Can Gun Control Make Us Feel Safe Again?

Picture a music festival, a scene of happiness and excitement. Music lovers wait to hear their favorite artists sing the very songs they themselves have sung in the shower for years on end. Festival-goers plan to dance the night away with their friends and family. For many attendees, the festival is an escape, a place to relax and just enjoy music. However, for country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, the festival was a place they found themselves needing to escape from.

Mass shootings over the past few years have demonstrated that no place is truly “safe” anymore. Schools, movie theaters, clubs, and even music festivals have been home to deadly attacks. These horrible assaults leave us wondering how we can go on living our lives with the constant fear of what may happen to us and those we love.

However, living in a constant state of fear is letting evil win. Altering our lives in an attempt to mitigate our chances of falling victim to an attack is not only unnecessary, but ineffective. The problem of violence lies not with us, but with those who carry out these attacks and those who provide perpetrators with the weapons necessary to carry them out. We cannot simply restrict ourselves from going to events, or stop children from going to school.

We also should not advocate for everyone to carry a gun, as this only exacerbates the problem. According to an article from The Guardian, which cites a report from the American Journal of Medicine, the more people in a country that own a gun, the less safe the citizens of that country are. The article goes on to contrast the number deaths by firearms in the United States with those in Japan. The United States, the country with the highest rate of gun ownership per capita, also has the highest rate of deaths by firearms. Japan, however, has the lowest rate of gun ownership per capita in the world and subsequently has the lowest rate of death by firearms.

An option that is left, however, is gun control. If fewer people owned guns, or even if fewer people owned military-grade weapons, the data suggests that the United States would have a lower rate of firearm deaths. While no single piece of gun control legislation can forever prevent mass shootings from occurring, it is a good place to start. We cannot ban people from going about their day-to-day lives, but we can work to better protect them.

In 1996, Australia experienced a horrific mass shooting. The government responded with extremely stringent gun regulations. Since the legislation was enacted, no mass shootings have occurred in the country. We cannot guarantee that the United States would see the same results, but the possibility of decreasing the number of mass shootings in our country should be enough to push for restrictions on the gun market.

The New York Times “asked dozens of researchers in criminology, law and public health to assess a range of policies often proposed to prevent gun deaths.”The Times then “conducted a national poll to measure public support for the same set of measures.” The survey showed that more than half of respondents approved of a semiautomatic gun ban. Additionally, 64% of respondents approved of purchase limit on ammunition. This data underscores that there are possible restrictions on the weapons market that have widespread public approval — which leaves us to ask why they have not been enacted.

We cannot live our lives in fear, but we can ensure that those we have elected to represent and protect us will do their job. The gun lobby is powerful, but together we can attempt to overpower their influence by making our voices heard. If the majority of U.S. citizens support a semiautomatic gun ban, what is stopping the legislation from being passed? The gun lobby will claim again and again that gun control will never completely erase the threat of violence. The problem with this argument is that nobody expects the problem to disappear. It is the possible and probable decrease in violence that makes gun control necessary.

People may never again feel completely safe in formerly carefree and fun spaces, but gun control can make them safer. Although it is not infallible, gun control is the best solution to instances of mass violence, a solution that the United States government needs to enact in order to protect its people.