The United States has the highest rate of gun-related homicides of any country in the developed world.
There could be many potential causes for this, but I think it should seem obvious that a huge contributing factor is having military-grade assault rifles available to the general public. These weapons were designed for one purpose, and that is to kill people as efficiently as possible. How much firepower does someone need to defend themselves?
The constitution grants people the right to bear arms and defend themselves, but where should we draw the line on which weapons people are allowed to carry? Some gun rights activists and groups, including the National Rifle Association, argue that any restriction placed on firearms limits individual freedoms and threatens personal safety. In light of a spate of recent tragedies however, it makes me wonder how anyone could believe that we as a society are any safer by introducing weapons of war into the general public.
There will probably always be mentally unstable people and those who seek to do harm to innocent people, and some might argue that an individual so determined to carry out an act of violence will seek any means necessary to achieve their goals, but why should we make it any easier for them?
Surely this country needs comprehensive gun control reform to really curb gun violence, but in a political environment where any attempt at real regulation is shot down as an assault on the constitution, I think renewing the national assault weapons ban, which is currently being debated in Congress, is an important first step.