“When a country with less than five percent of the world’s population has nearly half of the world’s privately owned guns and makes up nearly a third of the world’s mass shootings, it’s time to stop saying guns make us safer.” – Dr. Dashanne Stokes
America is a country with an endless selection of guns with all different types of sizes and levels of damage available. However guns are beginning to become a problem. We live in a country where guns have evolved from being a way of defending a nation, to a way for a 19 year old to take 17 people’s lives in a Florida high school. 42% of US citizens live in a household with a gun . All of citizens have a legal right to own these firearms. If these citizens all own guns legally, how do these mass shootings keep happening? In America, the hardest thing you will have to do in order to buy a gun is go through a simple background check in order to get a permit. Some states, such as Colorado, do not even require a permit to purchase a gun. This makes it exceedingly effortless for a gun to fall into the wrong hands such as those of someone mentally ill, or a disturbed teenager looking to hurt his/her classmates.
America needs to instate more strict gun control in order to prevent more mass shootings, as well as one on one gun violence in order to potentially save the lives of thousands of Americans. Since there are so many different sides, and different arguments, America has struggled with this disagreement tirelessly.
The Second amendment is a greatly controversial topic in our society. The second amendment says that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Right after the second Amendment was put in place, people were ecstatic. This was in the 1700’s, and all it meant for them was that they are now able to go hunting, or defend themselves much easier than before. Mass shooting were not an unsettling issue for them.
The Second Amendment states that owning a gun is a right, not a privilege. The Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. Since then guns have developed rapidly, but our laws and restrictions have not. In 1791, there was a miniscule amount of gun violence compared to today, yet our laws have scarcely changed. Back then, the only reason an individual might own a gun would be for either self defense, or hunting. Since the Second Amendment was ratified, America has had an ongoing disagreement about whether we need to instate better, more strict gun control.
Due to America’s weak gun control, there have been over 307 mass shootings in 2018 alone. Everytime America experiences another mass shooting, we see news articles, rallys, and cries for better gun control. We also see people pleading mental health, or saying that if the school had been better prepared, this wouldn’t have happened. The problem is schools are prepared. They practice shooter drills, make sure kids know exactly what to do in the event of a shooting, yet they keep happening. The same can be said about homicides. You could be walking through the street and someone could fire at you, unprovoked. It is almost impossible to defend yourself when you are being fired at in the street by a criminally insane person.
The sad, but apparent reality is that mass shootings keep happening, and our lawmakers have done little to change that. This may be because doing so is a challenge, because of all the opposing sides. Some sides think America’s gun control is good just as it is, and others disagree. Others do not want to see change because they fear it will mean they would no longer be able to own a gun, but that is completely untrue.
The gun control many keep asking for is not to rid America of all guns, but instead to make it harder for dangerous people to acquire an assault rifle. This means that people who do not have the intention of hurting people with their guns, or have not had previous altercations with the police or other law enforcement could still own guns. The only way you would be prevented from purchasing or owning a gun would be if you have ever been arrested, have a history of violence, have been declared mentally ill by a professional, etc. The change most people are looking to see is not drastic. A simple background check, or permit required to purchase a gun could save countless lives. This may not help prevent all gun violence, because there are always going to be people who find their way around the law, but it will certainly make it much more difficult for people to do a significant amount of damage. Many people looking to hurt someone are not going to go through all the trouble of getting a permit, due to the fact that they are looking for accessibility.
Some states, such as Oregon, have taken matters into their own hands. On February 15, the house had approved the bill to forbid convicted domestic abusers, and stalkers from purchasing assault rifles. This law was passed in light of the Parkland shooting that occured in Florida on February 15, 2018. Not only has this law made countless people feel safer, but it has the potential to prevent many deaths by the means of gun violence. ‘I think survivors of domestic violence shouldn’t have to live in fear that their abusers can obtain a firearm,’ -Knute Buehler. This quote shows how, by instating better laws along the lines of what Oregon did, we can not only help survivors feel safer, but we can also help students, children, and people walking the streets alone at night feel out of harm’s way. Although this is only one state out of 50, it is a huge step towards getting America safer. This has been a huge triumph for everyone. After years of fighting and pain, they have finally succeed and their voice finally being heard.
School is supposed to be a place for children to go and learn in a habitat where they can feel safe. Not a place where students have to fear that they may not get to come home that day. Almost every school is required to practice their “active shooter drills” once or twice a year. This is not only a scary thing for some students, but should not be necessary. There were 94 school gun violence incidents this year . America has never seen a number of school shootings so high since 1970. This is awful, yet not surprising. The Number of death by guns has been consistently rising. Parents are sending their kids to school, expecting them to come home safer, and maybe even a little smarter. They should not have to worry about their kids getting killed in a place they are supposed to learn, a place they go everyday.
One of the most dangerous shootings to occur was Columbine. 13 students and teachers were killed, and over 20 injured when 2 highschool students opened fire at Columbine high school in Littleton, Colorado. After this had happened, the two had ended their own lives. The two had purchased the three guns for 500$, and the man who sold the guns to them was put in jail. The families of those killed have suffered endlessly. Many have gone on to advocate for gun control, others are in too much pain.
America is ranked 27th in the world for the highest number of suicides per year. Firearms were the cause of 51% of suicides in 2016. “The study also showed that the odds of successfully committing suicide are 140 times greater when a gun is used than for any other method.” This is true because, most likely, a gun will kill you instantly. This leaves no opportunity for the person who tried to end their lives to back out, or go to a hospital to get help. More than 20,000 Americans commit suicide using a gun every year. This number would go down tremendously if so many troubled people did not have such easy access to guns. Some of these guns used for suicide were not owned illegally, which is why people buying a gun should learn the importance of keeping their gun locked away. Several people who commit suicide and fail do not try it again, but with a gun, there are no second chances, only death.
The NRA, or National Rifle Association, is in charge of almost all guns and rifles. People have different opinions of the NRA. Some people like it, because it brings in a substantial amount of money to our government. Others do not like the NRA because the NRA does not believe we need stricter gun control. The more guns are purchased, the more money the NRA receives. If gun control gets tighter, and less people purchase guns, then NRA’s profits go down. Therefor, the NRA does not want tighter gun control, and since they contribute so much money towards our government, neither do our politicians. Even if gun control got improved, people could still purchase guns, it would just become a little more challenging, which is why people are getting upset. The NRA would still make profits, just maybe not as much.
Gang violence is another big issue revolving guns. Gun related homicide is most prevalent in gangs. Seeing that guns do more damage than almost every other accessible weapon, this is understandable. A gun can do significantly more damage than a knife, or other weapons. Guns are the most popular choice of weapon surrounding gangs and fights. The problem is, an automatic rifle can kill so many people per minute that time is not even an issue. Other guns, such as handguns require reloading, and are more time consuming, ergo doing less damage.
Mass shootings have been going on for a while, but America has never seen this many happening and this often. The first mass shooting recorded was on August 1st, 1966, when a sniper killed 17 people at the university of texas. Mass shooting have always been a problem, and always will be, unless we figure out a way to get guns out of the hands of people looking to do damage. The first gun ever created was a simple pistol made by Joseph Laumann. This gun could do very little harm or destruction. To them, this was just a tool for hunting. There was no danger that came along with it. Nowadays, we have AR-15s that can kill hundreds of people without even needing to reload. This shows how far guns have evolved, and how little our laws have.
One on one hate crimes are another deadly problem with guns. People who have a hatred for each other can sometimes get angry and take matters into their own hands. A woman was taking her three sons to a dental appointment in Westminster, Colorado, when the women got in an a uncomfortable encounter in traffic with the driver. The driver then followed her and her sons to the dentist and opened fire, killing her son and injuring several others. The man who killed him was also mentally ill, and had not been taking his medication. If stricter laws had been put in place, he would not have been able to get a gun, keep it concealed in his car, and kill this 13 year old boy.
A long term impact of America’s gun laws are the countless lives we have lost due to guns. In 2017, 39,773 were lost lives due to guns. These peoples families have mourned and grieved the lives of their children, parents, or family members who lost their lives due to a tragic incident caused by guns. Most of these incidents could have been prevented if these criminals were not able to access guns. If we were to screen people before they bought a gun, you would be able to discover people who were mentally ill, or people with a history of crimes. Survivors of shootings are scared to step foot back at school, young kids are scared to walk alone at night, and people everywhere are scare of getting caught in a bad situation and ending up dead. Americas should not have to spend their entire lives in fear of when someone with a gun could show up and end it all.
Mental health is another issue. People who have had a violent history or want to hurt others have an extremely easy way to do that now. Stricter gun laws would prevent people deemed mentally ill by a professional to purchase a firearms, but it is very hard for someone selling a gun to be able to tell if someone is mentally ill based off of looks. This is why background check and/or screenings before purchasing a gun are crucial to keeping people safe.
People are giving up everything trying to find a solution to ending this. March for our lives, a famous organization that rallies for gun control, have been working harder than ever. Children have been given a platform to speak out, and they have certainly ceased that opportunity. Kids have been speaking out about the fear they felt when a shooter entered their school, and killed 17 of their classmates. They have also used all the pain of this tragedy to raise awareness and and create a change in our society. They have been advocating for our country for countless nights, and some change has been seen, such as oregon changing its laws, and california doing the same. This has been a huge triumph for anyone who has ever had to worry about feeling unsafe at school or in public. If laws like these continue to change, so will the number of deaths by gun violence.
To sum up everything stated thus far, in order to save lives, some change needs to be seen. Gun violence is an issue Americans have been facing constantly for years and years, and will continue to face until some change has been made. We have have lost countless lives and battles, have worked endlessly trying to convince politicians to change laws, and have come so close, yet so far.Gun violence has come in many forms, such as, gang violence, suicides, homicides, etc. All just as tragic as the next. In order to keep our children and society safe, we need to see a change, and a big one too.