It's disgusting that we live in a country where a tech giant proposes more gun control than our government, especially with 253 mass shootings in 2019 alone, but we do. Following the 2015 terror attack on San Bernardino, Apple responded to a petition by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence to remove the gun emoji by replacing it altogether. Unfortunately, this was the extent of our country's action to limit guns.
More than 3 years, 1,332 mass shootings and 1,545 deaths after the San Bernardino attack, not much more than Apple's political stance has occurred to reduce the amount of guns and illegitimate ownership in the U.S, according to Vox.
Since the start of Donald Trump's presidency in 2016, he has made few attempts to increase gun control. In 2017, he actually repealed legislation from the Obama era that made it difficult for those with documented mental illness to obtain a gun. In 2018, however, he did enforce Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also known as "red flag laws," nationwide, which allow law enforcement to remove guns from individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others.
This minimal gun control isn't solely Trump's fault. It also lies with the Republican-majority Senate and its leader, Senator Mitch McConnell. In 2016, Senator Charles Schumer introduced the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2016 (S. 2934), which aimed to prohibit those unable to purchase a gun due to mental illness at a private dealer, such as at a gun show. Of course, the Republican party, and namely Senator McConnell, did not allow the legislation to reach a vote.
Clearly, these minimal acts and failed attempts of legislation by our government are not enough, evidenced by the fact that there have been more mass shootings than days this year in the U.S. Many others agree. After this weekend's attacks on Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, cries for gun reform have once again dominated social media.
Following the shootings, President Trump took his stance with a tweet advocating for stricter background checks. Since the whole purpose of gun control is to prohibit those unfit to own a gun from obtaining one, and thus try to eradicate mass shootings, these would be useful. While over 26 million federal background checks blocked about 100,000 sales last year according to the FBI, there was also a major gap.
On online sites like Armslist where buyers and sellers arrange to meet, there were at least 1.2 million ads for gun sales without mandatory background checks last year, according to The New York Times. So, while our current measures are somewhat effective, we need something that encompasses all scenarios. These are peoples' lives, and this legislation can save them.
In addition to stringent background checks, there needs to be a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines (HCMs). There is simply no reason for civilians, even those with extensive training, to own military-grade rifles, or in the case of HCMs, weapons capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
This ban would further the impact of more comprehensive background checks, because even if those unfit to own a gun bypassed the background checks, they would still not be able to obtain HCMs. Out of the 60 mass shootings from 2009 to 2017 where there was magazine capacity data, approximately 58 percent used HCMs, according to Everytown Research. By eliminating these deadly magazines and assault weapons, it can diminish the amount of rounds a shooter can fire before having to reload, thus reducing fatalities.
I know I'm not the first person to write about gun control and beg for more legislation. I'm just another person tired of unnecessary fatalities, entirely at the fault of our country. Another gun control article on your timeline doesn't mean this is a topic that's over-reported. It means that there is a problem big enough to cause many people distress. If you want to stop seeing these articles because they're "annoying" or "overdone," do something. Contact your local Congress representatives. Petition Apple to remove the gun emoji. Write an Odyssey article. Do something in your means, because this needs to be stopped.