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Gonnella questions, answers himself on gun control

Gonnella questions, answers himself on gun control

Mass shootings create even more need for this uncomfortable discussion

Elliot Gonnella

Antelope Staff

The Las Vegas shooting has become the most deadly mass shooting in modern American history. As of writing this, 59 are killed and 527 are injured to various degrees. It is unknown if the assailant had help or he was acting on his own. It is also unknown why someone without any priors would commit such an act.

With the immediate aftermath came the usual statements from friends and celebrities alike. From the hollow “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families” to the usual fundamentalist fear-mongering of this being God’s judgement on America for having gay marriage/not allowing God in schools/criticizing Trump.

These criticisms range from the Alex Jones’ of the world saying this is a false flag operation to the one that really gets at me more than anything: “Now is not the time to talk about guns. Let us be respectful for the families of the victims.”

If not now, then when is a good time to talk about guns?

Their answer is simple. Never.

If talking about guns makes you feel uncomfortable, I can name something that is even more uncomfortable. What makes me uncomfortable is the fact that I am not surprised when there are mass shootings of this scale. I remember feeling sick when the Sandy Hook shootings happened just a few years ago, when children, whose innocence we supposedly value more than anything, were killed like diseased livestock.

Nothing happened after the fact. It was not the time to talk about guns.

Earlier this summer a madman opened fire on a congressional softball practice. Several were wounded, almost fatally in some cases.

Nothing happened after the fact. It was not the time to talk about guns.

Columbine, Virginia Tec, Aurora, Flagstaff and dozens of others came and went. There was shock, horror and the usual claims that this was not the time to talk about guns. How dare we politicize a tragedy?

This isn’t a political issue. Like it or not, something has to be done and the dialogue has to be open. Look at all of the other developed, high-earning countries in the world. Why are we the one with the abnormal amounts of deaths involving firearms?

This is a problem that needs to be addressed. Our gun culture and the associated laws that go with it need to be examined. This isn’t partisan; it is common sense that something is wrong and our previous solutions have not been working.

Let’s open the dialogue. I’ll start and provide some ideas to counter common arguments.

But the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun!

Tell me, if everyone has a gun how do you know who is the bad or good guy? Race, religion, type of clothing, party allegiance? You can’t judge someone on the exterior if they are a bad person or a good person until the bullets start flying. By the time it is over, people are dead or wounded.

Nevada is a state with very lax gun laws where carrying a weapon (open or concealed) is commonplace in most situations. All of those guns didn’t stop the shooting. Law enforcement officials were well on their way to stopping the violence if the perpetrator had not commited suicide. All those other mass shootings did not end with some random citizen pulling out a gun to stop the crime either.

Gun control doesn’t work! Criminals don’t follow laws and the Second amendment says ‘The right to bear arms shall not be infringed!”

First off, the whole Second Amendment to the US Constitution reads “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. Keep in mind the term well-regulated.

Gun control does work. Australia, a country that started as a former penal colony and has some of the most lethal fauna on the planet, implemented several bills limiting fully automatic weapons. They practically eliminated mass shootings and significantly reduced gun violence in general.

Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom, countries that are very free and value personal liberty, have implemented similar policies. It has been a long time since I heard about mass shootings from those countries.

Even in the United States, bills like Firearm Owner’s Protection Act of 1986 work. It is illegal to sell/acquire a fully automatic weapon unless you are registered with the government and fingerprinted. If criminals could get any gun they wanted, why is it that we don’t hear about fully automatic weapons being used in crimes more often?

Before someone brings out the argument that if guns are outlawed then only outlaws will have guns, show me where there is an example, a modern example, of this theory playing out.

Sit down and think. What real, logical purpose does any citizen need to have fully automatic weapons, magazines exceeding ten rounds, armor piercing bullets, and military grade attachments? It is clearly not to protect themselves, hunt or enjoy a friendly bout of competitive marksmanship. I would be willing to wager a healthy amount of money that the reason most people have these is because they are afraid of the boogeyman of the week the NRA warns them against.

Fear sells, it is Marketing 101.

Just to be clear, I am not anti-gun or anti-freedom. I enjoy shooting targets every once in a while, I might own a firearm in the future for hunting or target practice and I know many responsible gun owners who use their tools in a correct manner. However, the right to have guns is a freedom that is not unrestricted. Much like the freedom to assemble, the freedom of speech and freedom of the press, there are limits to that freedom.

I really wanted to avoid talking about guns at all during my tenure here at the Antelope. But like my previous hold-up with talking about religion, it is a subject that needs to be talked about. I shouldn’t be told that the only way to avoid being shot is to become a smaller target and accept shootings on this scale as normal. I do not want my children to grow up in a world where someone can open fire in a school and nothing will be done to prevent another one.

Is this going to be fixed overnight with miraculous results the next morning? No, it is going to be a long process of compromises on both sides and it will be painful at times. I just want us as citizens have this conversation, regardless of opinions.

Violence is not going to fix itself. We cannot close our eyes, click our heels together and wait for the gun fairy/God/Cthulhu to stop the violence. No more useless sentiments, no more hiding behind the dead. This is the time to talk about guns. Not tomorrow, not next week, not a month in the future.


Charity Outlook of the week


The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is a charity set up by the United Nations to provide emergency care and supplies to children around the world. Originally designed to help the war stricken nations after the Second World War, they currently assist in a variety of methods to promote the survival of children around the world and provide the education to give them the hope of a better future. 89.6% of funds go towards their programs.

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