America's Gun Obsession Must End | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

America’s Gun Obsession Must End

The USA needs immediate change to gun policy to prevent further attacks, argues Comment Writer Lily Haugh

In 2017 alone, there have been 274 US mass shootings. Read it. Then reread it. It doesn't become any less shocking.

By now, you will be all too familiar with the horrors of the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday the 1st, where 59 people were killed and 527 injured. ‘An act of pure evil’, President Trump states accurately.

But we must ask; how was this ‘sick and demented’ killer able to get hold of 23 weapons?

In fact, we must ask how countless disturbed individuals have gotten hold of guns? We already know the answer. The answer lies in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, written in 1771. This was 246 years ago, when US society was splintered by violence after the 7 Years war and was entering into the War of Independence.

Thanks to the likes of Trump, these ‘pure evil’ humans can stride up to a counter and claim their weapon of destruction

Times have changed drastically, but the notion that all Americans have the ‘right to bear arms’ is engraved into the very belief system of many of its citizens. If it is not frightening enough that extreme an right wing Republican is President of the United States, his stance against gun control is more so. So, thanks to the likes of Trump, these ‘pure evil’ humans can stride up to a counter and claim their weapon of destruction; just like that, the power of life and death sits, heavy and cold, in the clutches of the 'sick and demented'.

Yet still, Trump views bearing arms as an intrinsic right of the American people. In fact, he goes so far as to disagree with schools and churches being gun-free zones. In response to this, those of us with an ounce of moral integrity and, well, intelligence, might drop our jaws in shock and ball our fists in frustration. Shouldn’t all of America be a gun free zone? However, Trump argues that these gun free areas instead make ‘target practice for the sickos’. Disturbingly, it is Trump and his trigger-obsessed legislation that are unreservedly arming its citizens, ‘sickos’ or otherwise, allowing every street-corner to become a potential battleground.

But Trump was not always strictly against gun control; his turn in political agenda came about during the election, to gain 22 million pounds of endorsement from the National Rifle Association. The mould of corruption continues to grow. The NRA wield huge political command, their public ratings of Candidates’ gun control attitudes influencing the gain or loss of seats in Congress.

Whilst Trump has allowed his policies to be twisted by the NRA in his ultimate ascendance to power, Obama stuck to his political and moral compass in attempting to push increased gun-control throughout his Presidency. Frustrated by his limitations, the NRA having written laws to check executive action. Yet, Obama’s emotive rhetoric still resonates: 'This [lack of gun control] is a political choice that we [US society] make, to allow this to happen every few months in America.'

The NRA having written laws to check executive action

Obama’s use of ‘we’ indicts collective responsibility. He does not excuse himself, nor any other American, declaring how they must all work together to treat a society blighted by bullets. Obama, supposedly the most authoritative figure in the USA, could not fight this alone.

But, in 1996 Australia, the impossible was proven possible. Days after the massacre in Port Arthur, the Prime Minister Howard and his Deputy, Fischer, announced a ban on semiautomatic and automatic weapons. Despite then losing 12 seats in the state election, the party had restored their support by the national election. Most importantly, there has been no such massacre since.

To a certain level, the US has acknowledged the problem. However, it has remained stagnant in taking action. This is not for complete lack of trying. But, worryingly, with Trump in the seat of power, there will be little force for change. I just hope, amongst many others, that behind the wings of the political stage resides Obama-style advocates for gun control.


11th October 2017 at 9:00 am

Images from

Marcin Wichary