Opinion: I’m tired of the same sorry arguments against gun control

The Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas took the lives of 19 children and two teachers. It’s a catastrophic and devastating tragedy that should prompt legislative outcry. But in the United States, home of over 200 mass shootings already this year, it’s become a numb and predictable routine.

Nothing changes after these mass killings — we’ve learned that. We learned it after Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Parkland. As horrible as this latest catastrophe was, I’m past expecting federal gun reform from legislators in D.C.

What frustrates me even more than the perpetual inaction from our national leaders is the pathetic rhetoric that comes from Second Amendment defenders after these atrocities. They’ll tell you, “It’s not a gun problem, it’s a mental health problem.”

They’re wrong; they’ve always been wrong. Mass shootings are a gun problem, and I’m sick of people trying to convince me otherwise.

There’s nothing uniquely American about experiencing mental illness. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates that 16.93 percent of Americans have a mental health disorder. That’s very high, and absolutely a problem. But in Spain, that number is 18.32 percent; in Australia, 19.35 percent.

What is uniquely American are mass shootings — there were 693 in 2021. Spain’s last one was in 1990. Australia has had one mass shooting since 1996. Spain and Australia happen to have far stricter gun laws. Their rate of mental illness is higher, but mass shootings aren’t a part of these countries’ daily lives. The “bad guys” don’t find ways to get a gun anyways.

It is a gun problem.

I feel for any Brits that try to tell us this. Any time one tries on social media, they’re met with a slew of responses saying, “Yeah, people just stab each other over there,” referencing London’s rates of knife crime.

It’s another tired, substanceless argument based solely on stereotypes. American cities trump London in homicide rates, and it’s not close. In 2017, London had 1.7 homicides per 100,000 people. Houston’s was 11.5, and Chicago’s was 24.1, the highest in the U.S.

Bringing up London’s stabbings to defend gun ownership is stupid, statistically.

But these same people love to bring up Chicago as proof that gun regulation is ineffective. After all, it boasts such a high murder rate, despite Illinois having some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

If anything, this is just proof that we need federal regulation. About 10,000 illegal firearms are recovered by the Chicago Police Department every year. Sixty percent of them are traced back to other states, including Indiana, Mississippi and Wisconsin, whose gun laws are all laxer than Illinois’.

Time and time again, these same arguments are made after these tragedies. They’re exhausting, insensitive and just incorrect. Still, gun rights defenders will act like there’s no way to prevent mass shootings. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult; the rest of the world is proof of that.