A Year on: Las Vegas Shooting

A Year on: Las Vegas Shooting

It’s been over a year on from the devastating Las Vegas shooting, where 58 people were killed and 851 injured by lone gunman Stephen Paddock. Paddock opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, from the Mandalay Bay hotel overlooking the area in which thousands of people were enjoying the Harvest music festival. 

Many of the shooting’s repercussions, particularly the mental trauma ignited by this disaster, is still being felt today. The authorities have yet to establish a motive as to why Paddock carried out this horrific crime. Thus, we are left still pondering the question: how can such powerful semi-automatic rifles, be needed by everyday civilians?

President Trump has been an ardent defender of second amendment rights – with strong views against any kind of gun control legislation; arguing that having more good peoplewith guns will stop the bad peoplewith them. Furthermore, he argued that tougher gun control legislation, including strong background checks and the banning of high calibre semi-automatic guns, is inherently against the second amendment and by extension is unconstitutional.

The NRA and other gun lobby interest groups have huge political sway in America. This in effect means, that many politicians’ views are significantly swayed due to the vast amount of money and pressure these groups supply. The NRA’s believes that to prevent/counter attacks like the Vegas shooting there should be an increase of people trained to operate guns in public places, like schools and festivals. This solution is counterproductive and means that there are more people in the possession of guns, which will surely increase instances of gun violence?

Michelle Gonzalez is a victim from the shooting as well as the figurehead of the March for Life movement. The March took place earlier this year, following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, engaging the nation as millions of people across America joined together and came out to protest for better gun control legislation. The work of Gonzalez and her friends is indicative of the increase in young people becoming more politically active. In recent years, the young people of America have become increasingly ~woke~ to political issues, including the gun control debate. The horrors surrounding school shootings such as Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Stoneman Douglas all serve as a reminder that ineffective measures in regard to gun control can lead to the loss of many young lives and, arguably, affecting the newly engaged electorate more than ever. 

 America yearns for effective gun control legislation and programmes that will benefit the victims and families that are suffering from physical and mental issues as a result of gun crime. Politicians offering their ‘thoughts and prayers’ no longer suffices. A change in legislation will be tricky though, as gun lobbying groups have a large hold over the political landscape. 

A year on and several shootings later not much has changedlives are being lost simply because powerful groups resist greater gun control. Eventually, everyone needs to accept that people are intrinsically worth more than any profits made by the NRA and it is abhorrent that in 2018, we are still having to have marches and rallies to put this point across.

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