Saturday marked the 38th anniversary of musician John Lennon’s death.
Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York City department, The Dakota. The reoccurring anniversary continues to spark debates over gun violence.
Lennon’s twitter page tweeted the statistic that over 1.4 million people have been killed by gun violence in the U.S. since Lennon’s death in 1980.
Since then, a demand for stricter gun laws has come into popularity across the U.S. Compiled data from May this year by WGLT indicates that at least 100 people died from gunfire over the past three years with at least 500 wounded from eight cities in downstate Illinois. These cities included Bloomington, Carbondale, Champaign, Danville, Decatur, Peoria, Springfield and Urbana.
As of Friday, seven people have been killed by gunfire in Bloomington in 2018, according to WGLT. It brings a sudden chill of reality that deaths by guns can happen virtually anywhere, even in Bloomington-Normal.
A lot of debate has taken place over gun violence and gun control. Movements like March for Our Lives, which took place March 24 throughout the U.S. sought to bring a voice to gun violence and mass shooting.
Midterm elections brought forth new members who ran on the issue of gun safety to Congress, which has placed some optimism on people involved with gun safety movements.
According to ctmirror.org, gun control advocates are “dusting off dozens of bills that have failed to move in the last few Congresses, largely because Republican leaders have ignored the issue.”
Republicans, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, has argued that gun violence is due to mental health problems and there’s already gun control laws in the books.
After the new Congress takes effect in January, Democrats are now looking to seek votes on tightening federal gun laws.
However, those against gun control laws often state that stricter laws won’t deter crime, but that gun ownership can help deter crime and that enforcing laws could infringe upon rights to self-defense and that it essentially denies people a sense of safety.
However, the right answer to have stricter gun laws or not isn’t entirely clear. Both sides represent good arguments but it is arguable to say that deaths and injuries by guns have trended upwards over the last couple of years.
Even with optimism that Congress may act, gun control laws could still face obstacles in the Senate.
Gallup polling indicated there is a growing desire for more gun control but answers to what that exactly means isn’t so clear cut.
Both Republicans and Democrats could look towards working together to form gun laws that could work. What kind of guns should be made for sale to the public? Where can they be carried? Do stricter gun laws make people safer? Answers to these questions aren’t black and white.
It’s remembering death anniversaries like John Lennon’s that remind us there is still work to be done.