The recent horrific shooting in New Zealand has left many heartbroken and terrified. This tragedy has sparked worldwide pain and anger, as well as gun law reform in New Zealand. We saw New Zealand’s prime minister and her cabinet vow to strengthen gun laws in their country within ten days of the shooting. Now, we ask, why has the United States never had the same reaction?
New Zealand, which has, on average, less gun violence than the United States, has jumped to overhaul gun laws immediately following the tragic shooting this past week. We believe human dignity and the right to life outweighs the Second Amendment. Due to this belief, we wonder why the United States, after countless deaths from mass shootings, has not taken the initiative to overhaul current gun laws and create new ones which aim to ensure safety. Something as simple as federally requiring, through law, more thorough background checks could ultimately save lives and help diminish public fear about mass shootings.
According to Business Insider, there were over 300 mass shootings in the United States in 2018, and there has still not been any meaningful legislation to evoke change. Guns are still easily accessible to the public and are not required to be secured properly. According to the Washington Post, gun rights lobbyists in the United States, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), are one of the reasons for our country’s slow reaction to mass shootings. Lobbyist groups negatively impact the rate of gun legislation in the United States through their threatening mannerisms, overtly pressuring politicians to support their cause.
This is not a debate over one’s constitutional right to carry, but rather an understanding of the value of human life and the obligation the government has to protect its citizens. Hatred should not be tolerated. One’s right to practice their religion should be respected and no one should feel threatened in their respective schools, workplaces or places of worship.
If we condemn these actions and always offer our condolences to the victims and families of these mass shootings and tragic events, why don’t we actually enact policies that may cause positive change within our country? If we don’t learn from and implement new legislation in response to past shootings, how can we expect change to happen?
We urge our fellow DePauw students and faculty to engage in meaningful conversations about mass shootings, gun regulation and legislation, and the right to life. No one’s life should end prematurely by another individual filled with hatred. Create dialogue and awareness, you may even save a life.