The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Recent events prove that gun laws aren’t strong enough

It’s been nearly 12 years since the Columbine shooting. Fifteen people (including the shooters) were killed, and 24 were injured. For months after the Columbine tragedy, the entire country was in mourning and fearful of kids bringing guns into schools. Talk of what could be done to prevent another tragedy went on for a while and then stopped.

In 2007, we saw the Virginia Tech massacre, in which 33 people were killed and another 25 injured, unfold on our televisions. And again, for a little while, the country was in a panic about guns and students and what should be done about it all. But then the worrying stopped again.

Now, six people are dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is still recovering from a bullet that literally tore through her brain, as well as 14 other injuries. This happened weeks ago, so naturally, Americans are almost over it. News coverage is starting to dwindle, and so are Americans’ interests.

Yet something is wrong with these situations that have barely been touched on.

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In the State of the Union address, President Obama didn’t speak about gun control, which is surprising, because if ever there were a time to, it would have been then.

How did the alleged Tucson shooter, Jared L. Loughner, get a gun in the first place? He had been leaving threats on the Internet and had been kicked out of a Walmart for strange behavior while attempting to buy ammunition.

A CBS News Poll, conducted after the Tucson shooting, showed that 46 percent of Americans think gun laws should be more strict, 38 percent think they should be kept as they are, and 13 percent think they should be less strict.

The gun laws in place — the most basic sort of thing, background checks — aren’t being enforced everywhere.

People reject this idea saying that it’s one of our constitutional rights to bear arms; that every American has the right to defend themselves.

But at what point does an American give up his or her political rights? People in prison can’t have guns, but what about violent people who are not in prison? Do they have any more right to carry weapons just because they haven’t been caught?

According to a recent New York Times article, New York City investigators went to the Jan. 23 Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Phoenix, Ariz., and several of these investigators were able to purchase guns without background checks. In fact, several of the investigators told sellers that they probably wouldn’t pass a background check, yet they were still able to purchase the weapons.
How does this happen? Private sellers aren’t legally required to run federal background checks. If a convicted killer fresh out of prison tried to buy a gun from a private seller, they would be able to.

Not only are gun laws flimsy, but they used to be better.

According to National Public Radio, the weapon that Loughner allegedly used had been illegal seven years ago under an assault weapons ban that Congress didn’t renew in 2004.

There is something wrong with the current rules in place. Mass shootings haven’t changed Americans’ opinions of guns, so what will?

Maybe this is one of those situations where our government needs to step up and make sure that gun laws are being enforced.

Gun laws don’t need to be extreme, but they need to be stronger than they are.

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