It is Possible to Stop Mass Shootings!
On Nov. 14, 4 people were killed by a gunman in Northern California. On Nov. 5, 25 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. On Oct. 21, 58 people were killed when Stephen Paddock flooded the crowd of a country concert with gunfire. In June of 2016, 49 people were killed in Orlando, Florida when a man opened fire at Pulse nightclub. These numbers have continued to rise, leaving America in constant fear of gun violence. America has the worst gun violence rate compared to any other country, making it evident that changes need to be made.
Currently, it is easier to obtain a gun then a driver's license, abortion, or a marriage license. Gun laws in the United States vary from state to state in their intensity, making the subject fluid and difficult to address. Since it is not a simple issue, gun laws have been passed aside recently. As stated by the National Rifle Association, 12 states in the country allow citizens to carry guns without permits. With little focus on background checks, and no permits, these states’ laws increase the risk of gun violence. Other countries, like Australia, reveal what universal gun regulations can accomplish.
In Australia, gun laws are extremely comprehensive and strict. For instance, citizens wishing to obtain a gun permit must undergo a 28 day waiting period. They also require that every firearm receive an individual permit. Most importantly, there is an almost complete ban on semiautomatic and automatic long firearms. These laws have had increasingly positive results.
Since these reforms were made in 1996, there have been zero mass shootings in Australia. Obama addressed this point in his 2015 speech in response to the shooting at a community college in Oregon, which left 9 people dead. He stated “We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.”
One of the key arguments against gun control is the Second Amendment, which gives citizens the right to bear arms. Many argue that the amendment allows for the freedom that our country was founded on, and adding more gun laws would go against this right. This argument is easily dismissed by the simple fact that our technology has advanced beyond the expectations that our founders had in the 1700s when the Second Amendment was passed. Not only are guns more powerful, they also have the capability to kill 58 people in a matter of minutes, as seen in the Las Vegas Shooting. The advancement in gun technology leaves this rule outdated, and it can not be expected to constitute a society that has 300 years of technological progress.
Gun control is not only a problem of changing rules, but of morals as well. It is beyond appalling to wake up to the news of 49 people killed in a nightclub. As seen in other countries, it is possible to get rid of mass shootings. It is evident that reforming our gun laws will simply save lives. As Obama ended his 2015 speech, he said “I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as President to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as President, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say. And it can change.” Two months later, Obama had to give a speech on the San Bernardino shooting which left 14 people dead, their family and friends deeply saddened.
His lasting words of this speech reach out to America in need for hope and change: “Let's not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear; that we have always met challenges -- whether war or depression, natural disasters or terrorist attacks -- by coming together around our common ideals as one nation, as one people. So long as we stay true to that tradition, I have no doubt America will prevail.”