Last month’s shooting in Las Vegas has reignited the familiar debate: Is US gun control stringent enough?
On the night of October 1, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada. The incident, that left 54 people dead and another 546 injured, has now been confirmed as the most fatal mass shooting in American history. This tragic turn of events has once again fueled a fire in those wishing to enforce stricter gun laws. It has also brought the issue of bump fire stocks—stock of semi-automatic weapons that mimic the firing capabilities of automatic weapons—back into focus.
Of all the murders in the US in 2012, 60 percent were by firearm compared with 31 percent in Canada, 18.2 percent in Australia, and just 10 percent in the UK. According to Politifact, the annual death toll from gunfire in the US between 1968 and 2011 eclipses all wars ever fought by the country. For the statistics visit politifact.com.
Gun control is a notoriously divisive issue in the US, particularly because the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The Second Amendment has always been at the heart of America’s gun control debate, since its ratification there have been arguments to its precise meaning. One interpretation is that the “well-regulated militia” clause refers only to official militia carrying guns legally. An opposing viewpoint believes that the amendment gives all citizens the right to own guns, to protect themselves in the face of danger. President Donald Trump is a firm advocate of the latter reading. Since being elected into the White House, he has signed a bill into law rolling back the Obama-era regulation of gun purchases to those with mental illnesses.
Recent figures released by the FBI show gun homicides have risen 32 percent between 2014 and 2016, which has triggered many people to insist that changes be made. A recent survey conducted by ABODO questioned 1,000 of their users about gun regulation and the government’s tactics to curb violence. This investigation focused on the millennial standpoint—the generation that will inherit such policies in decades to come. The results were poignant, yet not wholly surprising.
When asked the question: “Does the US have a problem with mass shootings?” the answers were as follows—80.15 percent said “Yes”, 12.88 percent said “Not more than any other country” and 6.97 percent thought “No, the media over reports them”. The survey goes on to unearth that 77.96 percent of the millennials tested thought that guns were too easy to purchase. When faced with the query, “Should private citizens be able to own AR-15s?” 62.1 percent of millennials said “No citizen needs a military grade weapon”, with an extra 26.86 percent stating that “Maybe, but there should be a lot more screening and mandated safety courses”. Millennial respondents also favored increased regulation with 60.04 percent stating that they believed gun violence would decrease if guns were monitored more stringently.
The same group of participants was then questioned about the Trump administration and whether they were believe they are equipped to handle the gun control debate. The results were eye opening. ABODO’s results were split into three categories: all respondents, gun owners and those who didn’t own a gun. One would perhaps have thought that gun-owners would view the topic in a different light to those that do not own a firearm. In fact, all categories showed a majority leaning towards “No”. All respondents: 74.33 percent “No”; gun-owners: 52.6 percent “No” and those who don’t own guns: 79.1 percent said “No”.
Currently, the future of gun law in America seems uncertain—only time will tell. What is certain is the millennial opinion on Trump’s competency to tackle gun legislation. To the question: Do millennials trust Trump with gun control? The answer is a resounding NO!
Do you think gun control is an issue in the US? We would like to hear from you.