Gun Control and A Divided America

Maura Fennelly

Graffiti in Newtown

Jane Collins, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Saturday, December 14th, was the one-year anniversary of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The shooting, which ended in the deaths of 20 children and six adults, brought to a head the issue of gun control in the United States. And despite the outcry from many across the nation and the world, little to no legislation has been passed to combat gun violence in the United States.

In the months following the massacre, the United States found itself in a deep debate over our current laws protecting the right to bear arms. It seems that the issue is largely a party issue, with Republicans and Tea-Partyers strongly supporting the right to bear arms and Democrats arguing that the country needs stricter gun control.

The largest point brought up following the events that transpired at Newtown was whether or not the country needs to evaluate the mental health of gun owners more closely through more thorough background checks. A Post-ABC poll in April of 2013 stated that 90% of Americans were in favor of intense background checks on people looking to get gun licenses. Despite that overwhelming figure, an amendment in the Senate that would require new background checks failed 54 to 46.

It’s been one year since the 2nd deadliest mass killing in the history of this country. Nearly nothing has been accomplished in stopping these mass murders, and that can be accredited to hugely powerful gun lobbyists and the National Rifle Association. While there are many people in support of stricter gun regulation, there is also a strong faction of people opposed to new laws. For many Americans, gun regulations represent the power of the government, which, in their opinion, is overbearing. The National Rifle Association is adamant in supporting gun rights as sport and hobby. For many, the CEO of the NRA Wayne LaPierre summed up their argument, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

So there are essentially two arguments: the first being that fewer guns will result in fewer deaths and the opposing argument being that more guns in the right hands will prevent deaths. Because the topic instills so much passion in nearly every American, it is difficult to predict when and if we will see legislation tightening the government’s power over gun owners.