Gun control debate surfaces after Las Vegas shooting
By: Grant Goetcheus
On Sunday Oct. 1, 2017 the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman occurred at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock opened fire on the festival shortly after 10 p.m. Paddock used several semi-automatic rifles to kill 58 people and injure over 500. Since Sunday, the national debate on gun control has surfaced.
According to the Washington Examiner, “Gun control proponents have had little luck over the past 23 years convincing Congress to pass legislation that would curb the use of guns or ammunition in the U.S. But the most recent deadly mass shooting has created rare common ground in the halls of Congress, and lawmakers in both parties say they are willing to consider legislation banning gun accessories known as “bump stocks.”
Bump stocks are gun accessories that can be added to the back of a semi-automatic rifle to make it an automatic. Semi-automatic means that when pulling the trigger one bullet is fired and even when holding the trigger down only one bullet is fired. An automatic means that if the trigger is held down it will continue firing until being released or the gun runs out of ammunition.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been a big voice in the national gun debate despite its members only making up a small fraction of the number of gun owners in the United States. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, has been very out spoken about gun control legislature.
“There are menaces out there every day. People want to be able to protect themselves,” LaPierre told CBS News’ Face the Nation. “All the elites that have been speaking out this past week, they all want to protect themselves … The No. 1 person teaching irresponsible use of firearms is all these elites’ employer: the Hollywood, television, gaming industry.”
People are upset about the current status of the gun control laws in the United States and are asking for Congress to make a change. According to CREDO Action, a social change network of five million activists, “More than 1,000,000 have petitioned for congress to immediately pass gun control legislation.”
“Thoughts and prayers will not do anything to protect Americans from gun violence, but Republicans in Congress could if they weren’t afraid of the NRA,” said CREDO Political Director Murshed Zaheed.
The topic of gun control is one of the biggest issues that the United States faces today. After the events in Las Vegas, national attention has yet again been brought to it. However, it is too early to tell if changes will be made.