The debate on gun control


Jordan Bryant, staff writer

The debate on whether or not the United States of America should restrict guns due to the tremendous amount of gun violence happening daily has been a fight against the people for decades. Americans own 48% of the estimated 650 million registered, civilian-owned guns worldwide, and the United States’ gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than other high-income countries, according to a recent study. The phrase “guns don’t hurt people, people hurt people,” is a very common argument heard from those who are against gun control. However, the 310 mass shooting occurrences, in 2017 alone, and the 33,000 gun deaths a year, have proved that guns do, in fact, hurt people.

Something, anything, has to change. Since the horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, there have been over 1,500 mass shootings in the United States, with more than 1,700 people killed and 6,000 severely injured, as of October 2017. Although the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, this doesn’t mean we cannot make changes. We can make specific amendments, as we have multiple times in the past. For example, when the constitution was first created, women and African Americans were not allowed to vote. Therefore they had little to no written rights. However, as we grew more aware of our sexist and racist views in America, we made amendments for women and African Americans to, finally, have the rights that white men have, such as the right to vote and many other rights as well.

Gun control has proven to be effective in the United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, and Australia. In 2011, the U.K. had 0.07 gun homicides for every 100,000 people, while, in contrast, the U.S. had over 3.5 gun homicides for every 100,000 people. The country of Israel may have been a surprising name in the list due to racist views of middle eastern countries, however its gun homicide rates are lower than the United States, comparing at 1 per 100,000 people. Japan is notoriously known for having the strictest gun laws, and because of this, in 2008 there were 11 total gun homicides. Australia has also recently become infamous due to its recent implication of gun control laws when a mass shooter killed 35 citizens in 1996 at the Port Arthur tourist location in Tasmania. Since then, there has not been a single mass shooting occurrence, and the number of gun-related deaths has been slowly declining. These countries all have strict gun control laws and it has proven to be extremely effective.

The law’s provision on the mentally ill is extremely inefficient. The law forbids gun possession by a person “adjudicated as a mental defective” by a court or other authority. Most people with serious mental illnesses never go to court to receive this, therefore they are never registered as mentally unable to carry. President Donald Trump rushes to call American mass shooters “mentally ill,” however if they were mentally-ill, then they shouldn’t have been able to acquire weapons of such sort in the first place, let alone military weapons with indefinite amounts of ammunition. At the very least, the United States government must do something to fill up the loopholes in the government systems which allow people with serious mental-illnesses to equip a firearm.

There are serious issues with the little amount of gun laws and regulations that the United States has issued. In order to protect our friends, families and citizens of our wonderful country, we have to start doing what will help the most, and it has been proven that gun control is the best way.