automatic weapons

Here is why we need aggressive legislation in favor of banning the sale and use of automatic weapons.

Gunshots fired away in Terminal 2 of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Even as the suspect Esteban Santiago remains in police custody, the greater debate continues to escalate with one essential question remaining: how much more attacks before the change in gun control laws?

Guns have polarized the United States. From presidential elections to Congress, they have remained at the center of the divide and rift. As devastating attacks continue to occur, many American citizens are left feeling as though they do not have a voice. Specifically, regarding the sale and use of guns and automatic weapons in the US. By feeling disenfranchised, many citizens have lost hope in regards to immediate change.

Legislation includes an amendment proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) to deny gun sale to anyone if there is “reasonable belief” against them, which was followed by a Republican alternative proposed by Senator John Cornyn (R- TX)  that would require law enforcement to be notified if someone on the terror list attempted to buy a gun. There was also an amendment suggested by Senator Chuck Grassley (R- Iowa) that would make it more difficult for people with any record of mental illness to purchase any type of weapon. Lastly, an amendment was recommended by Senator Chris Murphy (D – Conn) that would close the “gun show loophole,” thus making it impossible to purchase a gun without a proper background check and official licensing. These 4 Bills all failed to be passed in June of 2016. The standstill in Congress continues. Thus, the questions feverous debates increase along with people’s impatience.

The basic facts in the recent Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting are similar to those in other mass shootings.Five people were killed and several others were killed in an assault planned by Esteban Santiago, a discharged member of the US Military.  A man with an automatic weapon and a recent colorful mental health history. Even though his licensing had expired post-discharge, he still carried around his military identification and had it on him during the attack. The gun he used in the attack was one he had acquired during his service in the military. He was a member of US armed forces, still carrying military identification despite the fact he had been discharged under the illusion of many mental problems after his return from service in Iraq. Born in Puerto Rico, and later a member of the Alaska Army National Guard, Santiago has no true belongings left, no money in his bank account and could be facing the death penalty. As more facts come to the surface, the atrocity continues to plague many with grief and impatience towards congress. A controversy on top of an already heated issue has created some political turmoil.

With that and the end of Obama’s presidency, America is faced with many daunting questions regarding the future of US legislation, Congress’s ability to work cohesively, and more specifically, the lack of gun control reforms. Gun control and mass shooting have plagued and polarized the United States. Many have become not only fed up with the archaic legislation and constant defense of the Second Amendment, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” but also the systematic problems in Congress. The right to bear arms has been upheld by the Supreme Court as recently as in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. Therefore, we as a country need more concrete and aggressive legislation in order to combat mass shootings. It is no longer the time of the Revolutionary War, and so the need for an active militia is no longer prevalent or relevant to how guns should be purchased, tracked, or treated in the 21st Century.

As Trump steadily begins his transition in the White House, it is now apparent that the same divide across the aisle exists between the Democrat and the Republican parties. It is up to newly elected officials to inspire and create change within the system itself. Bill Clinton’s gun law, the Brady Law,  expired many years ago, and a similar one banning automatic weapons has yet to take its place.

Gun control has remained a heated and controversial topic since Obama’s inaugural term in 2008. No real change has been made. This most recent tragedy in Fort Lauderdale emphasizes the importance of immediate change. Despite the fact that Mr. Trump was endorsed by the NRA, some hope still remains that he will pass aggressive legislation in favor of banning the sale and use of automatic weapons. Hopefully, under the dawn of a new president, new policies will be implemented in order to abate mass shootings.

 

Elizabeth Brewer

Elizabeth Brewer is an Associate Editor for Naked Opinion. She is Yale Young Global Scholar 2016. In her free time, she enjoys competitively swimming, debating, and discussing current events with her peers....