Yesterday, in a blaze of bigotry and hatred, 50 people were gunned down in a LGBT+ nightclub in Orlando. It was the deadliest US mass-shooting in history, but above the roar of grief a familiar sound can be heard in the background – the sound of thousands of Americans vowing that Obama will have to pry their guns from their cold dead hands.
They don’t want to talk about gun control. They will never admit that lack of proper gun control is a contributing factor to gun violence in America. They like to believe that criminals will get guns no matter what and that gun control means that the government is going to come to their door and take their beloved weapons away from them.
As a Canadian, I find it hard to understand gun culture. We have guns here and we have gun control, and no one has yet come to take my husband’s rifles from him. I don’t understand why there is a bigger uproar about bathroom access than there is about access to firearms. I don’t understand how nothing has changed since Sandy Hook. Or San Bernadino. But I do understand that after Orlando, the gun control talks will die down and the USA will again return to the status quo until the next mass shooting.
After the next mass shooting – because there will be another one – it will be more of the same. This senseless violence keeps happening and yet people actively fight against doing something tangible about it. Gun control in Canada means that you need a licence to own a gun. You also need a license to purchase a gun. You need to go through a background check. You need to properly store your firearms. But you still get to have a gun. Gun control does not mean no guns.
Will it stop mass shootings? Probably not. At this point there is no one thing that will be a magical solution to this increasingly common American tragedy. But it would be a step in the right direction. It would make it much harder for dangerous people to purchase weapons. It would require gun-owners to take more responsibility. It would undoubtedly save lives.
Now, if you ask the NRA and people who agree with them, they’ll tell you that the answer to gun violence is more guns, but I’ll ask you to think about this…
If you need to learn to drive a car and earn a license, why is it too much to ask that firearms be treated the same way?