The Las Vegas shooting has left 59 dead and upwards of 500 injured, making it one of the deadliest shootings in American history. The shooter, identified as Stephen Paddock, used an assault rifle from a hotel room at Mandalay Bay to open fire on concert-goers across the street. If you would like to help financially, there is a GoFundMe raising money “to provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been a whopping 273 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2017. The organization defines a mass shooting as an incident where four or more people are shot. It is clear that our nation is plagued with a serious problem if we are averaging nearly one mass shooting per day.
Although this massacre happened less than 24 hours ago, it’s necessary to begin talking about what we should be doing differently to prevent tragedies like this to happen in the future. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” We can’t keep waiting and waiting to make a change — if we do, more innocent lives will be lost. Offering thoughts and condolences to the victims of mass shootings should always be encouraged and welcomed. However, we need more concrete and real solutions to the gun violence epidemic facing our nation. And these solutions come in the form of gun regulations.
The best first step our lawmakers need to take is to ban assault weapons in the United States. In 1994, assault weapons were banned in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, but the act expired and wasn’t renewed in 2004 despite support. Studies show that while the ban was in place, crime in several major cities decreased significantly. No U.S. citizen should need an assault rifle to function in everday life — so why should we continue to allow access to them when they give room for mass violence?
Regardless of what our country’s leaders decide to do in light of the gun violence epidemic, we need to do something. Something needs to be done differently because it’s clear that we we’re doing right now is not sufficient. No lives should be lost due to gun violence, so it’s time our country takes action to proactively work to save lives. As the popular quote goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”