Gun Safety

Braden Hamelin, Staff Writer

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It’s Sunday, November 5th, I wake up to the late morning sun shining through the window. Groggily rising out of bed, the Sunday news carries up into my room. The first word I pick out is, “Mass shooting,” and my ears immediately perk up. The worst part, it doesn’t surprise me much at all anymore.  

Six of the top ten deadliest mass shootings in the U.S have taken place since 2007. Ten years, six horrific shootings, and the carnage seems to have no sign of stopping. When it’s been under two weeks since the last mass shooting, it’s hard to realize that we have to talk about a more recent shooting, this time in California.  

The story remains the same every time, someone who wasn’t supposed to have access to weapons, or at least not the type of weapons they had, builds an arsenal and rains death upon innocent people. Then in the weeks and days following the country mourns the event and wonders how it could’ve happened, while politicians go on television and condemn the act.  

The problem is that no one can agree on how to fix the problem, so we wait in terrified anticipation for the next news segment relaying news of another shooting. The issue is tremendously complicated, but some change, any change, needs to be made. It’s been proven all around the world that gun safety and stricter laws surrounding the sale of firearms leads to significantly less gun deaths.  

The U.S the highest firearm ownership rate in the world, doubling Switzerland, the next closest country, with over 88 guns per 100 people. It also has the highest gun deaths per 100,000 people with over four times the amount than the next closest country. This weakens the argument that more guns prevent deaths, as the worldwide trend is directly correlated to less guns, less deaths.  

Guns are a part of America’s culture, and it’ll take a lot to change that. The right to ownership of firearms is one of the rights held most dear to plenty of citizens.  The Texas church shooting was stopped by a combat veteran with a rifle. The ownership of guns themselves are not the problem entirely. The issue is the many deaths that come from people who abuse their Second Amendment right and commit crimes, homicides, and mass shootings with their guns.  

Any citizen who legitimately wants a weapon for personal protection or hunting purposes should be able to have one. Anyone who is a law abiding, responsible citizen should have the option of purchasing a gun. But the question comes: How much firepower is too much firepower?  

What we need to do to maintain our rights while having safe and secure communities is to implement much more thorough background checks, as nothing can prevent more deaths than making sure that weapons are in the hands of responsible people. It’s really unreasonable that it’s harder to adopt a puppy than a gun. Can a puppy kill people en masse? The answer is no, and laws absolutely should reflect that.  

Another common-sense change would be the prevention of anyone from attaining a combat issue weapon that can kill multiple targets in seconds with ease. If a few robbers break into your house, the most reasonable form of protection is a small handgun. Why would we sell weapons whose only purpose is to kill as much as possible as quickly as possible? 

All it takes is a few easy laws that are agreed upon by most of the general public to create change that leads to a safer society. Lawmakers represent the public, not the gun industry, and if they listen to the demands of the people, maybe, just maybe, there is no next time.  

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