Orlando Shooting Tragedy Proves What Many Misunderstand About Gun Control

June 5th 2017

Mike Rothschild

As the world reeled from terror attack in London, in which seven people were killed by attackers armed with knives and a motor vehicle, United States President Donald Trump brought up an often-used argument about guns.



Trump's implication was that terror can happen anywhere, and that restrictive gun laws won't save anybody.

However, on Monday afternoon, Americans were reminded of the deadliness of a single firearm, when an armed gunman opened fire at his workplace in Orlando, killing five.

The fact that "we aren't having a gun debate" right now is likely beneficial for the president and other gun supporters. That's because it's almost certain that if the three attackers in the London Bridge incident had been using guns, rather than knives, the death toll would have been higher.

As the Atlantic writes in its response to Trump's tweet: "[T]ens of thousands of Londoners walk through or enjoy themselves in the neighborhood the terrorists attacked. Three men armed with high-capacity firearms would not have killed seven and wounded 48: They would have killed hundreds or even more."



The Washington Post added that "the lack of firearms, and in particular weapons such as assault rifles, limits the options of would-be terrorists."

We aren't talking about guns in the case of the London attack because England's heavily restrictive laws ban assault rifles and mandate extensive background checks for handguns. The people of England overwhelmingly support these laws, with a 2010 survey finding that just 4 percent of English citizens want these laws relaxed, compared to 31 percent who want guns banned completely.



The Orlando shooting brought Trump's "gun debate" to the forefront, not in England, which has virtually no debate over guns (beyond that of whether to arm all police with guns), but in the United States.

It was encapsulated in a series of tweets by Shannon Watts, founder of grassroots anti-gun organization Moms Demand. She pointed out that mass shootings in other countries, even ones that are seemingly beset by terrorism are exceedingly rare. And in the U.S., they're an almost weekly occurrence.





The United States has roughly 160 times the number of gun-related deaths that the U.K. has. Because of drastic gun ownership restrictions spurred by a 1978 killing spree, there have been fewer than ten shootings with more than five fatalities in the United Kingdom.

By contrast, the United States has had 73 such events in the same time period. It's a debate that resurfaces almost every time there's a mass shooting, only to be shut down by pro-gun politicians and the strength of the National Rifle Association.



That the U.K. has strong gun control has undoubtedly saved lives, an assertion that no longer seems up for debate, either in the U.K. or the United States.