Las Vegas tragedy puts the debate over gun control back on the table
In a country where the carrying of weapons is as common as the acquisition of a car, the frequency of massacres and shootings supposes that something isn’t…
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The United States is one of the most advanced countries in political and economic issues, and its today one of the world powers that set the standard in many international affairs. But security and coexistence are not one of them.
The massacre led by Stephen Paddock - a 64-year-old retired and gambler with no record, as described by El Clarin - who opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas during the Sunday night, is the latest evidence that something is not right in American society.
58 people died and hundreds were injured by the ease of access to the possession of weapons that exists in the United States. And yes, this is a quite radical reductionism - because we would have to also evaluate the rates of violence, and the statistics that determine that the United States "has more people in prison, proportionally, than any other country in the world", as reported by CNN - but domestic arms control is again at the heart of the debate over why, over the last 17 years, the US has suffered at least one major massacre per year.
But according to Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, Sunday's attack on Las Vegas is the eighth so far this year, and the number 162 since 2009.
In her column for The Guardian, Watts says that, "90% of Americans support multiple commonsense gun safety policies"; however, "our laws reflect the extreme positions of well-financed gun industry lobbyists”.
The Second Amendment -which is part of the Bill of Rights and defends “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” - covers the radicalism of organizations such as the National Rifle Association, which has fed the arms industry turning it into one of the economic engines of the United States
It’s not hard to do the math: a government led by an businessman, backed by the Republican party and whose slogan is "America First", won’t make things easier for the regulation of the carrying of arms, not even after a massacre such as the one in Las Vegas.
The current political situation implies that the Republicans - who control the majority in Congress - will continue to support the rights to bear arms, as was planned ahead of Sunday.
For months, a debate was being held in the House over a package of regulations introduced by supporters of arms carrying a reduction of up to $ 200 in gun mufflers - a device that reduces the sound of gunfire - which would ease its acquisition in the market.
According to The Atlantic, "the mufflers' law was incorporated into a broader set of laws known as the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE), which reduces restrictions on hunting on public lands and prohibits the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Weapons cataloging certain ammunition as 'armor piercing'. " This package of laws is supposed to be voted, although it is not yet on the House's schedule.
The Democratic Party, as might be expected, has been radical in its criticism of the bearing of arms, but not only from organic antagonism but also from personal experience. Such is the case of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot during an event in 2011 and has since been a gun control activist.
Likewise, since Monday, Democrats like Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton have spoken out asserting that "the time is now" to transform legislation around the arms.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi also joined in criticism and sent a letter to spokesman Paul Ryan "urging him to create a special committee on gun violence and a vote in bipartisan legislation" on the subject.
These gestures have been considered "hypocritical" by far-right activists such as Paul Joseph Watson, editor of Infowars, who ruled that "odd that the same people who 'follow as if nothing' after each terrorist attack are suddenly the ones requesting new laws after Las Vegas ".
But comparing a terrorist attack with a home shooting - which the media fail to condemn as "terrorism at home" - is a blunder, considering that, as CNN rightly explains, "in any one year Americans are 2,000 times more likely to be killed by other armed Americans than by a Jihadi terrorist. "
The media reports that "since September 11, 2001, 95 Americans have been killed by jihadist terrorists," when more than 120 people were killed in the massacres of Las Vegas, Orlando and San Bernardino.