Post-LAX, Care Isn’t Going to Cut It

Michelle S. Lee ’16
Assistant Opinions Editor

This past weekend, the Los Angeles International Airport underwent the sort of tragedy that rarely ever hits the West Coast – a public shooting. The suspect, Paul Ciancia, 23, killed one TSA worker and wounded several others with an assault rifle in an attempt to shoot his way through airport security. Though the suspect is now in custody and is in the process of being investigated, it seems so far that he has no recorded history of mental health issues and held a deep-seated anger for government officials in the airport.

The Second Amendment has been a long-debated issue in modern-day America, where armed violence is no stranger to the population. Interestingly enough, nothing in the Second Amendment mentions self-defense as necessary for the right to bear arms. The full amendment actually reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Modern interpretation has mostly ignored the military aspect

But I’m not going to debate on the constitutionality of the right to bear arms; at this point it’s become essentially irreversible. The increasing rate of public shootings seems to have gradually numbed the average American citizen in its impact, but this desensitization itself is a sign that we need stricter laws. If we don’t hear a strongheaded legislative response to these matters, then we risk media exposure to current events prompting similar crimes from onlookers who still have access to arms.

At this rate, the only potential way to reduce the circulation of arms is to increase gun control. Though recent polls taken by the Huffington Post indicate that a majority of the population believes access to better mental health care is a far more effective measure of reducing violence involving guns – which I don’t dispute is one facet of the ideal response – it shouldn’t stand alone.

As we’ve seen in the most recent shooting, voluntary mental health evaluations won’t filter out risk for arms-related violence in many circumstances. Though mental health in America is regarded with much less taboo than many other countries in the world and is openly discussed by the general American population, simply access to support doesn’t necessarily mean it will be used. And that is where the necessity for stricter gun control laws comes in.

That’s not to say President Barack Obama isn’t or hasn’t been promoting stricter control on arms and increased background checks to prevent roundabout access to them. In the wake of so many tragedies, however, his attempts continue to be rejected by Congress.

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