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Opinion: Gun laws in US allow mass shootings like Las Vegas to occur

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Mikaela Hall

Mikaela Hall is a staff columnist for The Daily.

Growing up in Las Vegas, my mom worked graveyard shifts on the strip, and she would frequently mention that she was scared to go to work. “There will be a terrorist attack on the strip one day. I just know it,” she always warned. It frightened me knowing after increasing domestic terrorist attacks, every night she left might be the last time I saw her. On Oct. 1, an attack on my hometown happened. After hearing about the shooting, I can’t say I was surprised. Gun laws in the U.S. are so open, making weapons of mass destruction accessible to almost anyone.

After a tragedy like this, people often bash those that call for stricter gun laws, calling it insensitive to “turn the situation political.” I hate to break it to you, but mass shootings and gun laws always have been and always will be political. After all, the policies of the country allow the weapon to get into the wrong hands — the hands that can so cruelly kill so many innocent people.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas has been named the worst mass shooting in modern American history, but this has changed four times in my lifetime of only 19 years. People showed their greater concern for guns than lives after the Sandy Hook massacre. If someone didn’t want to change the laws then, after tiny innocent children who will never live to see prom or a family of their own died, then they showed what they really care about.

This shouldn’t have happened. Yes, we all have the right to bear arms, but the caliber of our weaponry is exponentially greater than it was when the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution in 1791. As a civilian, there is absolutely no need for anyone to have a semi-automatic weapon. In an article from the Huffington post, there is a video of people altering their semi-automatic weapons to “mimic automatic firing – without breaking any laws.” Keep your other guns for hunting, keep them for self-defense, but no one needs a weapon that can make the worst mass shooting in American history possible. Weapons themselves don’t kill people. A gun cannot pick itself up and pull its own trigger, but civilians don’t need a trigger that can rapid-fire over thousands of people.

Walking around campus on Monday morning was heartbreaking. I was bawling as I checked in on family and friends, and no one understood why I had mascara running down my cheeks, because I am so far from home. It’s different when it happens to you and people you know. Nevada's gun laws include the following: “Nevada does not ban 'assault weapons' and there is no magazine capacity limit. There are no purchase permits, gun registration, or gun-owner licensing. Blue cards are no longer required. There is no waiting period mandated for firearm purchases and private gun sales are okay. Local gun laws are prohibited. You do not have to 'register' a gun to someone else.”

We are letting this happen. Many other states have laws similar to Nevada, and all these laws make it possible for another mass shooting to occur — just wait on it.  


The Daily welcomes letters to the editor and guest columns from the OU community. To submit a letter or column, email dailyopinion@ou.edu.

This article was corrected at 10:20 a.m. to reflect the correct date of the shooting in Las Vegas.

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