BY JOHN EICHER
American has been in a constant cycle of tragedy, mourn and figure pointing but no progress is being made on gun control. Public opinion on this intense topic has shown virtually no change in over a decade. Given that five out of ten of the deadliest U.S. shootings have occurred within the past ten year, this is very concerning.
On June 12th, 2016, a lone gunman open fired on the Pulse Night club in Orlando, tragically taking the lives of 49 innocent people. Four months later, a nationwide Gallup poll was conducted in order to gauge public opinion on gun control. The survey found that 55% of Americans were in favor of stricter gun laws, while 34% believed that legislation pertaining to firearms should remain the same.
These numbers are troubling, given that the survey is a recurring poll. When Gallup had conducted the same survey in October 2002, the results had shown that 51% of citizens were in favor of stricter gun laws, while 36% were in favor of them remaining the same. Throughout this fourteen year gap, the minimum and maximum for each respective category only ranged 16% for more gun control, and 5% for the latter.
When interviewing Anna Susie, president of College Republicans at Salisbury University, she revealed that local students had reached a similar conclusion. “Right now, the consensus on gun control has remained unchanged. The College Republicans condemn the Las Vegas massacre, however, we do still believe that everyone, with proper training and background checks, has the right to bear arms.”
When asked if College Republicans would want to change anything legally to prevent mass shootings, she responded “The College Republicans do not have any particular legal changes that we believe would prevent these mass shootings. Mass shootings are very difficult to predict and prevent.
Few probably need reminding on the correlation between repetition and insanity, but there is still some truth to the phrase. The debate on gun control and the tragedy itself flood the news cycle every time something like The Vegas massacre occurs and it is the same story every time.
Stubbornness is not a partisan dilemma. It is a human one. Whether gun control is the solution or not, people must remain open to change in order for this national wound to subside. The answer may lie within stricter gun laws, or perhaps an increased focus on mental health and security, but neither solution matters if no one is willing to consider the possibility that they may be wrong.
The bridge between politics and tragedy can truly be a treacherous one. Sorting through the facts and emotions of an international trauma is a difficult process, but a necessary one at that. If the public discourse on gun control and mass shootings continues its refusal to change, history will repeat itself. Regardless of who is right, the route of ignorance leads to no solution. The only clear way ahead is with an open mind.