Opinions, Politics

Mass shooting in Long Beach leaves students wondering if guns are worth the trouble

At least three people are dead, and nine others are injured after a yet another shooting in Long Beach Oct. 29.

With all the shootings that happen in this country, we can not wait a second longer to talk about gun control. People are starting to get numb to the aftermath of shootings. Some people react to shootings the way they react to natural disasters: you just have to get through it.

We can not allow ourselves to fall into this fallacy of giving out thoughts and prayers and waiting for the next shooting to happen. The only real way to stop gun violence is to get rid of guns, simple as that. 

I have been around a lot of firearms in my life. As a teenager, my father and I would go out to, probably illegally, shoot cans and tires or random pieces of trash out in the desert. When I got older, I joined the Army, and at the age of 18, I had the opportunity to shoot a wide variety of semi-automatic and fully-automatic “assault” rifles. 

Now, as a 26-year-old-disabled-veteran-journalism student, I despise guns. I, like nearly every other student attending Long Beach State, grew up in a post-Columbine world. We remember active shooter drills and “see something say something” campaigns and now go to a school where we have gone on lockdown because of emails containing “credible threats.”

Others would say that the real problem is poor mental health or a lack of self-control among these people that decide they want to shoot into crowds of people. Yes, these are, in fact, big problems, and many agree that these people shouldn’t have access to weapons, but that is always the reactionary response. 

If there were no legal gun sales in the United States, then the Parkland shooting wouldn’t have happened. The Las Vegas shooting couldn’t have occurred without the legal sale of firearms.

Then there is the argument that “if guns are illegal, then only criminals will have guns.” Well, the thing is, every illegal gun started its life as a legal gun. According to the Department of Justice, in 2019, only about 6% of illicit firearms were obtained from “responsible gun owners” and the vast majority of came from legal sales done in a shady way. 

We as Americans have proven time and time again that maybe we shouldn’t be trusted with weapons as a fundamental right. The pro-Second Amendment people on campus would probably disagree with me, but it’s not like the Constitution hasn’t been changed a few (or 27 to be exact) times in the past. Hell, one of those amendments was made only to undo an earlier one.

No solution will be able to stop gun violence overnight. There are still millions of guns, 393.3 million as of 2017, out on the streets, in safes, under pillows, in holsters, and in glove boxes of vehicles in the U.S. 

Making guns illegal will stop the shooters that get them legally right now, and eventually, the ones still out on the black market will get found and destroyed. That is what Australia did after they had the highest casualty mass shooting in history (before the U.S. broke the record a few times over) in 1996. After banning what’s known as “assault-style-rifles,” Australia only had 32 homicides in 2014.

Simply stated, there needs to be fewer guns. If that doesn’t convince you, isn’t saving even just a few lives worth giving it a try?

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