Commentary: Is the tragedy in Las Vegas the final straw in the gun control debate?

By Sean Mahoney

Earlier this week the United States underwent one of the biggest national tragedies in the history of our country. 64-year-old retired accountant Stephen Paddock sat 32 stories above the crowd of a Jason Aldean performance at a country music festival and opened fire, killing 60 and injuring over 500 people. As the country mourns those who lost their lives, the event brings up a prevalent issue in our country: Gun control.

Gun control has been a highly discussed topic in Congress for years. Whether it was Sandy Hook, or the Pulse nightclub, mass shootings in the United States have sparked this debate into the forefront of our country’s problems. Now, everyone has their eye on what President Trump is going to do.

The [Las Vegas] police department has done such an incredible job, and we will be talking about gun laws as time goes by,” Trump said as he initially commented on the events before his trip down to Las Vegas. Trump has been anti-gun control in the past claiming he thinks bans on guns were , and although it is a time for mourning, everyone is very interested in what is going to be the aftermath of this tragedy.

I don’t think any type of weapons ban has a chance to pass this Congress and President Trump has said he is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights,” said Steven A. Clark, the president of the UMD Young Republicans club.

Clark did agree that he thinks a ban on bump sticks (the turning of a semi automatic weapon to an automatic weapon which was used by Paddock) might be in the works. However Trump’s stance on guns hasn’t made a visible change yet.

I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and — you have to — and on military bases,” Trump said after the massacre that happened at the Pulse night club in June 2016. “My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There’s no more gun-free zones.”

Trump stated that he believed other bystanders could have stopped that if they had the access to guns. So, if that is any hint, it looks like Trump is not leaning towards any sort of ban on guns.

There have been numerous tries, but none have come to fruition. After the Sandy Hook shooting in late 2012, then president Barack Obama had multiple proposals written up about gun control including universal background checks, limiting magazines to 10 rounds and the strengthening of assault weapon bans. But none of those got through Congress without being denied and proposed back in a completely different meaning. There were also increased gun control talks after the Pulse shooting as well, but nothing has changed in gun control laws since then.

These conversations are starting up but we are a long way down the road from getting realistic discussions in. But as Trump said, we need to use this opportunity to band together and help those who were affected by this tragedy.

Right now, we need to focus on coming together as Americans and mourning the loss of life, while honoring the brave men and women who rushed towards the gunfire and saved countless lives.” Clark said.

Only time will tell what will change in the gun control standpoint and efforts by the government are going towards preventing this from ever happening again. 

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