- Sammy Hallal | Torrey Pines High School Senior
Orlando, Dallas, Las Vegas and now Sutherland Springs. Unthinkable tragedies like these have become normalized in what is supposed to be the most advanced nation on Earth. In 2017 alone there have been 13,790 deaths caused by firearms, a number far higher than that of any other developed nation. Even with this startling statistic only continuing to rise, our Congress has not taken any action on this issue.
“Our Congress, especially those on the right, are in the pockets of the [National Rifle Association], Anabella, a student at Torrey Pines High School said. “They care more about getting reelected than the lives of the very constituents who put them in office, which is why they sit by as more people get murdered.”
A few decades ago the NRA was known for its promotion of gun safety and advocated gun ownership for hunting and home protection. Today, it has become far more recognizable as one of the strongest political forces advocating an extreme interpretation of the second amendment right to bear arms, aggressively opposing regulations such as expanded background checks and a ban on bump stocks that accelerate a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire. Ninety-four percent of Americans support gun-legislation that supports universal background checks for all people trying to purchase a firearm, according to a poll done by Quinnipiac University. Still, the legislation has repeatedly been struck down by Congress before even reaching the floor for debate due to the NRA’s opposition.
“It is our right to bear arms,” Jack, a student at Cathedral Catholic High School said. “When laws are passed banning certain guns or making them harder to get, that is an infringement on our rights.”
To put the Las Vegas shooting into perspective, one of the deadliest days in the U.S. military’s modern history was in the battle of Fallujah. Fifty-four soldiers were killed and 425 were shot. In a span of eight minutes, we saw death and injury tolls even higher in Las Vegas, with 59 killed and 527 injured, begging the question of why assault weapons like those used in Vegas are even available to the public.
“Assault weapons have one purpose, and that is to kill,” Yasmeen, a student at Francis Parker High School said. “Despite what gun control advocates might claim, these guns should not and cannot be on the streets.”
No matter what your opinion on gun regulation, it cannot be denied that there is a major issue with guns in the United States, and something must be done to stop the casualties. As our Congress continues to line their pockets and secure their seats in the next election cycle, their constituents are paying the price, and this cannot continue to go on. The safety and lives of the American people depend on it.