The recent massacre in Las Vegas is incomprehensible from a French point of view. How is it possible for a citizen to amass such an arsenal of weaponry? It’s high time that the U.S. Congress acts.
There is a direct link between the number of firearms in circulation in a country and the number of people killed by these weapons, whether deliberately or accidentally. This has been both proven and documented. The argument championing the second amendment of the American Constitution is hardly convincing, as many states allow the possession of firearms while strictly regulating the conditions for acquiring, carrying, and using them. But even within these regulated conditions, legislation differs from one state to another. For example, New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota require a permit to purchase a firearm, whereas Nevada does not.
In France, only soldiers, police and customs officers, security staff (cash escorts, transport police, etc.) and certain members of the public “exposed to serious risk […] in their professional activity” such as storekeepers and judges are allowed to carry a firearm. The local prefecture evaluates each application, and only grants a firearm permit after a thorough investigation. Members of the public who apply for a firearm for the purposes of hunting or target shooting — for which only semi-automatic or repeating rifles with calibers no higher than 20mm — are also subject to the same rigorous background checks. Those with firearms must also have a currently valid permit or license, and declare their weapon to the authorities.
The United States Congress has no intention of reacting in light of the Las Vegas massacre, which now stands as the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Are they cornered by the NRA? I believe we give too much credit to the influence of this lobby group, as members of Congress are first and foremost slaves to their own cowardice and partisan attitude. A Democrat proposing a bill is enough to have it thrown out by the Republicans. And vice versa.
Even following a tragedy of this amplitude, the United States is still unable to unite together. Under the same circumstances, I believe the French are more capable of putting their differences to one side and speaking as one. Of course, it doesn’t help that Trump is anything but the embodiment of this necessary union, and continues to deny the evidence and further stir up division. America is in a difficult period caused by its political class, which has shaped its role to become a high-earning profession with little regard for public interest. The Founding Fathers would be appalled.