Gun ownership is a right given to American citizens under the second amendment in the Constitution, or often stated “the right to bear arms”. However, the misconduct of these weapons has been the primary cause of hundreds of mass shootings, high profile murders and thousands of deaths. Gun control has been a debate in the united states for years, and I believe that stricter laws need to be implemented in order to create a safer society.
Gun control laws do exist, this debate began roughly around the 1930s when crime rates were moving their way up due to gangs in America having a substantial access to guns. This led to one of the first legislation to get passed and enforce criminal penalties, regulations, and taxes on those who owned firearms and machine guns. Congress then passed a Federal Firearms Act in 1938 that required gun dealers to keep a record of all purchase transactions. Since then little “tweaks” to gun control laws have been made insignificantly. With high-profile murders such as the assassination of one of our former presidents, John F. Kennedy, the 1968 Gun control act and 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which included an assault weapon ban along with more regulations on owners and firearms industries were passed in later years.
But what is gun control? And to what extent do they have to be taken in order to decrease the number of mass shooting and crime rates in our country? Clearly, gun control laws exist but if someone wanted to obtain a weapon in the United States he or she would be able to with a minimum background check. Take for example the Sandy Hooks elementary school shooting on December 14th, 2012 where 28 students and faculty members died. The shooter, Adam Lanza, who had been confirmed by several sources to be psychologically unstable, was yet able to get his hands-on Bushmaster XM-15 rifle and a .22 Savage Mark II rifle, two guns in which were legally owned by his mother. Many mass shooters that have been found to have legally owned or purchased a fire-arm were later proven to have a mental illness or psychological disability such as the shooters in both the Virginia Tech massacre, 33 deaths and Columbine high school shooting, 15 deaths.
As many would agree, it’s just gotten out of hand. Although there have been several protests in the past couple of years, including the most recent “March for Our Lives” in Washington D.C., massive public agreement on gun control has been making a wave in our society but the government is very much dictating policy. In the wake of a mass shooting Australia had in the year of 1996, they enacted stronger gun control laws and a federal buyback (ban) of certain guns such as semi-automatic weapons and since then there has not been a similar mass shooting that has occurred in 22 years. But mass shootings aren’t the only results of guns, firearm suicide is a clear crisis in the U.S killing nearly 22 thousand Americans each year. In a research article named “Firearm suicide in the United States,” it affirms that personal access to firearms or household guns is strongly associated with an increased risk of suicide.
Undeniably, the gun control laws that are in place as of now are not effective. Just this year alone, 154 mass shooting has occurred in the U.S. People associate freedom with the right to bear arms but fail to realize that continued reform to gun control laws is desperately needed. Implementing a stronger and more effective control on the purchase, conduct, maintenance and safety of guns is possible without taking that right away completely and will result in creating a disciplined and safer society for all people and millions of American families are begging for a change.