It has happened again — another mass shooting.
The country goes through the same motions: we grieve, we hear talks of thoughts and prayers and then we’re told it’s too early to be talking about gun control.
For those who have lost their lives, it’s already too late.
In Las Vegas last week, Stephen Paddock, a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle modified to shoot full auto, fired on a crowd of over 22,000 people, killing at least 59 and wounding 489.
That makes this the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Something has to change.
If we look at other countries, it is clear that this is a predominantly American problem.
In Australia there are 1.4 homicides by firearm per one million people. That is significantly fewer than in the U.S. with 29.7 homicides by firearm per one million people.
The next highest country on the list is Switzerland with only 7.7.
One factor that sets us apart from other nations is the number of guns we have.
The U.S. makes up 4.4 percent of the world’s population but possesses 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns.
This means we have more guns than citizens.
Another problem is the lack of gun laws in the US compared to other countries.
Many other countries require citizens to have a license and pass safety training to purchase or own a gun.
The purchase is then recorded into a registry — something that is outright banned here in America via the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986.
In Australia — which ranked lowest on the list — 35 people were killed and 23 injured in a mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996 by a man with two automatic rifles.
After this tragedy, the country banned assault weapons and implemented a government buyback program through which the government collected over 650,000 firearms from citizens.
Since enacting these stricter gun control policies, there have been no reported mass shootings in Australia,
and overall, murders and suicides have plummeted.
Another country to look at is Japan, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.
In Japan, the only firearms citizens can legally own are shotguns and air rifles.
To purchase a firearm in Japan you must attend an all-day class on gun safety, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95 percent.
You must pass mental health and drug tests, and an extensive background check.
Police must be notified where you store the gun and ammunition, which must be stored separately under lock and key.
After three years, your license runs out and you must take the course and test again.
In Japan, there is less than one gun-related death per 100,000 people a year on average.
Every other developed nation has been able to prevent these attacks by enacting some level of gun control.
Now it’s our turn to follow suit so that the Las Vegas massacre will be the “worst mass shooting in U.S. history” and the last.