The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Viewpoint: What does it take to get rid of AR-15’s?

Viewpoint: What does it take to get rid of AR-15’s? - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

A person pauses to pay respects as portraits of the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub are displayed at a makeshift memorial Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, near the scene in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

We live in a society that has normalized — and politicized — mass shootings and intolerance. Thoughts and prayers flood every social media channel but the repetitiveness is getting old. We cannot become immune to men, women and children being murdered because of the negligence of lawmakers in Congress to prioritize gun safety. 

Club Q, an LGBTQIA+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was the site of a hate crime as a gunman walked through the front door with an automatic rifle and killed five people while wounding 25 others on Nov. 19.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, has been identified as the shooter and was subdued by several people shortly after the shooting occurred. 

Derrick Rump, Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Raymond Green Vance and Ashley Green Paugh were identified as the victims of the shooting. They did not deserve to have their lives cut short as they were in enjoying their Saturday night. 

This tragedy came on the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

There doesn’t need to be confirmation of what his motives were as this is a hate crime and should be considered an act of terrorism. 

In this day and age, we as a society find ourselves politicizing the LGBTQIA+ community, which has caused people on the left and right to pick a side. 

Sadly, many conservatives believe that Christianity is the only way we must live our lives and those same people are spewing a homophobic agenda that is dangerous. 

There is nothing wrong with being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual or however else you identify. You shouldn’t be targeted and possibly killed for trying to be comfortable with who you are and what you believe in.

I will never know the hardships that those in the LGBTQIA+ community deal with on a daily basis. Marginalized communities shouldn’t have to constantly look over their shoulders in fear of being killed because of their sexual preference. 

It angers me that we as a society can be stuck in this outdated and blatantly ignorant mindset. We still live with a marginalized community being attacked during a time when it should be more acceptable to be who you are while being with whomever you want. 

The bottom line is that people will believe what they want as they can decide what is right or wrong, but what needs to change is forcibly putting personal opinions on others when no one asked. 

On top of dealing with ignorance about the LGBTQIA+ community, the common denominator in all mass shootings are the guns being used. 

The same type of AR-15 killed children in Uvalde and Newtown, high schoolers in Parkland, Walmart shoppers in El Paso, movie watchers in Aurora, shoppers in a supermarket in Buffalo and LGBTQIA+ men and women in Orlando.

What more needs to happen? Are we at a point in society where this is normal? 

Politicians can work together to fix this epidemic of mass shootings. Banning automatic assault rifles should be first on the list. Again, AR-15s are weapons of mass destruction that are used by the military while at war, and this specific weapon is meant to cause life-changing damage to any human being. 

Some politicians say that easy accessibility to guns can prevent mass shootings. 

Well, that has not been the case as mass shootings continue to happen at a rate that other countries cannot match. 

What other arguments are there for the “protection” of everyone’s second amendment right? 

Yes, everyone has a right to bear arms. The point that second amendment lovers ignore is that the majority of people want gun safety, not taking away all guns. 

As a society, the chase for change should still ignite conversations around gun safety but that isn’t something new. Will politicians have the backbone to create new legislation to protect the citizens they are serving? Or will they sit and do nothing as more people die at the hands of an AR-15?

About the Author

Raul Trey Lopez
Raul Trey Lopez is a communication senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. He is a first-generation college student. In his spare time, he likes listening to music. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in journalism while also maintaining his family flooring business.

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