The issue of gun violence continues to persist within the United States with mass shootings, while still statistically low in occurrence, seemingly becoming more commonplace. The nation has recently experienced several major mass shootings in the past year (Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, TX, Parkland, FL, Santa Fe, TX, & El Paso to name a few), with several which rank amongst the deadliest having occurred in Texas, a state which is often synonymous with gun rights. Obviously all are terribly tragic due to the number of innocent people who lost their lives, but these shootings have stirred the national debate on guns and how to prevent mass shootings once again. I want you to explore these shootings and determine what, if anything, can realistically be done to prevent such shootings in the future? Some politicians have renewed calls for extended gun control measures such as universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and outright bans on “assault” style weapons and in some cases, bans on all guns in general. Others have pointed out that no amount of additional background checks would have prevented most of these shootings given that the Vegas shooter had no issues in his past to prevent him from owning guns, and that shooter in Sutherland Springs had extensive legal issues that should have prevented him from owning a gun, but the laws that are already on the books did not work because they were not enforced properly to begin with, and the one which just occurred in California had signs that were troublesome but nothing blatantly illegal or worthy enough to commit the shooter to a mental facility against his will.
Also, don’t forget about the 2nd Amendment in general (what does it say and are there any restrictions that can be assumed from reading it), and don’t forget that in the case of the Sutherland Springs shooting, it was only a “good guy” with a gun who prevented the massacre from becoming even worse when he used his own “assault” rifle to engage and shoot the murderer. What do we do about the mental illness aspect of most mass shootings? If the mental illness issue is not addressed, then can any amount of gun control prevent sick individuals from harming innocent people?
Finally, as with the healthcare discussion board, has the COVID-19 pandemic altered your idea about the 2nd Amendment and what types of weapons citizens should have access to? The pandemic has seen a massive surge in gun sales and ammo purchases as people fear the worst and attempt to prepare for it by purchasing firearms with which to protect themselves. With shortages on many basic necessities and supply chains hanging in the balance, the risk of general societal breakdown exists as people attempt to procure items for themselves, including via force. What once sounded like something out of a dystopian Mad Max movie is almost too close to mirroring reality for comfort. As such, should people be able to access AR-15 style rifles capable or holding a high-capacity of rounds in order to protect their property or loved ones? Please think deeply on this question and answer accordingly as these tragedies could have easily occurred at a time and place where you have all been. I look forward to reading your responses to this question.