Guns: a fundamental right or a killing machine? The debate for gun control has been an ongoing tug of war that seems to have no end. Every year, thousands of people are murdered due to guns, according to Brady United. This staggering statistic poses the question: When will this insanity stop? Gun violence has become a common factor in everyday life, and mass shootings continue to cause American citizens to live in fear for their lives. Gun control laws need to be put in place in order to make it more difficult to acquire a gun. It is also a necessity to regulate the use of these firearms. Currently, federal laws only inhibit certain people with mental illness, criminal records, restraining order, and others laws from owning a gun. However, these current mass shootings have been executed by teens. According to The New York Times, America’s support for stricter gun control laws has diminished even though thousands of people have met their end in a hail of bullets. Stronger gun control laws would abate the number of deaths due to firearms, allow Americans to feel safer, and set the foundations for the future generation.
Though the Second Amendment prohibits the complete ban of guns, limitations are allowed and need to be put into place. A background check can be the difference between life and death. It is the base of a successful start to dwindle gun violence and can save lives. According to Everytown, a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and help build a safer community states,“Current federal law only requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks on gun sales” (Everytown 2). This means anyone could purchase a gun from an unlicensed dealer and then a killing machine has been placed in the wrong hands. Since the launch of background checks, loopholes and unregulated markets have risen and because of this, too many lives have been impacted forever. The first basic step is to simply is to obligate background checks on all gun purchases to fend off individuals who are lawfully restricted from having firearms. In 2012, Zina Daniel’s estranged husband obtained a restraining order, which prevented him from obtaining a firearm. He then proceeded to buy a gun from a private seller on Armlist.com without a background check. The husband then went to Daniel’s workplace and shot and murdered her, while wounding four other people. This could have easily been avoided if there were universal background checks and this tragic murder story shows how crucial they are. “Since 1994, background checks have blocked over 3.5 million gun sales to felons, domestic abusers, and other people who aren’t allowed to have guns under existing law” (Everytown, 4). If we continue to advance this law, making universal background checks, envision how many more lives could be saved.
Having stricter gun control laws would help Americans feel safer since it would be harder for one to get their hands on a gun. “The share of Americans who say gun laws in the U.S. should be made stricter has increased from 52% in 2017 to 60% this year, according to a survey conducted in September 2019” (Gramlich and Schaeffer 8). Americans want the reassurance that the process for purchasing guns will be more stringent so when they simply go to school or go to a concert they can feel safer. The government needs to observe and pay attention to the chaos happening in this country and take action. However, as seen in the media and news, there are complications that come with attempting to enforce stricter gun control legislation. “The U.S. Senate failed to advance new restrictions aimed at curtailing gun violence”. Even though the bill was going through the legislative process amidst the Pulse Nightclub shooting, which killed almost fifty people, the bill was still short of just six votes to pass through the Senate. One would think that Congress would take some action and not be against the reason behind these traumatic deaths.
There have been forty-five school shootings out of the 46 weeks this year, according to CNN. That’s approximately one shooting every week of the year. “Of those, 32 of them were at facilities serving Kindergarten through 12th grade”. That is 45 times where young students were forced to hide under desks or in bathrooms in fear. That is 45 times where teachers had to garner the bravery by putting their lives at risk to save their children. A school is supposed to be a safe space where the future generation gains knowledge but it is now a shooting range. This should not be the future. There needs to be newly, reformed gun restriction legislation, so the future generations learning where the best hiding spot when a shooter enters their school, does not become the norm. As the country urgently waits for Congress to make the correct and moral decision by expanding gun control laws, there are preventative actions schools could be taking to also lessen gun violence. As mentioned in Tim Walker’s article “Is Mental Health the Next Focus of the School Safety Debate?”, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said, “Proper diagnosis can and often starts in our schools, yet we continue to cut funding for school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists.” Many of these school shooting massacres are executed by students within the school, and it could be prevented by having mental health checks and proper diagnoses.
Some people think owning firearms is a fundamental right. Despite the many murders that occur because of the liberated access to guns, Americans still desire guns for protection. Those that are in support of owning guns have a multitude of reasons defending their claim of guns. “The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and three-in-ten American adults personally own a gun. Most of these gun owners say the right to own firearms is essential to their own personal sense of freedom” (Gramlich and Schaeffer 1). This perspective of gun control is based on the lifestyle when the American people were afraid of a tyrannical government. After coming out of a Revolutionary War, early Americans wanted to ensure that their rights would be protected from another abusive government. However, in the 21st century the American government is far displaced from a monarchy; the fear of a tyrannical government is not a rational fear for the time.
Living in a world filled with conflict and turbulence, the debate of gun control remains unanswered and the disheartening statistics continue to increase. However, as movements such as The March of Our Lives are introduced, the urgency for new laws increase. Whether or not one is for or against gun control laws, it should be an obvious decision to fix the current gun regulation laws to prevent more tragedies such as Sandy Hook, Columbine, and many others from happening again. Stricter gun legislation that can change the U.S. for the better by diminishing the amount of deaths due to gun violence, making Americans feel safer, and establish the foundations for the future. A change needs to be made. Thoughts and prayers are not enough and never will be.
- “Key Gun Violence Statistics.” Brady, 10 June 2019, www.bradyunited.org/key-statistics.
- “BETTER BACKGROUND CHECKS.” Everytown for Gun Safety, everytown.org/issue/background-checks/.
- Carol Schaeffer New York. “US Citizens Own 40% of All Guns in the World – More than next 25 Top-Ranked Countries Combined.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 19 June 2018, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/gun-ownership-country-us-legal-firearm-citizens-statistics-a8406941.html.
- Gramlich, John, and Katherine Schaeffer. “7 Facts about Guns in the U.S.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 22 Oct. 2019, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/10/22/facts-about-guns-in-united-states/.
- Greenberg, Anna, and David Walker. “Perspective | America Is Turning against Guns.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 9 Aug. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/08/09/how-americans-are-supporting-gun-control-wake-mass-shootings-like-el-paso/?arc404=true.
- Law, Tara. “Experts: We Need Background Checks, Though They Won’t Stop Many Mass Shootings.” Time, Time, 10 Aug. 2019, time.com/5648987/mass-shootings-background-checks/.
- PÉrez-peÑa, Richard. “Gun Control Explained.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 Oct. 2015, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/07/us/gun-control-explained.html.
- Siddiqui, Sabrina. “Senate Fails to Pass New Gun Control Restrictions in Wake of Orlando Shooting.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 20 June 2016, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/20/senate-gun-control-vote-orlando-shooting.
- Walker, Tim. “Is Mental Health the Next Focus of the School Safety Debate?” NEA Today, 28 Oct. 2015, neatoday.org/2013/12/13/is-mental-health-the-next-focus-of-the-school-safety-debate/.
- Wolfe, Elizabeth, and Christina Walker. “In 46 Weeks This Year, There Have Been 45 School Shootings.” CNN, Cable News Network, 17 Nov. 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/11/15/us/2019-us-school-shootings-trnd/index.html.