Throughout the United States, schools, stores, and other public areas have been devastated by frequent mass shootings. Our news feeds are filled with information on gun violence within communities all over the country and parents have admitted a fear of sending their children to school and never getting to see them again.
How can students be expected to go to school and learn in what is supposed to be a ‘safe place’ when they hear about kids their age dying in that same environment? Furthermore, how can we as a society be expected to go about our daily lives with the underlying anxiety of a shooting being right around the corner from our homes?
According to a statistic compiled by the CDC, 79% of deaths caused by homicides in the United States in 2020 were due to gun violence. This number is excessive compared to Australia’s 13% and the United Kingdom’s 4%. And the cause for this high percentage? The United States has the highest number of firearms per resident out of every country by a large margin. According to a Small Arms Survey conducted in 2018, per 100 residents in the United States, an average of 120.5 firearms are owned. The highest number within this statistic is Yemen’s, with only 52.8 firearms on average per 100 residents. With such a high gun ownership ratio within the United States, there is no question as to why gun violence rates are so high and constantly increasing.
On May 24th, at Robb Elementary School in Texas, a shooting occurred. At least 19 children and two teachers were killed. They were killed because of the lack of regulation within the United States regarding gun laws. A parent of a victim of the shooting stated, “...now her daughter is gone, and she will never get to hold her again”. The loss of life due to the underlying issue of nonexistent gun control within the United States is devastating. But there is also the matter of the fear it invokes in individuals. Parents and children don’t trust schools as safe places anymore. These shootings disrupt education and communities drastically.
The solution many advocates and politicians have offered seems simple: limiting gun access and placing more regulations on gun ownership. However, individuals not in support of these restrictions have argued that the individuals committing crimes related to gun violence are criminals and will, therefore, not follow the regulations to obtain a gun. So how does keeping regulations in place that, in some people’s eyes, violate their second amendment right help if it doesn’t impact those that are causing the problem?
The reason these regulations are necessary is that it limits the amount of civilian access to firearms. If a law-abiding citizen goes through the proper channels to own a gun, that is their business, responsibility, and right as an American. However, an issue emerges when regulations in some states allow 18-year-olds to purchase assault weapons legally. An 18-year-old is a newly turned adult. Some of them are still in school. So how can we let an individual still in school own a weapon that can cause the deaths of hundreds in minutes?
Based on the climate of the United States regarding the issue of gun regulations, there is a lot of work to be done before both sides can come to an agreement. President Biden recently issued a statement speaking on the action that must be taken in order to ensure a safer America. The mass shootings are threatening the livelihood of anyone living in the United States and therefore need to be addressed to continue moving forward as a society. And the only way to do so? By implementing stricter firearm regulations and gun control laws.