"The New Normal"
When we have L.A sheriffs talk about mass shootings as "the new normal," we may have become complacent when it comes to gun control. Tragedies like Sandy Hook and Parkland were meant to be the spark to ignite change, to make sure that no man, woman, child would lose their lives to crazy people with guns. Considering at the time of writing this there's already been three people shot in Maryland, I guess not.
Even after Parkland, we still have a high amount of violent gun crimes. According to the Gun Violence Archive, so far in 2018, there have been over 40,000 incidents involving a gun and from them, there have been about 10,000 deaths and over 20,000 injuries. And then there's the amount of children and teen casualties, with close to 500 injured or dead children and about 2,000 teens dead or injured. The fact that these numbers aren't zero–or at the very least single-digit–really shows the effects of our country's unwillingness to adjust or create new laws to protect them.
To be fair, not everyone in the country has been sitting idly after Parkland. Students involved in the shooting like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez have created the activist group, Never Again MSD, to spread awareness about gun violence and promote stronger gun control. Even states like Washington have devised laws like Initiative-639, which would increase the difficulty of purchasing guns by raising the age limit, preventing people with criminal records from purchasing them, additional fees, making owners provide suitable safe storage, and even making gun owners responsible if others use their weapons in crimes. Most of I-639 sounds reasonable but there are problems with it.
There are criticisms to the I-639 that should be brought up at the very least. For one, your personal information would have to be submitted during purchase which means you would be on what is essentially a watch list. The idea of gun owners being responsible for others using their guns for criminal activities is kind of unfair: if their guns are stolen and used in crimes, they have to deal with the consequences of a situation they had no part in. It's like if someone was caught using your credit card, yet you still have to pay for what they bought.
However, if you are a responsible gun owner then none of the criticisms should be a problem. The idea of being on a watch list does concern me, but the part regarding being responsible for your gun even when someone else is using it should be easy to work with. Remember, I-639 also requires you to have secure storage meaning your guns should be locked up tighter than Fort Knox and difficult to obtain.
We wouldn't even be having this conversation if Americans were trustworthy. But we're not. The last few years–no, the last few months–have shown that more of us having easier access to guns has made the issue of gun violence worse. At this point what's more important? The right to own a gun or the right to live?