President Donald Trump is wrong, in fact, he is dead wrong; now is exactly the right time to talk about gun control. The horrific attack at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, was the deadliest example of a peculiarly American problem. At least 59 people are dead, and over 500 hundred were injured when Stephen Paddock opened fire on the music festival crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. Sadly, the atrocity is just the latest in a very long list of attacks that cause the deaths of thousands of American’s every year.
During his presidential election campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly voiced his opposition to any form of gun control. Even after the massacre in Las Vegas, it would seem that Trump’s White House is not disposed to imposing any kind of gun control. As reported by Time, President Trump’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, made a statement reiterating Trump’s anti-gun control stance and said it was “too early” to begin a debate on the issue.
“There is a time and place for a political debate but now is the time to unite as a country. It would be premature for us to discuss [gun control] policy when we don’t know all the facts or what took place last night.”
Sadly, this probably means that Las Vegas will join Sandy Hook Elementary School, Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, Virginia Tech, and many others as atrocities that prick the nation’s conscience for a moment, and then fade into a horrible folklore that is almost synonymous with American culture.
It is less than 48 hours since the Las Vegas massacre, but already the apologists are raising the same tired old excuses. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the pro-gun Nevada Carry organization has already put out a statement trying to separate gun ownership from the Las Vegas attack.
“Banning this or that gun would not have prevented this. Even carrying for self-defense would not make a difference. Those poor people were sitting ducks.”
The Daily Caller goes even further, claiming that the left is using the Las Vegas massacre to attack the NRA. These responses are typical of the gun lobby, and frankly, their claims make no sense at all. Quite simply, Americans need to have a “grown-up” conversation about gun control. Police reports suggest that Stephen Paddock owned at least 42 deadly weapons, including the assault weapons he used to slaughter people at a music festival. Why? Why do we allow someone to own that many weapons?
It would be both insane and negligent for the Trump administration to turn a blind eye to the issue of gun control. The Guardian reports that you are 25 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in any other developed country. Over 30,000 Americans are killed by firearms every year, that’s 10 times more people than died in the Twin Towers on 9/11 — every year. Admittedly, many of those deaths are suicides, but that doesn’t obviate the fact that firearms were used to cause those deaths.
You can be certain that when the NRA emerges from hiding, they will trot out the tired line that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It’s madness, and it’s just not true. Countries around the world have shown that gun control saves lives. Massacres of this type are extremely rare everywhere except in the U.S.
The facts are pretty straightforward: There is no shortage of malevolent or disturbed people in the world. Give those people easy access to the sort of firearms more commonly seen on the battlefield and mass murders happen. There isn’t a country on the face of the planet, outside of the U.S., that fails to understand this issue.
Gun control does not mean that no one can have a gun. It means a system of checks and balances that help to reduce the likelihood of deadly weapons falling into the hands of those who are disturbed or malevolent. No system is perfect, of course; there will still be illegal firearms on the streets and mass shootings will still occur, but the likelihood will be reduced.
Las Vegas wasn’t even the only mass shooting in the U.S. on Sunday. The Telegraph reports that three people were killed and two injured in a mass shooting outside the University of Kansas. It is fact, that on average, there is a mass shooting in the U.S. every single day of the year.
The figures are horrific, and Donald Trump is dead wrong. Mr. President, now is exactly the right time to talk about gun control. That talk is long overdue.
[Featured Image by Gotpap/Star Max/IPx/AP Images]