Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Florida high school in Parkland has reignated the fierce gun control debate in the US, with some lawmakers calling the country’s gun violence epidemic an “embarrassment”.
While some say firearms should be banned altogether, others believe that there are no dangerous guns, only dangerous people.
“The question is, ‘How is this gun right here any more dangerous than this gun over here?’ They’re both dangerous in the wrong hands,” said gun store employee Mark Warner, pointing to two superficially identical assault-rifle style weapons. These firearms, designed to fire multiple rounds in succession, are the ones at the centre of the debate.
“I think it’s appalling. If I was a Republican member, I’d be embarrassed that my leadership wouldn’t address this issue. 30 people everyday are killed by someone using a gun, and the best we can do is say we need more information,” said Representative Mike Thompson, (D), California, who chairs the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, however, believes that unity is more important than political point scoring. “This is one of those moments where we just need to step back and count our blessings.
We need to think less about taking sides and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together. This House and the whole country stands with the Parkland community,” he said.