Obama smiled as he spoke about the Umpqua Community College mass-shooting that claimed nine victims.
It was an angry smile, one of disbelief about what had happened and an acknowledgement of what would come.
“Somehow, this has become routine…We’ve become numb to this,” Obama said, “and what’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common sense gun legislation.”
Obama’s entire address was emotionally charged as he named famous mass shootings that have taken place over the last decade, in schools or otherwise. Despite this, many argue that Obama is using the issue to push an agenda and that gun control isn’t a viable solution.
Republican Candidate Ben Carson, who’s been receiving a lot of publicity recently for his gun control comments, is “extremely pro-2nd Amendment,” as his Facebook page puts it.
Though Carson is against the ownership of semi-automatic weapons in urban areas, his stance on gun control is radical opposition. After the Umpqua shooting, Carson told radio host Hugh Hewitt he was against gun regulation, as it leads to guns being taken away.
On Fox, Carson stated, “I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, ‘hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me but he can’t get us all.”
Statements like these are easy to make from the outside looking in. Standing in a room with a loaded gun aimed at you is a different circumstance. When asked for his response to the solid argument that he was being insensitive to victims and that nobody knows what they’d do in a situation like that, Carson ignored the question.
Let’s look at the evidence against Ben Carson, as he doesn’t represent the entire Republican party but does represent almost every gun control-opposed argument available, in the statements mentioned or otherwise.
Carson claims that barring insane people from purchasing guns should come second to people’s rights to bear arms.
If these arms are to be used in defense, it should be mentioned that it’s been statistically proven that states with tighter gun laws have fewer gun deaths and violence.
Carson argues we should try to spot the mentally ill before they procure a weapon. At the state level, the amount of mentally ill and even neurotic personalities does not correlate with gun violence.
Ben Carson references the Constitution most in his argument that citizens should be prepared and armed in case America were to become a tyranny. But mass shootings have become so common it’s hard to keep up with them, let alone lesser gun homicides. The same day Obama visited grieving Oregon families, two other separate shootings left two dead and three wounded in Arizona and Texas.
Obama points to Great Britain, Australia and other countries that were able to significantly decrease gun violence through regulation. In 2011, the U.K., with much stronger background checks and prohibitions, had 0.06 gun homicides for every 100,000 people. This is opposed to 3 gun homicides for every 100,000 people in the United States that same year.
Canada, which avoids the ‘gunshow loophole’ through the use of background checks even in private sales, had just .05 for every 100,000. Japan has some of the strictest gun laws globally, and they had 2 gun homicides in 2006, 22 in 2007, and 11 in 2008. The fable that bad guys would keep their guns while good guys had to turn theirs in doesn’t hold.
Evidence shows that over three quarters of weapons used in mass murder were bought legally. James Holmes, who killed 12 and injured others in the Aurora theatre, legally purchased his guns. The 13 guns used in the Oregon shooting were all legally purchased as well, leaving nine dead.
These stories inspire the greatest grief in us, so why aren’t we changing anything?
“This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America,” Obama said, “We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”
Those who staunchly oppose gun control need to assess the consequences of their stubbornness before more lives are taken.