OPINION: Simply hoping for better gun control won’t keep you safe


Vu Chau - The State Hornet

Liam Braddy

(Go to StateHornet.com/Guns for more related stories)

The issue of gun control in the United States remains a subject of heated debate among politicians and citizens alike, as mass shootings have become increasingly frequent over the past ten years.

The tragic shooting in Las Vegas earlier this month that left 59 people dead and over 500 injured has once again raised arguments for and against tighter gun control across the country.

Related: Shooting on campuses are on the rise — Is Sacramento State prepared?

The extreme polarization over this issue is apparent, and if the past decade has taught us anything, it is that no real consensus over gun control is likely to be reached, as long as those on both sides of the argument remain so far apart, regardless of how gruesome the circumstances.

For many, the right to bear arms is not just an amendment to our constitution but an integral part of American culture that must be preserved and protected like free speech or rights to life, liberty, and property.

However, as mass shootings in the U.S. continue to become a more frequent and devastating reality with no real solution in sight, the question remains: How do we put an end to this horrifying trend?

The truth is, there are no quick, easy solutions. Our debates on mental illness and vying for tighter gun control offer a chance to explore new solutions, but don’t offer the safety and protection we need right now.

The public spaces and events we occupy are no longer places where we can afford to be unaware or unprepared. Whether it is a movie theatre, a crowded concert or a college campus, all of us, as individuals, must be mindful of our surroundings and take precautions to ensure our own safety, as well as the safety of those around us, even without the use of firearms.

Related: #SacStateSays: How do you feel about guns?

Such precautions include simply knowing the locations of emergency exits when attending public events where you and others are vulnerable to such attacks. Have a plan in place and know how to get yourself to safety.

Also, when attending public events, especially concerts or raves, it is important to monitor your own alcohol or substance consumption. Serious impairment will reduce your ability to think clearly and make the quick decisions necessary to protect yourself in a crisis situation.

Lastly, remember that technology can save you in these terrifying situations. Make sure your devices are charged so friends and family can communicate with you and track your location while attending such events. Take advantage of functions on your smart device such as “shared location,” which is available on iPhones. Also, use apps such as SafeTrek-Personal Safety, which quickly alerts local emergency responders at the press of a button. These tools are available at our fingertips and should be used.

As the battle over gun control in this country continues, and mass shootings solidify themselves as a constant part of American life, it is crucial that we as citizens take charge of our own personal safety. We must prepare ourselves and those we care about for the worse-case scenario.

Too many innocent lives have been lost, and we can no longer afford to bicker and argue over how the government should or shouldn’t  handle gun control. It is up to us, the people, to find ways in which we can ensure our own safety and hopefully put an end to this new American tradition together.