Gun control shot down
Although both the Democrats and the Republicans suggested different gun control measures, neither party could come to any agreement. The Republican Party’s position on the subject has been unreasonable from the very start. Lawmakers from the party contend that the Orlando massacre was down to “Islamic extremism”.
In raising the bogey of radical Islam, politicians like Donald Trump have found a way to avoid facing difficult questions of rising gun violence in America. No other developed country in the world is anywhere near the same level of gun violence. The US roughly owns 42 percent of all the world's privately held firearms, despite making up just 4.4 percent of the global population. Ceding space to the Republican argument, the Democrats argued that one of the ways to keep terrorism in check was to prevent terrorists from getting easy access to weapons.
Despite his run-ins with the FBI, Omar Saddiqui Mateen legally purchased two of the weapons used in the attack. “While it is true that guns don’t kill people, as the slogan has it, people with guns do kill people, and they do so much more quickly and effectively than people without guns can manage,” said a recent editorial in The Guardian. “Some (mass shootings) occurred in states, such as Florida, where it is legal for almost anyone who applies for a licence to walk around with concealed, lethal weapons – something which does not in practice save anyone’s life if bullets start flying, but which is felt as a reassurance until they do.”
The Republicans had proposed laws that would prosecute perpetrators more strictly but keep background checks optional. Meanwhile, the Democrats had suggested making background checks compulsory for people buying guns and denying access to those on the terror watch list. However, the Republicans argued that any measure to control gun ownership was an infringement of the country’s constitutional right to bear arms.
US President Barack Obama has spoken against this rationale. “This massacre is a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub,” Obama said after the Orlando shooting. “And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be.
And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.” More people die in America from gun-related violence than terrorism every year. But the Republican-controlled Senate does not see the good sense of introducing stricter gun controls.