts to recognize and make known red flags raised by individuals.
In San Bernadino, California, Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Sandy Hook, Connecticut, each of the shooters displayed their detachment from society. In the case of Parkland, Florida, the shooter gave unequivocal signs that he planned to commit some act of terror, even leaving a comment on a Youtube post that he would be a “professional school shooter.” As a country, it is imperative that we become more alert. It takes awareness and courage to report somebody who may be a threat, but we must make a habit of it if we are to counteract this growing trend. Families, neighbors and friends should be obliged to speak up when warning signs appear.
Commonly, after such tragic events, masses of people will call out for gun control.
With that being said, gun control is a measure that will only lead to more measures. What I mean by that is that when the federal government does pass legislation that inhibits the sale of firearms, there will inevitably be another mass shooting. Consequently, people will cry out again for gun control, and the government will again pass more stringent legislation concerning the sale of firearms. It is an option that sweeps our legs out from under us, and we are already standing on the peak of a slippery slope.
Per contra, what could be considered is the issuance of gun-violence restraining orders, or GVROs. What these do is empower the family members, or those living with somebody who shows concrete signs of intent to carry out an act of gun violence, to argue before a court and temporarily revoke that person’s ability to buy a gun. But let me be clear, legislation like this would need to be drafted and passed very carefully. The implementation of a proper GVRO would in no way infringe on the second amendment rights of responsible gun owners across America, but would warrant those closest to a possible mass shooter to take steps towards blockading their objective.
Additionally, news outlets could do their part in reducing the publicity of the shooters. In observance of numerous rape shield laws, most news outlets refrain from identifying the victim testifying. Why not apply that discretion to the slaughterers who breach our schools and murder our youth? It has been proven time and time again that criminals bask in the attention that they gain, so why not reject them that pleasure? Keep the cameras aimed at those affected, and away from those who kill.
It is times like these that truly test the power of our constitution. Hundreds of years ago, the framers took precautionary measures to keep our government from being the victim of sudden passions, and we mustn’t trample on their will. Though it is hard to cope with such heinous circumstances, we cannot embolden the government to erase the liberties we rightfully posses as Americans.
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