It’s been just over a week since 58 people were killed and hundreds more were injured by a gunman who was holed up in a nearby hotel room and shot into the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. His motivation is still unknown.
The next day on late night television shows, talk show hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah all discussed the tragedy and urged conversations to turn beyond “thoughts and prayers” and into action, specifically gun control-related action. And with these calls for reform come opponents who say there are thousands of responsible gun owners who exercise their Second Amendment rights legally and without harming others. And they’re right. But where do we draw the line? How much is too much? There has been a video circulating recently about Australia and its response to a 1996 shooting that killed 35 people. A gunman opened fire on shop owners and tourists with two semi-automatic rifles. According to the BBC, the event, called the Port Arthur massacre “appalled and galvanized the nation, helping to push Australia to enact some of the most comprehensive firearm laws in the world.” Within weeks after the shooting, all six Australian states agreed to sweeping gun laws banning semi-automatic rifles and shotguns — weapons that can kill many people quickly, the BBC reports. The country has had zero mass shootings since 1996.
Yes, there are opponents. There are those who, just like in America said the government is overstepping, but it all comes down to public safety. Americans should have the right to go to a concert or any public place and not have to look around for the quickest escape route or place to hide in case bullets begin to rain down. They should be able to enjoy a movie, concert or get an education without having to worry about an active shooter. But this is the world we now live in. A world where you think twice about buying that ticket because the next time a mass shooting happens, it could be you who’s involved.
When some terrorists from another country decided to fly planes into the Twin Towers in September 2001 killing nearly 3,000, there were almost immediate travel security measures implemented for Americans who were travelling both domestically and internationally. It wasn’t Americans who hatched that plan, yet we had to pay the price and now have to remove our shoes and get a full-body scan when we fly to visit family and friends. It just took a couple terrorists to cause sweeping security reforms everyone is required to participate in. The same should apply in this situation.
Unfortunately, the few who, for whatever reason, have made the decision to kill indiscriminately have ruined it for everyone else. There can be no more justification in the fact that most people are good and follow the moral codes. Most are, but the ones who aren’t have inflicted too much damage.