Since the 1992 Columbine High School shooting, 122 innocent people have been killed in numerous school shootings in the United States of America. The biggest loss of life was at Virginia Tech, where 33 people were killed. However, the most heinous, was at Sandy Hook Elementary, when 27 young kids had their lives gruesomely terminated. That incident shocked the conscience of millions of Americans, and non-Americans alike.
An angry then President Obama, called on Congress to pass legislation to make it harder for anyone to buy a gun. His appeal was also supported by millions of Americans who were unreserved in denouncing this brutal act, but Congress did nothing. The motive behind Congress’ inaction is the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA). This is a wealthy organization with a lot of influential people. The NRA gives millions in campaign funding to politicians from both the Democratic and Republican Parties, but mainly to Republicans. In Obama’s second year in office, the Republicans became the majority in both the House and the Senate and so they did not consider the wishes of the Americans people including the president.
However, last week’s massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High school, in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in the death of 14 students and 3 teachers, could be the catalyst for a long overdue change to gun laws, in a country where the second amendment is revered. The second amendment is the law that gives all law-abiding Americans the right to bear arms. Students, some from the same Florida school where the most recent shooting occurred, and others from across the country have become activists. Many openly blasted President Donald Trump, for blaming the shootings on mental illness, rather than blaming it on how easy it is to buys guns. Guns that are getting into the hands of the wrong people who have no regard for human life. Some students even staged a “die in” outside the Whitehouse’s compound to protest their anger and displeasure.
This movement is gaining traction and could be a game changer. Consequently, Trump has announced that the so-called Bump Stock – a kind of contraption that converts a semi-automatic weapon to fully automatic be banned. This was the same device used by the deranged gunman in Las Vegas to kill 58 people attending a concert. After the Las Vegas carnage, many people including this writer heard of Bump Stock for the first time, and although so many lives were lost, Trump and the Congress of the United States did nothing to ban the device.
But now, he has decided to act. It shows that the students’ voices are been heard, that an obstinate, self-centered protagonist like Trump, may finally capitulate to the demand of the students and other proponents, who favor changes to the current gun laws. This ostensibly causes the Whitehouse to pay attention, perhaps much to the chagrin of the NRA, who gave an estimated 300 hundred million dollar to Trump’s successful presidential campaign.
I am not naive, however, to believe that there will be any significant changes to guns laws in the US. Lawmakers in Florida recently voted down a motion to discuss banning the AR-15 rifle, the same Semi-Automatic weapon used to murder the aforementioned 17 people in that state.
You have to ask where are their conscience? Is the NRA that powerful or some American politicians don’t have the conviction to stand up for the victims and their families, or, are they downright stupid?
As long as the NRA continues to exist, you can bet your bottom dollar that no significant change will be made to gun laws in that country, although I would be the first to welcome it. They will lobby the politicians in Washington and state houses throughout the U.S., which will influence them not to even vaguely consider any change. Some Americans are obsessed with guns, and they are aware that it is their constitutional rights to bear arms, and will not concede an inch to ensure that guns don’t get into the hands of the wrong people.
I don’t know what it will take before the Americans realize that guns kill people. Let’s wait and see if there will be any tangible change after this protest ends.
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