America and its love affair with guns

6 Jan 2016

 

Yes, it is many, many years too late, but the US government is finally implementing a degree of gun control in a country where ordinary citizens can purchase military-grade weapons with ease – and in some cases carry them in the streets with the freedom of an apocalyptic video game.

 

America pushed its own President to tears when, in a speech announcing greater gun control by executive order, Obama raised the stark fact that young children have died at the hands of firearms. And although professional troll Ben Shapiro ridiculed Obama for tearing up over Sandy Hook, it is good that a President is finally addressing America’s destructive love affair with firearms.

 

 

I certainly can comprehend why some citizens may wish to own firearms, such as handguns, for self-defence in a country as large as America, and can understand why this right is protected under the Second Amendment. However, the need to own assault rifles I simply cannot fathom. Those who advocate this right believe that Obama is a raging fascist determined to turn America into North Korea, and unfailingly recite the virtues extolled by Info Wars, or Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. It’s important to realise that these people can never be won over. Indeed, it is often remarked on social media that Republicans would oppose breathing if Obama came out in favour of it – and sadly this isn’t far from the truth. American politicians (those not paid-up by the insidious NRA) should have the bravery to stand-up against these deranged bigots.

 

Considering the number of mass shootings that have occurred in America over the past few years (13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms in 2015), it’s hard to hold up the NRA’s main argument: that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. As each tragic shooting demonstrates, either good guys with guns are in short supply, or this argument simply has no foundation to stand on (the latter being the correct interpretation).

 

Luckily, though, the whims of rabid right-wingers have, for a short time at least, ceased to dominate the American political process. It took many corpses, including those of children, to force this shift, but finally it’s happening. No doubt those who enjoy seizing federal buildings while draped in camouflage will also oppose Obama’s move, as will the many senators and congressmen who receive large sums of money from the NRA. Yet, even they will be unable to stop common sense from prevailing on this issue.

 

Hopefully, the American people will now address some of the more profound social causes of mass shootings – like poor mental health funding, vast inequality, high incarceration and reoffending rates etc. America’s problems are by no means cured by one executive order; nevertheless, it’s refreshing to see that the public mood in America is shifting. Perhaps, one day, the American public will not be armed to the teeth, as though they are perpetually on the precipice of civil war.

 

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