By Hannah Holder
Blog Content Contributor
The Second Amendment protects the right for Americans to keep and bear arms, and shall not be infringed upon. As a former gun supporter who believed a gun could save the day when someone was in harm or danger, it is time to infringe upon this right. I have debated endlessly with this thought — would gun control really prevent mass shootings? I was so unsure of this question, then the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting happened and my answer became clear. Now, this past Valentine’s Day, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has just has faced a mass shooting, and my answer still remains very clear. Please enforce stricter gun laws. Enforce them for the sake of our children, for ourselves and our future; for the healing of those who have lost a loved one to gun violence; for those who are traumatized from being an eyewitness; for those who are mentally ill and have these thoughts of gun violence. Enact stricter gun laws.
Facts of Mass Shootings in the United States
- Not even two months into the new year and yet, there has been 30 mass shootings throughout the United States.
- One in every three victims of a mass shooting happens to be a child, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
- Only nine states require a background check when purchasing a gun via private sale.
- Out of all the advanced countries, the U.S. significantly has the most gun homicides.
- Americans make up roughly five percent of the world’s population, but own 42 percent of the world’s guns, according to a criminology professor at the University of Alabama, Adam Lankford.
Countries with Gun Control
- Great Britain has ended the right to own semi-automatic firearms, slide-action shotguns and certain handguns; Britain has issued a required registration for handgun and shotgun owners. Penalties for owning an illegal weapon are costly and/or intense. Crimes with a deadly weapon have decreased significantly.
- Japan is known as a “zero-tolerance” country for firearms. Japan has made laws banning several firearms, with some exceptions. The process to own a gun is tedious, which is explains why their crime rate is one of the lowest in the world.
- Australia has enforced legitimate explanations from citizens on their possession of a firearm, as well as required licensing and registration for all firearms. Since Australia has enforced stricter gun laws, they have not seen a mass shooting in twenty years.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe we need guns in America. But those guns should be in the hands of only military personnel, law enforcement and registered/licensed gun owners. Of course the person behind the gun is the cause of why a mass shooting or homicide happens, but you have to really analyze why that must be. Why is the U.S. the highest rating country in mass shootings, homicides and possession of gun ownership? Because Americans believe they are entitled to a gun, they see it as a right rather than a privilege. The reasoning behind this American thought process is due to the constitution– specifically the Second Amendment. I will say it again, it is time to infringe upon this right. Ownership of a firearm should be a well reasoning and difficult obtainment privilege rather than a right. This right has been abused countless times and as a country of civic virtue, we need to see change.
I have seen on social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook, many people defending their right to firearms. They say the Left is trying to take away the Right’s guns, and that we will be crying on the Right for their guns when we are in danger. However, they are wrong. We are not trying to take away your guns, we are trying to enforce stricter gun laws for the safety of us all. If I felt I was in danger, I am not going to call Brandon from down the street to bring over his gun to shoot the intruder inside my home, I am going to immediately call the police. I might not even need the police, I may pull out my registered and licensed handgun from my closet that required me to take several tests and background checks to earn.
Addressing Congress and Our President
Mr. Donald Trump and Congress need to get behind this issue. All of the mass shootings that have taken place, and Florida especially, should be a wakeup call. Time and time again, this incident has happened and nothing changes. Your prayers and condolences are appreciated, but they are not enough. Stop this continuous cycle of discussing an issue, letting time pass, then forgetting it ever happened until the next mass shooting occurs. Stricter gun laws is the answer behind this heartbreaking chaos. If you truly believe mental-health is the issue on why these tragedies keep happening, then why is mental health not addressed like it should? Why are we not more aware of the signs of mentally ill person? Why is medication or counseling services for the mentally ill not funded for by the government? I agree that mental health is an extreme issue in the U.S. that should not go unnoticed, but I believe the reason behind mass shootings is solely because of firearms. Please enact stricter gun laws, adjust the Second Amendment as the way the American people want it to be. Hear our cries, change needs to happen.
Featured illustration by Hannah Holder.