Cole’s Corner: Will Smith and Gun Control


A shotgun shell being fired from a barrel. Since the beginning of 2016, 3,500+ deaths have occurred at the hands of firearms.

This past Saturday, former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot six times and killed in an altercation in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans.

According WVUE, a FOX affiliate in New Orleans, camera footage shows Smith rear ending the car of his accused killer Cardale Hayes. After Hayes attempts to pull over his vehicle, Smith goes around him and speeds off, but Hayes follows close after. From there, Hayes allegedly rear ends Smith’s car, the two got out of their cars and argued, and then Smith lost his life shortly thereafter.

This case is still open and a lot of facts still remain unanswered. Did Hayes rear end Smith before the altercation? Did the altercation become physical before shots were fired? Was Hayes acting in self defense? No one can be entirely sure just yet.

One of the few facts which remains true is that one man killed another over an issue which could’ve been resolved without gun violence. The even sadder fact is that Smith isn’t the first person to lose his life to a firearm in 2016.

According the the Gun Violence Archive, approximately 3,577 Americans have been killed in firearm incidents in 2016 and 14,000+ total firearm incidents have occurred. Less than 5% of the incidents involved self-defense with a firearm.

While I certainly understand that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” maybe it’s time we understand just how important and vital stricter gun control laws could be in the United States.

What we need to understand though, is that we’ll never be able to fill every broken crack in the system. There will be Adam Lanza’s (Sandy Hook shooting) and James Holmes’ (Aurora shooting) and also some Cardale Hayes’ in this world, but if we can do everything in our power as a nation to lessen the ease of gun accessibility, I truly believe we’d all be surprised by its impact.

Accessibility to firearms in the United States is really the potential turning point of gun control for this country. Banning more types of guns and restricting areas of concealed carry, as well as developing a more thorough background check system could do wonders.

And personally speaking, the idea of de-privatizing the whole firearm industry is something that could do a lot. Putting the sale of firearms and the conducting of background checks, as well as the lawmaking on gun control entirely into the hands of the government could potentially have added benefit. (Or none whatsoever. I’m not entirely sure at this point quite frankly.)

In reality, the chances of that are slim, not to mention the fact that any real reform is highly unlikely. As long as public opinion is split and lobbyists like the National Rifle Association (NRA) exist, the chances of true gun control reform are slim. Which means incidents like the one last Saturday will continue to grow increasingly likely.

If there’s anything new we can learn from the death of Will Smith, it’s that the power of a firearm has no boundaries. One minute, you can be a multi-million dollar athlete and the next you can be laying on a sidewalk with six bullets lodged inside of you.

The sad fact is that this could apply to anyone, including our nearest and dearest loved ones. The wife and children of Smith lost a family member, plain and simple. Those children will have to live the rest of their lives coping with the fact that their isn’t a father figure around simply because a man pulled a firearm on the most important man in their lives.

I could talk for hours about gun control laws and even try to think up my own legislation, but at the end of the day, the one thing that remains true is that gun control affects all of us. Which is why we as a country need to come to a consensus on how to reform gun control, before another person dies. Because when that happens, the blood is on all our hands.