By now, we all know what happened in the early hours of Sunday, June 12. A man by the name of Omar Mateen stormed a gay night club in Orlando, shooting and killing 50 people and injuring 53 others. This is a massive blow the LGBTQ community, especially Latinos (who comprised of the majority of victims), and it’s a chilling reminder to each and every one of us that even places of refuge where we can feel safe and be ourselves aren’t protected from people who want to cause death and destruction.
You’re seeing a lot of chat in the media about terrorism, about our culture of violence, and about homophobia. These were all factors in what happened at that club in Orlando and they shouldn’t be ignored. But we need to be real about what helps facilitate terrorism, violence, and hate to a deadly end: Guns. This country has a gun problem that most other “developed” countries don’t, and it is literally killing us. We just experienced the worst mass shooting in American history, but the sad truth is that mass shootings aren’t new or even shocking to us anymore. There have already been 178 mass shootings so far in 2016; today is only the 165th day of the year.
When are we going to actually confront the fact that guns do more harm than good, or address how it’s ludicrously easy to buy a gun? Many claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was the final nail in the coffin for the gun debate: If a bunch of gunned down five-years-olds can’t prompt politicians to enact universal background checks, an assault rifle ban, or make it incredibly hard to buy semi-automatic guns, nothing will. Whether that’s truly the case has yet to be seen, but when we’re living in an era where people think that the answer to gun violence is for more people to have guns (even though stats say otherwise)…it really makes you wonder if there will ever be a solution to this madness.
You can learn a lot about the ins and outs of this effed up gun debate, but I think that one of the most effective ways of understanding just how ridiculously loose gun laws are is to think about things that are more difficult to do than buy a gun. Every state has different rules about buying a gun, but while most states require a state permit to buy a handgun, in most states you simply need to be over 18-years-old and pass a background check to purchase a rifle. Yes, you can just roll up into Walmart and buy a rifle if you’re over 18-years-old. It’s worth noting that the man who shot nine black people at a Charleston church in 2015 legally purchased a gun and passed a background check, even though he had a criminal record. Great! Who else feels safe? Whether it’s getting your driver’s license to having an abortion, here are 13 things that are a lot harder to do than buying a gun. Prepare for your blood to absolutely boil.
Running A Lemonade StandFun fact: That lemonade stand you had as a kid? Yeah, totally illegal, you little felon. You have to have a business permit and a food license to sell food, even if it is out of your own house! Some school districts even require parents to undergo background checks before helping out with school bake sales. So, yeah, your ability to potentially sell cookies to your neighbors, by law, requires more vetting than somebody buying a gun. Rugrats
Buying Cold MedicineYes, ingredients found in cold medicines such as Sudafed are essential when it comes to making meth. So, yes, people who buy large quantities of cold medicine are, understandably, suspicious. But even if you're buying one pack of cold medicine now, you need to show ID! There are even federal limits on how much pseudoephedrine you can buy each month. But somebody can buy, say, 20 guns without causing even a blip of suspicion. iStock.com
Getting A Credit CardGetting a credit card requires a social security number and, of course, a credit check before letting you shop til' you drop. You don't need to do that to buy a gun. Pinterest
Donating Blood While GayMany members of the LGBTQ community weren't even allowed to donate blood to help heal their wounded brethren. Why? Because there's an antiquated af federal law that forbids gay and bisexual men from donating blood if they've had sex with a man within the past 12 months. So, if you're a gay or bi man, you have to be vetted more thoroughly than the average gun owner. iStock.com
Getting Birth Control Pills, Antibiotics, EtcIt's understandable as to why certain medications are only available via a prescription, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating to have to go to the doctor and get a prescription remedy every time you have a yeast infection. Even some allergy meds now require a prescription! Meanwhile, you can roll up to Walmart, get an instant background check, and walk out with rifle in about 15 minutes. iStock.com
Getting A Driver's LicenseLet's think about how hard it is to get a license, shall we? Okay, so first, you have to take driver's education courses. Then, you have to take a test that will determine whether or not you're allowed to get your diver's permit. Then, after hours of instruction, you're allowed to finally take a driving test, which will determine whether or not you're capable of driving without killing a pedestrian, jumping a curb...you get it. So, it takes all of that effort to make sure one is responsible enough to control an automobile, which many consider a dead weapon in of itself. But why don't we require this level of testing to own a gun, another deadly weapon? Hmmm... Clueless
Adopting A PetDo you guys know how hard it can be to adopt a damn cat or dog? Many shelters interview prospective owners ahead of time, require them to fill out a ton of paperwork and questionaries, and some even do a house visit. Yes! A house visit to make sure that the home is suitable for the pet. What if gun owners had to go through the same process? What if they had to encounter surprise home visits and make sure that there were child proof gun safes around the house? Well, that's not the case. Hocus Pocus
Fishing Or HuntingYou need a license if you want to hunt or fish. You don't, however, need a license to buy an eight assault rifles. While most states require licenses to carry handguns, someone could easily buy a gun at a gun show or through some other third party without proof of license. iStock.com
Working A Minimum Wage Job Or InternshipYou need references for everything from a fast-food job to a retail job. You have to go through an interview process and even testing to obtain the most elementary of internships. You can't even get a job at a department store without taking a drug test first. What if gun owners had to go through the same scrutiny that the guy working the fryer at McDonalds does? Daria
Having An AbortionWant an abortion? Some states are forcing people who want an abortion undergo waiting periods beforehand. Yes, this is just another way to attempt to shame women out of having an abortion, or condescendingly assume that they won't want one after they take a minute to think about it (as if they haven't put any thought to it already). Some states, like Oklahoma, require 72-hour waiting periods. Buying a gun, a deadly weapon, requires no such waiting period. So, it takes longer to get a damn abortion than to buy a gun. Fantastic. Sarah Wintner
Drinking AlcoholOf course, irresponsible drinking is responsible for plenty of carnage, violence, and other terrible things, but don't tell me it isn't weird that a 20-year-old can buy 50 guns if they so please, but can't legally buy a glass of wine. On that note, many public places like parks and beaches won't let its visitors drink alcohol, but in some states, you can happily chill on the beach or go to the park with a concealed weapon. Picnics are more dangerous than guns, apparently. Pinterest
VotingYou need to register to vote, which is subject to all kinds of deadlines, rules, and restrictions. For example, many states require you to be registered at least a few weeks before the election to vote! And now, in some states you can't even vote without having ID. Meanwhile, you can usually just wake up one day, say, "Hey, I want a gun!" and have one in your possession, legally, by the end of the day. Oh, and when it comes to ID, some states don't even require you to have one if you're buying a gun via private sale. iStock.com
Using The Bathroom While TransIf you're transgender and live in states like North Carolina or Mississippi, it is harder for you go use the toilet of your gender of choice than it is to purchase an assault rifle. I'm glad we all have our priorities in order! iStock.com
What’s your take on the Orlando shooting? What else is harder to do than buy a gun? Tell us in the comments!