By Katharine Gillen
This Monday marked the three-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting; 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down in 5 minutes.
Since then, there has been a mass shooting nearly every day, according to shootingtracker.com.
And we ask ourselves: How are we still at this point? We are the only nation that continuously has this problem.
In 1996, a gunman opened fire at a resort in Port Arthur, Australia; 23 were wounded and 35 killed, making it the largest mass shooting in Australia’s history, according to slate.com. Twelve days later, the Australian government not only enacted a law prohibiting private gun sales, but also bought back most guns in circulation, according to washingtonpost.com. There hasn’t been one mass shooting in the country since. For Australia, it took one shooting. How many more people have to die before America’s government follows suit?
Guns and violence are deeply ingrained in American society. With every new headline about gun massacres, our nation splits, pitting arguments of personal freedom against those of societal benefits. But when hundreds of mothers are visiting the graves of their five-year-old children, and sisters are visiting the graves of lost teachers who threw themselves over their students in a desperate attempt to block flying bullets, it is no longer an argument of inherent rights; it is an argument of morality.
In the Sandy Hook shooting, Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster AR-15, an assault rifle advertised as being “the closest to a militaristic-style weapon you can get.” Lanza also used an ammunition clip, which allowed him to spray 30 bullets without cocking or re-loading. In those 5 minutes, he fired 154 rounds, according to reuters.com.
Lanza was not an outlier; weapons of this sort fall into the hands of the general public with ease. Bullets designed to enter victims with a small hole and explode, as well as armor-piercing ammunition, are on the market.
There is no reasonable civilian purpose for having the ability to stand in a crowd holding a weapon designed to kill humans as quickly and efficiently as possible. These are not weapons designed for hunting or protection; these are weapons designed to kill.
While some states, including New Jersey, have modified laws, there is a complete lack of any Congressional action. Politicians who refuse to enact change for fear of destroying their voter base have blood on their hands. As a nation, we can no longer afford to allow our government officials to view the deaths of 20 children at Sandy Hook as the cost of maintaining the Second Amendment to the Constitution.