The need for gun control in the United States


Photo: Gun Violence Archive

The number of gun related incidents in 2017 from Jan. 1 to Nov. 16.

The United States has a long history of deadly massacres, especially when the use of guns is involved. The country recently witnessed its deadliest modern mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas. Earlier this month Texas witnessed the largest mass shooting in the state’s history at Sutherland Springs Church.

Is this what we have come to, normalized shootings on a regularly occurring basis? Taking into account Sandy Hook, Charleston Church and every other major public setting massacre, it has become abundantly clear that if lawmakers still haven’t enforced stricter laws after these tragic events, then they may never do so.

We can’t just accept this as fact. We, as a nation, cannot keep going at this rate when there are things that can be done to prevent mass shootings.

The U.S. needs stronger gun control.

Statistics posted on Gun Violence Archive show that in this year alone, we have already had a total of 13,553 gun-related deaths in the U.S. Regardless of whether each each of these 13,000 plus deaths was intentional, the desire to own guns should not supercede the loss of American life. Logically, does an individual need to own 20+ guns as the Las Vegas shooter did? The fact that it is allowed, even encouraged, without at least a thorough background check, is troubling. Even more troubling is the realization that it happens daily.

Now is the time to follow suit of other countries who are just as developed as the U.S. and have achieved strict gun control. Take Australia, for example, as detailed in PBS’s “How Do U.S. Gun Laws Compare to Other Countries.” They had one mass shooting in 1996, and within twelve days, their prime minister prohibited automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles, ordered stricter licensing and ownership rules and had a gun buyback program that took 650,000 assault weapons from the owners.

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The Second Amendment states: “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.”

Gun advocates fall back on this amendment as an excuse to own as many guns as they want and use them however they wish. They expect the public to turn a blind eye and consider this to be completely normal. They shop for guns as though they were buying groceries at a store. These advocates look upon the amendment as though gun ownership were essential in every household to “protect themselves and their homes.” While that might be the case for some, it was definitely not on the minds’ of the perpetrators of these mass shootings as they pulled the trigger.

The reason this amendment was made has been broken down by law professor Carl Bogus at Roger Williams University and recounted in an article for The Guardian. Bogus explained that James Madison, one of our Founding Fathers, wrote the amendment only to reassure his home state, Virginia, “where slave owners were terrified of revolts and wary of northerners who would undermine the system.” This amendment wasn’t made with modern people’s’ safety and rights in mind. It was made for slave-owners in that time in history and was a tool for control and nothing more. So, why shouldn’t we question the amendment and add laws to guarantee the safety of the people by making it more difficult to buy an automatic weapon to bring it home and showcase at the dinner table?

It also goes without saying that the guns in that time period were nothing compared to today’s weapons that fire dozens of bullets at a time, have a varied range of distance and can be concealed with ease. The Founding Fathers could have never predicted the machines humanity would make long after the constitution was set in place.

Sometimes we have to amend or add new laws to fit the needs of modern society. We can’t live with the exact same rules as others did hundreds of years ago, not when they are causing more harm than good. We are in a different time. It’s only logical that our laws change with it.

Gun control is one law that definitely needs to change with the times.

Opinion pieces reflect the opinions of the individual staff writer and are in no way endorsed by The Cougar Call or Ada High School.