Stronger action needed to stop mass shootings in U.S.

by Julie Cappiello, Staff Writer

In 1996 San Diego State student, Frederick Martin Davidson, shot and killed three professors during master’s thesis defense. He was spared the death penalty and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

According to Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd sourced database of U.S. mass shootings, there have been 378 mass shootings so far this year. In October, the Las Vegas shooting left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured. It was the deadliest shooting in American history, not even two years after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Florida that killed 50. In Sutherland Springs, Texas, Devin Patrick Kelley killed 26 people attending a Sunday church service earlier this month.

Gun violence in America is an ongoing problem. There is a need for stricter gun control and realistic resolutions.

Gun control is downplayed in the media. The media refuses to acknowledge that mass shootings are acts of terrorism. The New Yorker published an article titled “Why We Should Resist Calling the Las Vegas Shooting Terrorism.”

The problem with calling the shootings terrorism is that there is no clear definition of terrorism. Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as “the systematic use of terror especially as means of coercion.” The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation especially against civilians in pursuit of political aims.” Describing terrorism as having political motives makes these shootings not fit the definition. The U.S needs proper evaluations and background checks for those who possess firearms — it could prevent mass shootings from occurring. The Second Amendment can still remain, but there needs to be a compromise. President Donald Trump said at a press briefing that the Texas Church shooting is a mental health problem, not a “guns situation”.

If mental health is the problem, there needs to be some reform. The government should increase mental health awareness and treatment.

Instead of something being done, the government covers gun control as being a different problem. The media report the story and then move on.

People think there are laws set in place when it comes to gun control. However, these laws have loopholes and are not as strict as they should be. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives there are three laws that directly pertain to gun control.

First was the National Firearms Act of 1934, which was the first federal imposed gun control law. It originally imposed a tax on the making and transfer of firearms. It also required registration of all NFA weapons. In 1968 Title II of the Gun Control Act, amended the definition of firearms by adding that they were destructive devices and expanded the definition of machine guns.

Following the Gun Control Act was the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act from 1986. This act amended the definition of silencers and altered the Gun Control Act to prohibit the transfer of machine gun possessions.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The bill banned the manufacturing of copycat weapons and 19 military style assault weapons. It also strengthened federal licensing standards for firearm dealers.

While these laws limit what kinds of firearms one can buy, they do not stress proper vetting and evaluation of individuals purchasing guns. California imposes a 10-day waiting period for buying firearms and the purchase must be through licensed dealers.

America needs to provide gun control now more than ever. Lives are at stake. How many more must die before new, meaningful, laws or regulations are passed?