Washington Navy Yard: Reigniting the gun control debate

In response to last week’s tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard which claimed the lives of 12 people including the suspected gunman, Aaron Alexis, gun control advocates such as Senator Diane Feinstein insist that “We must do more to stop this endless loss of life” says Feinstein in statement issued Monday after the shooting took place. While it is our natural instinct to feel the need to do something in the wake of tragedies such as the tragic shooting at Sandyhook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which took place last December, and claimed the lives of 26 victims, many of whom were children, and the most recent mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, we are reacting to an emotional response if we succumb to this instinct. We feel as if we are conceding to evil if we do nothing to prevent further loss of life.

While it natural to feel the need to do something in response to these tragedies, the reality is that we cannot completely stop these tragedies. Last week in a News Run, I promoted an excellent opinion piece by S.E. Cupp, New York Daily News columnist and co-host of CNN’s crossfire, written in response to the Navy Yard shooting, and addressing the issue of mental health, an important aspect of the gun debate, however not an aspect I will address here (that is a whole other article!). In her article, Cupp emphasizes my point in her own words: “it is impossible to completely prevent aberrant events like the Navy Yard shooting. Evil exists and evil can not be 100 percent eradicated.” It is a sad but true reality. There are evil, crazy people out there, and we can’t stop them completely.

In the wake of Newtown Connecticut, despite the pressure from gun-control advocates to pass legislation which they claimed would prevent future incidents such as Newtown,  “ a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks failed in the Senate by a narrow margin, while an assault weapons ban from Feinstein was also defeated” this spring according to Politico. It is likely that gun control advocates will use this incident to reignite the push for an assault weapons ban despite the fact that this legislation was defeated, in the wake of the tragic shooting which claimed the lives of innocent victims many of whom were children, when the gun-control advocates took full advantage of this tragedy by pulling emotional strings and politicizing the emotional reaction of the American people. The irony of this is that while assault weapons remain largely undefined, many place an AR-15 in this category.  It was initially reported by various media outlets such as Politico and the New York Daily News that Alexis used an AR-15, in his shooting rampage. This report was later confirmed to be false by the FBI and was reported as false by The Washington Times. Alexis did not use, own or have possession of an AR-15.  However, Alexis did possess a shotgun and two handguns, neither of which would have been covered under an assault weapons ban. So even if the assault weapons ban had passed this spring, it would not have prevented this tragedy.

This exploitation of such tragedies by using them for political purposes and playing on the emotional reaction to such tragedies for the purpose of pushing an agenda is shameful.  If gun control advocates such as Feinstein, use this incident to continue pushing for gun-control legislation, they are demonstrating the sad fact that they do not care about the desires of the American people they were elected to serve.


Katherine Zehnder

Katherine Zehnder

I'm junior majoring in English, with an emphasis in government and a minor in history. I'm also a contributor to the Blaze, & a Staff Editor for 2AO Nation, and a columnist for Turning Point USA.