Waters: When will the U.S. act on gun control?

How many more people have to die to prompt politicians to act?

It’s a question that gets asked after every mass shooting in the U.S.—how many more people have to die before lawmakers there get serious about addressing the issue of gun control in their country?

While the United States is not the only country where mass shootings have occurred, the frequency with which they do occur there is frightening. Less than two full months into 2018, there have already been eight mass shootings.

The latest, at a high school in Parkland, Florida last week, claimed the lives of 17 people, many of whom were high school students.

But the public outrage one would expect from politicians, eager to tap into the well-documented support for at least some level of gun control by American voters, has not been evident. The vice-like grip of the National Rifle Association is strong.

And so is the the belief by millions of Americans that it’s their right to bear arms, and any move by lawmakers to curtail that is a direct threat to their independence.

But, in the words of one eloquent and passionate student from that Florida high school who spoke out on the weekend: “We call B.S.”

While keeping all guns out of the hands of crazies may be a pipe dream, the ease with which a person in many parts of the United States can get a gun is frightening. And it doesn’t help when the men and women who can do something about that are in the hip pocket of the gun industry, which provides millions of dollars of support to their political campaigns.

Other countries have figured out ways to address gun violence, why can’t the U.S.? It’s simple—there is no political will.

While some presidents in the past have tried, typically their successors—especially if they are of another party—have repealed any moves made. The vicious political circle continues and in the meantime people continue to die.

In the past, non-gun related events that have resulted in far less loss of life have led in drastic changes taken to protect people. But when it comes to guns, that has not been the case. And with guns, it doesn’t matter if it’s adults or children who are the victims.

Unfortunately Canadians cannot look south and say “not in our country.” We have had incidents and death as a result of mass shootings too. But nothing on the scale of what happens in the U.S. There, shootings have become common occurrences.

That alone should be impetus to act.

But once the horror of the Parkland, Florida shootings fades—just as it did with previous mass shooting from Columbine to Sandy Hook, from Virginia Tech to Las Vegas—the U.S. will recede back into its self-denial that the country has a problem with guns.

If children dying while at school is not enough to change minds of the people in power, what will?

Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.

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