Not even a full week into the new year and the nation is stuck by another tragedy due to gun violence. Friday afternoon, Estaban Santiago began firing his weapons at the baggage claim at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; killing five and injuring eight. Santiago had originally declared his firearms and had them transported through the baggage claim on his flight from Alaska to Florida. Witnesses say that Santiago brought his carrying case with him into a bathroom and exited firing into the crowd. The FBI is currently looking into his motive.
Gun Control was a large topic during the presidential election. While gun control supporters fought for laws denying the purchase of guns to members of the terrorist watch list and banning the sales of automatic assault weapons, many people were opposed to these laws as they feared that it would put restrictions on the Second Amendment. In fact, gun sales reached record highs in 2016 alone than in any other year.
So while the number of gun sales on the market progressively climb and politicians clash over seemingly common sense issues, innocent people are continuing to be killed by guns every day. And although critics claim that it isn't the guns that are killing people, rather than the person who fires it; it does not disregard the fact that guns are still an issue in this country.
When compared to the rest of the developed nations, the United States has extremely loose laws concerning gun purchases. In America, it is much easier for an adult to obtain a gun than it is for them to receive financial aid for a college education. So when tragedies like Fort Lauderdale and Sandy Hook occur, the entire nation mourns over the innocent lives that have been taken from us; then in the following day rally with the NRA not to let the government take our guns away. That is because no one really understands the consequences of gun violence until it directly happens to them.
While news stories of senseless acts of violence do get some attention to their audience, they are quickly forgotten about and are replaced with a dumb pop culture bit. It is much easier to ignore a problem when it does not affect your daily life. But the fact is this, gun control affects all of us; including those who own guns and those who do not. So why are we allowing the gun violence continue to destroy lives and refuse to believe that it will never happen to any of us? The victims of Fort Lauderdale did not plan on being attacked while grabbing their luggage after a long flight to their vacations. The parents of the Sandy Hook victims did not intend on having their children be murdered at school right before their holiday break. So stop thinking that you're above the dangers of guns and let's end the debate over protecting our people.