Photo Credit: Mei Lamison/Achona Online/Piktochart
Both those who are pro-gun rights and those who are pro gun-regulation an can at least agree mass shootings are a growing issue in American schools. Citizens tend to disagree on how the problem should be solved.
While the previous publications of this series have been written from a an objective perspective, I felt it best to cover this specific situation in an opinionated manner. In my eyes there is only one way to solve this issue.
America needs gun control.
Compared to other developed nations, the United States has a far higher level of gun violence and gun ownership. According to United Nations data, America’s gun homicide rates are six times that of Canada, seven times that of Sweden, and 16 times that of Germany.
Granted, America holds a much larger population than counties such as Sweden or Germany. However, that is no excuse to ignore the issue.
New England Journal of Medicine reported that firearms are second leading cause of childhood death. Gun violence was found responsible for 15% of child deaths compared to 20% in motor vehicle crashes.
The Harvard School of Public Health reported that although America only makes up less than 5% of the world’s population, they own 45% of all privately held firearms. According to Business Insider, the United States holds 31% of the world’s mass shooters.
“Personally I think assault rifles are completely unnecessary unless they are they are being used for a military purpose. No civilian should have an assault rifle,” says Megan Corrigan (‘20).
Thoughts and prayers do not lead to legislation.
Many United States politicians would rather send “thoughts and prayers” rather than do something to fix the issue.
After the 2017 Las Vegas Shooting, President Trump expressed “sadness, shock and grief.” While he called the tragedy a “an act of pure evil,” he did nothing but address the issue. No executive actions were taken, no policies were proposed, no talk of change.
“It makes me feel sad that these problems are often ignored rather than addressed. Thoughts and prayers do not solve the problem. Action needs to be taken. However, action that does not violate anyone’s constitutional right to bear arms,” says History teacher Clare McFlynn.
The shooting that kill 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas occurred over a year ago. Despite the tragedy, and the movement March For Our Lives that sparked from it, congress has still yet to pass any significant gun restrictions.
Why? Some may point to the support of the second amendment. Others may feel the problem lies more with mental illness rather than gun violence. However, many fail to realize the amount of money congressmen and women take from the NRA.
The NRA, National Rifle Association, is a non profit organization that advocates for gun rights. The association produces its own magazines, merchandise, and TV programs all advocating citizen’s second amendment rights. Since its foundation in 1934, it has rose to become one of the most influential lobbyist groups in the United States government.
According to CNN, “Among the 535 current members of Congress in both the House and the Senate, 307 have received either direct campaign contributions from the NRA and its affiliates or benefited from independent NRA spending like advertising supporting their campaigns,”
Among them, eight members of congress have made over $1 million in campaign contributions from the NRA throughout their careers. Florida Senator Marco Rubio received $3.3 million in campaign contributions from the NRA in 2018.
Gun control will solve the problem.
Yes, I understand the issue is a hard one to untangle. America has a lot of work to do to end gun violence. However, the size of the problem is not an excuse to not solve it.
In 1996 a gunman with a semiautomatic rifle killed 35 people in Port Arthur Australia. Within weeks the Austrian government confiscated 650,000 firearms, established rules for the buying and selling of weapons, and passed policy on gun regulation.
According to Vox, seven years after the tragedy, Australia’s firearm homicide rate dropped by about 42%. There has not been a mass shooting in the country in the 23 years since.
“I feel like the regulations on who can purchase guns needs to be strictly enforced. Guidelines on age should be increased to ensure teenagers are unable to possess a weapon. A required psychological test should also be put in place for every gun purchased,” says Alley Pauley (‘19).
To those who fear for their second amendment right, don’t worry. I promise no person is going to come to your door to take away your gun anytime soon. You do however need to realize amendments can grow to become outdated.
When we look to places in the world with significantly less shootings, they all seem to have one thing in common: gun regulation. They have stricter policies, process to get a gun are more challenging, and there are no assault rifles.
Small steps can save lives each day.
“Although I understand the importance of the second amendment in American culture, views must change when culture becomes a danger to society, says Georgia Ruffalo (‘20).