The United States has gained
quite a reputation for being gun happy among the industrialized world. Unfortunately,
the data only supports our notoriety. Although
complete data for 2017 has yet to be released, over 420 mass shootings
have taken place. That breaks down to more than one mass shooting a day. These
numbers don’t even consider those countless other smaller acts of gun violence.
numbers aren’t normal. Examining statistics from other countries reveals startling
data. Oher industrialized countries just don’t seem to have the same gun
problem we do. There are a lot of different factors that need to be considered.
However, no one can argue that their stricter gun control laws have nothing to
do with this.
surprisingly, there is a correlation
between gun ownership and gun violence. Also not surprising is that Americans own
a lot of guns. Although only 37%
of Americans report having a gun in their household, the U.S. has the
highest firearm to civilian ratio in the world.
Estimates claim that there are
anywhere between 270 million and 310 million firearms owned by civilians in the
U.S. alone. Research has provided countless pieces of evidence demonstrating
the danger associated with such numbers. Yet, the U.S. continues to have some
of the most lenient gun control laws of the industrialized world.
would the federal government allow such detrimental policies? They continue to
allow gun regulation to be dictated by an amendment passed back in 1791. The second
amendment argues that Americans have the rights to “bear arms.”
a lot of controversy surrounding exactly
what this right means. All that is clear is that it was implemented in order to
prevent the government from prohibiting weapons. Considering the political
climate of the time, this law served an important purpose. However, it is not
amendment was written during the infancy of the U.S. A lot has changed over the
last two centuries. We need to make changes to our laws accordingly. While the
rights of the constitution were meant to protect the people, they are unable to
keep up with technological advances and cultural shifts.
the second amendment to defend your handgun or hunting rifle is debatable.
Using the second amendment to justify your AK-47 is ridiculous. The second
amendment was written nearly a century before the first machine gun was even invented.
There is a huge difference between the firearms that existed back in 1791 and
the machine guns available today. There is no justifiable reason to why a
civilian should be entitled to one as a God-given right.
guns do a lot more damage than your typical firearm. They can fire multiple
rounds of ammunition without reloading with the single pull of a trigger. These
guns were not designed for hunting sport or personal defense. They were
designed by militia with one intention in mind -killing masses.
no better evidence for the sheer destruction these weapons can cause than the
tragic mass shooting in Las
Vegas in 2017. Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of over 22,000 people
with a fully-automatic machine gun. He took the lives of 58 and left more than
500 injured before turning the gun on himself. Having the access to the military-grade
weapon allowed him to commit the largest mass shooting in American history.
This kind of gun ownership serves
no other purpose than to show off or cause tragedy. This is not the kind of
weapon that the second amendment could have even predicted. How can someone
argue the centuries old amendment supports this?
Although the government has taken
some legal measures against machine guns (such as banning the sale of new
fully-automatic rifles), it clearly isn’t enough. Although difficult, it is still
perfectly legal to obtain one of the guns registered before 1986 which got
grandfathered in to the new legislation. Even with the number of extensive fees
and restrictions put in place to discourage this kind of gun ownership,
obtaining one is still legal.
as legally obtaining a machine gun is possible, it is possible for it to fall
into the wrong hands. Without serving any real purpose, allowing any civilian
machine gun ownership outside of the military seems like a risk that isn’t
this ban on military grade weapons would not infringe on the rights of other
gun owners. These weapons are relatively rare and are not the kind of thing
your grandpa keeps in the shed for deer. Still, we as a nation have failed to implement
these stricter gun control laws without facing significant resistance.
favor of keeping all weapons legal often have arguments surrounding the
principal of ownership. These people argue that they want to limit government
involvement and maintain their rights as declared in the constitution. Although
I can understand the argument for a limited government, there comes a time
where you have to evaluate your priorities.
are other things more important than preserving the rights to own military
grade assault weapons, such as keeping guns out of churches and schools. We
should be working to reduce the number of mass shootings we have. We need to
start following the example of other industrialized nations who have abandoned
lenient gun ownership laws in favor of safety.
We have to
decide whether we would rather be a nation with excessively lenient gun ownership,
or a nation that does what it can to keep its citizens safe. Data shows we
can’t have both. Keeping our citizens safe is more important than being able to
bragging about owning a military grade weapon. No one is entitled to own an instrument of such destruction.