Just from this year, there have been over three hundred shootings in the United States just this year. Having stricter gun laws could reduce the crime rate we have in the United States and the gun violence in not only schools and universities, but also in everyday life. The fact that some Americans aren’t concerned with our current gun control laws worries me and is ridiculous that people aren’t doing anything about it even after all the shootings. The purpose of the idea of gun control is to have stricter gun laws and preventing the action of shootings in our society. We can’t ignore the issue of gun control as these tragedies become more and more common and we need to take action now.
At Parkland Florida in February, 17 people were confirmed killed by an ex-student firing an assault weapon, in “the worst school mass shooting of 2018”, says David Frum of CNN. Congressman Bill Nelson of Florida, said in the aftermath of the Parkland massacre- ‘Are we coming to expect these mass shootings to be routine? And then after everyone we say “enough is enough” and then it continues to happen?’. Instead of pushing stricter laws, republicans are pushing for a law that would weaken gun restrictions nationwide and make it easier to carry a concealed weapon across state lines. Recently, Eight states have enacted some kind of ban on assault weapons. Two other states regulate military-grade firearms. State gun laws are tracked, in detail, by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which lobbies for gun control.
According to the law center, states with the strictest gun control measures have the lowest rates of gun-related deaths. Those states include California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Conversely, states that do not aggressively regulate guns, such as Alabama, Alaska and Louisiana, have the highest rates. More Americans have died from gun violence, including suicides, about 1.4 million since 1970, than in all the wars in American history going back to the Revolutionary War which is about 1.3 million. In a typical year, more preschoolers are shot dead in America than police officers.
If more guns really made you safer, America would be one of the safest places in the world. As it is, seven children or teenagers are shot dead on average every day, and once a week a toddler injures someone with a gun. Recently, in November, in Akron Ohio, a group of boys were hanging out. A 15-year-old boy accidentally shot the 14-year-old boy in the head. The 15-year-old then panicked and turned the gun on himself. Both were rushed to Akron General Hospital where the 15-year-old was pronounced dead and the 14-year-old was in critical condition. In my hometown, Canton Ohio, Perry Local Schools faced many tragedie
s in a short amount of time. Within the past year there have been thirteen teen suicides between the ages of 14 and 18. Last school year the school mourned the deaths of 6 teens in 6 months, three of the suicides happening in eleven days.
Guns were involved in many of the incidents. In a society that fetishizes self-reliance, the gun speaks to rugged individualism, each person should be responsible for saving themselves. Emantic Bradford was fatally shot in the middle of a panicked crowd at a mall in Hoover, Alabama in November. Witnesses said Mr. Bradford, who was legally carrying a handgun, was directing shoppers to safety. But the authorities publicly identified him as the gunman, an initial misidentification they regretted a day later. The shooting and its aftermath have ignited protests in Hoover, and the United States.
Today, it is because of the NRA that people on the no-fly list can still purchase guns and there is zero government funding for research into how to prevent gun deaths. Fred Rivara, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, stated, “There is no data supporting his argument that the further arming of citizens will lessen the death toll in massacres like the one in Connecticut. There are in fact rigorous scientific data showing that having a gun in the home increases the risk of violent death in the home.”
Many people from the other side of the argument will say that more guns will result in less crime, but if guns are easier to possess, the crime rate will only increase. There is no evidence that proves more guns will lower crime rates. Christopher Koper, a professor at George Mason University and the lead author of the study that is cited by the N.R.A., has repeatedly said that the ban had mixed effects and final results would not be immediately evident. For skeptics who think that gun laws don’t make a difference, consider what happened in two states, Missouri and Connecticut. In 1995, Connecticut tightened licensing laws, while in 2007 Missouri eased gun laws. After tightening gun laws, firearm homicide rates dropped 40 percent in Connecticut. And after Missouri eased gun laws, gun homicide rates rose approximately 25 percent.
Many gun-control advocates, and particularly advocates of a total gun ban, would like to see the United States become more like Canada, where there are far fewer guns per capita and where most guns must be registered with the federal government. The Canadian approach to firearms ownership has many attractions, the country’s firearm homicide rate is one-sixth of the United States. Today, more than 8 million vetted and trained law-abiding citizens possess state-issued ‘concealed carry’ handgun permits, which allow them to carry a concealed handgun or other weapon in public. Our laws have often focused more on weapons themselves rather than on access. In many places, there is more rigorous screening of people who want to adopt dogs than of people who want to purchase firearms. Even for other countries, such as New Zealand, where if you don’t have a valid and current firearms license, you cannot legally purchase any firearm other than a pellet gun anywhere in New Zealand. There is probably a black market, or some other means of acquiring a firearm illegally, but firearms recovered from drug busts or other organized criminal activities typically amount to hunting rifles or pump action shot guns.
Handguns and military style semi-automatics are rare, difficult to obtain, and very expensive. The Australian government paid citizens to sell their guns to them. Over the next few years, gun-death totals were cut nearly in half. Firearm suicides dropped to 0.8 per 100,000 people in 2006 from 2.2 in 1995, while firearm homicides dropped to 0.15 per 100,000 people in 2006 from 0.37 in 1995. IN Japan, which has strict laws for obtaining firearms, very rarely has more than ten shooting deaths a year in a population of 127 million people. If Japanese people want to own a gun, they must attend an all-day class, pass a written test, and achieve at least 95% accuracy during a shooting-range test. Then they have to pass a mental-health evaluation at a hospital, as well as a background check, in which the government digs into any criminal records or ties and interviews friends and family members.
Finally, they can buy only shotguns and air rifles, but no handguns, and they also must retake the class and the initial exam every three years. Unlike in the United States, Japanese law has long outlawed guns. Still, the wisdom from Japan seems to be that tighter regulations keep guns in control only to those who deserve the power of a gun. Parliament passed legislation banning private ownership of handguns in Britain and banned semiautomatic and pump-action firearms throughout the UK. It also required shotgun owners to register their weapons. Given the proof that other countries gun control laws work, the United States needs to reconsider our laws.
The first step is to understand the scale of the challenge America faces, the United States has more than three hundred million guns which is roughly one for every citizen. At the other extreme, Japan has less than one gun per one hundred people. It is true that guns are occasionally used to stop violence. But contrary to what the National Rifle Association suggests, this is rare. One study by the Violence Policy Center found that in 2012 there were 259 justifiable homicides by a private citizen using a firearm. The evidence is overwhelming that overall more guns and more relaxed gun laws lead to more violent deaths and injuries. One study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a gun in the house was associated with an increased risk of a gun death, particularly by suicide but also apparently by homicide. There were 464,033 total gun deaths between 1999 and 2013. Including 270,237 suicides, 174,773 homicides, and 9,983 unintentional deaths.
Guns were the leading cause of death by homicides and suicides. David Frum, of CNN states “American children under age 15 were nine times more likely to die of a gun accident than children in other advanced wealthy countries”. Five women are murdered every day with a gun in the United States. A women’s risk of being murdered goes up by 500% if a gun is present. During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 5,364 American soldiers were killed in action between 2001 and 2015, between 2001 and 2012, 6,410 women were killed with a gun.
Because of the shootings that often happen, I do not agree with our current gun laws and definitely agree they should be altered. I also am disappointed that after year after year and shooting after shooting, that our country has nothing to do about this obvious issue we have in today’s society. I strongly believe that we have waited far too long and allowed too many shootings to happen for us not to make a change. America definitely needs new gun laws, but first in order to get them, people will have to start telling themselves a new story about the country it is, has been, and aspires to be.