I would not consider myself a morning person, but after all it was my 21st birthday. It’s the holy grail of birthdays, and it was almost like my body couldn’t help but wake up 15 minutes before my alarm went off on Monday. A part of me expected to check my phone and see birthday texts from friends, but not a single part of me expected to roll over and see news alerts of a Vegas shooting.
I should not be surprised. I have watched the news of elementary school students and teachers being gunned down at Sandy Hook, college students at Virginia Tech being shot, partiers at Pulse nightclub being killed, and now Las Vegas concert-goers being slaughtered by a gunman.
Unfortunately, this is our world, a world where mass shootings and gun violence seem to occur daily, setting aside the bombers that attack marathons and concerts. It seems there is nowhere to escape the violence of terrorism and hate.
According to Fox News, 64-year-old Stephen Pallock, the shooter in Las Vegas, legally bought all his guns from a store owner in Nevada who said, “Pollock went through the entire background check. All different safety checks were checked off; FBI passed him off through the system.”
So how does a flawless system of background checks not prevent a mass shooting like this? Maybe it isn’t flawless. This shooting brings up the conversation that politicians have been avoiding for years: gun control reform. It seems politicians think this is just how life is and there is nothing to do about it, but there are other options.
To clear the air, reforming gun control laws does not mean taking away guns. I wholeheartedly agree that we have the right to keep and bear arms, and that right should not be infringed upon. For many of us, guns are used for hobbies and sports like hunting, skeet and marksmanship skills. For others, guns are also used as a security feature or are even necessary for life due to geographical circumstances.
With that being said, guns need to be regulated. There are limited and unlikely reasons an American citizen would need automatic and military grade weapons, and hobbies and sports would not be among them. Regulation would not prevent people from committing mass shootings ever again, as a criminal would work outside the confines of the law, but it may keep guns out of the hands of those who would have the potential to kill others.
It’s disheartening to hear news like this on a regular basis, and we can feel useless and say something cliché like, “City of Las Vegas, I’m sending you my prayers,” but our prayers will not fix the problems we face; our actions will. Pray, reflect, mourn but take action for the community in which we live.
We need to take action for gun regulation now and can no longer live passive lives as fellow Americans are killed.