The US Has a Gun Problem and We Need to Have a Conversation About It

 

There seems to be a pattern with every mass shooting that occurs in the United States. It goes like this: the shooting, it’s all over the news for a few days, politicians give their  condolences and prayers, the gun control debate follows, the general public and victims express their support for gun control laws, conservatives blame mental illness and continue on the good side of the NRA (National Riffle Association), and then the debate dies down until the next mass shooting occurs. It happened after Sandy Hook, San Bernadino, Pulse, Las Vegas, and the list goes on.

This pattern once again repeated itself in the US at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old ex-student, killed 17 people and injured 14 using an AR-15 style semi-automatic riffle he had previously purchased. The shooting reignited the gun control debate.

 In many states, people can legally buy a gun before they can buy a beer. With the United States being the country with the most mass shootings, most would think lawmakers would create tougher gun control laws. However, public opinion is divided on the issue. There are two sides of this debate; one side favors gun control, while the other believes that owning a gun is a fundamental freedom and a constitutional right. Although the second amendment of the constitution states that people have the right to bear arms, it is obvious that this is outdated. Why would someone need to own a riffle? Or any other type of gun? Some answer this by saying that it is their right and that guns are harmless and that it’s for protection. However, since when is being able to own something that could instantly kill another okay? Guns are dangerous and this is a fact.

People are dying; they fear going to school, nightclubs, music festivals, and many other common public places. Politicians cannot say that they are doing enough to keep the public safe because no significant gun control law has been passed. Instead, conservatives opt for saying that it’s not the gun’s fault and they proceed to blame it on mental illness. This is not the truth; several studies, like this one: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/vio.2015.0006, have shown most people who commit mass murder are not mentally ill.

America has a gun problem and whoever chooses to not acknowledge this clearly does not want to. There are too many guns, not enough laws that protect citizens from being killed, and way too many people who do not want to do anything about it yet they have the power to create and enact legislation that would lower the incidence of mass shootings. Condolences and prayers are not enough, people are being killed and the next mass shooting will happen any day now. Many times this issue has been brought up, but right now is the time to talk about gun control and actually do something about it before many more innocent people lose their life because an individual was able to buy a riffle, or any other type of gun, like it was a beverage.

Florida survivors of the latest mass shoting have become activists for gun control and they have planned the “March for our lives” on March 24. This march will see people come together on the streets of Washington D.C as they march to demand that their safety and lives are prioritized as well as that they the end gun violence and mass shootings in schools. For more information and to donate, visit their website here: https://www.marchforourlives.com/ 

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