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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at New School chapter.

It has become very clear over the last few years that America has an obsession with guns. Guns are now an unhealthy part of American culture and are often glamorized by gun owners. Many refuse to enact regulations that would prevent scary statistics such as 96 Americans are killed by guns each day from becoming a fact. A great deal of gun violence stems from domestic violence and abusive significant others. Around 50 women are shot and killed by their intimate partners per month. It is time that we face the facts and realize that our country has a serious problem. In the United States, there are about 113 guns for every group of 100 people. That means there are more guns than people, which may be contributing to the current gun violence epidemic. Since Sandy Hook in 2012, there have been almost 1,600 mass shootings. The statistics are alarming and as a college undergraduate, I believe we have the power to make the change.

Gun safety practices are becoming more prominent because gun violence continues to rise in our country. More and more of our friends and peers are being murdered because of legislators who refuse to enact common sense gun regulations. An example of a way in which guns can be regulated is making it mandatory that guns and ammunition are kept separate from each other. However, you have a chance to participate in one easy, quick, and free way to save lives that may be able to change everything. Approximately 82% of guns are used in teen suicides and 75% of guns used in school shootings come from the home. Some of these senseless losses could have been prevented if the guns used were locked away or kept unloaded in a secure area.



One program that is trying to make a difference is Youth Over Guns, a youth-run organization that uses their resources to fund gun violence protection initiatives in communities of color. Since gun violence is more prominent in communities of color than white communities, their resources are targeted in areas that need the most attention. Youth Over Guns host marches to honor the lives of those lost due to gun-related violence. Youth advocates tell the stories of those who cannot tell their own stories due to the fact that they are no longer with us. Those advocates work to make many corners of the United States a better and safer place for their residents. Nobody should fear for their lives within their own homes and communities. People shouldn’t have to fear each other.

 Mental health services are not as available as they should be. Our president has deemed most forms of mental illness as pre-existing conditions, therefore, insurance coverage for treatment is harder to obtain. Politicians tend to blame mass shootings on the burden of mental illness yet, they do nothing to make a significant and impactful change for those suffering from mental health-related issues. Many Americans can’t even afford to pick up their medication from the pharmacy, making insurance and healthcare a privilege. However, if we consult our inalienable rights written in the United States Declaration of Independence, we will see that it states, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” If we are given the right to live, then how can people be denied access to the source that keeps them healthy and alive? Healthcare is a basic human right. Mental health reform would, without a doubt, lessen the suicide rate in the United States.

 We should live in a society where we want to see our peers, role models, friends,and parents celebrate more birthdays. Like most of us, I am tired of mourning the passing of those who weren’t fortunate enough to avoid the epidemic that is gun violence. Life should be about celebrating the lives of people, not the passing of them. In order to do that, we need to assure each and every person’s life is worthy of protection.  

One way we can all help to fight back against gun violence is to participate in ASK Day, June 21st! It is a practical initiative that encourages people to ask their family and friends if they are in possession of firearms and if they are stored safely. This conversation can be tough and knowing How To ASK If Guns In Your Community Are Safely Stored requires courage and resilience. We hope by getting people involved in ASK Day we can leverage the power that the government has on gun safety by taking matters into our own hands. Safe modes of storage can save lives by keeping guns out of hands in which they don’t belong.

If you're interested HCTNS, please e-mail us at hc.newschool@hercampus.com