The gun problem should not be ignored

The gun problem in America is one that has been occurring ever since the Columbine shootings in 1999, yet the government has done little to make a change.


by Aspen Cherrito, Instagram and Facebook Editor

Two months into 2018 and the United States has already had 18 mass shootings, an average of 3 per week. Nearly 1 in 3 victims of mass shootings in the U.S. is a child and more than 135,000 children have experienced a school shooting, yet despite these hard facts America owns nearly half the world’s civilian guns and laws to prevent another mass shooting have just been pushed aside.

After the recent shooting in Parkland, FL where 17 people were killed, 14 being children, the debate around guns has once again receiving more coverage than normal. The survivors have been using their voices, starting campaigns and even inspiring a national school walkout across the nation.

What they are campaigning for isn’t that crazy. All they want the same common sense measures that restrict kids from smoking, drinking alcohol or driving vehicles.

The attacker, a former student of the school, allegedly used an AR-15 rifle that he had bought legally, and owned ten other guns. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that people have hobbies such as hunting, but why do you need an AR-15? Why does someone need to own ten guns? In general, personally I’m not the biggest fan of gun ‘hobbies’ due to hundreds of innocent people dying a year. Let’s say this; I love dogs, they are my favorite thing in the entire world. But let’s say dogs were responsible for the death of millions of innocent people a year, then sure, we don’t need dogs.

The sad thing is that mass shootings only represent a tiny share of all shooting deaths people deemed a danger to society. Studies have shown the factor of just having a gun in a house is dangerous if not stored properly. In homes with guns, suicide and cases of domestic violence are more common. There are more gun suicides than gun homicides in America and there is an average of 88 guns per 100 people, according to the 2011 Small Arms Survey.

In Florida, fingerprints, a special permit or even a waiting period to buy a gun are not required, this is common in some parts of the US. A background check is conducted only in store purchases, but even then the sale of guns on the black market have skyrocketed.

Hundreds of stores sell guns, from big chains like Walmart or Dick’s Sporting Goods, but thankfully they have put in a new law requiring the buyer to be 21, rather than 18. Despite this, you can still attend one of the dozens of gun shows that take place almost every weekend nationwide or buy guns from neighbors or family members.

In 1991 the Texas diner massacre occurred and 22 people were gunned down. but Instead of making more restrictive gun laws, Congress did the opposite and passed concealed carry laws. After Sandy Hook, it got worse. A total of 27 states passed 93 laws to allow citizens to carry firearms wherever they please. The United States has been the only country to relax our gun laws after hundreds of mass shootings, and there are 3.2 fatal shootings for every 100,000 citizens.

The solution isn’t that hard. As the Parkland students have been stating, all they want is gun control laws. We, the students, are the only ones who can solve this issue. We must be the adults in the situation, so rally to everyone you know, become an activist, write and do all you can do to change the future of us.

States that require background checks for all handgun sales experience significantly fewer mass shootings, 52% fewer mass shootings to be specific. Yet, despite this uproar, recent proposals have been even milder, taking small steps like banning bump stocks or slightly improving the existing system for background checks.

In 1996, a 28-year-old man in Australia conducted a mass shooting, known as the Port Arthur Massacre. Thirty-five people were killed and 18 were injured, making it the worst and last mass shooting in Australia, as of March of 2018.

As soon as possible after this event Australia passed the National Firearms Agreement. Under this law, Australia banned certain guns and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements. A mandatory buyback program for firearms was in place, leading the Australian public to sell back their 640,000 prohibited firearms and 60,000 non-prohibited back to the government. One study says that the program reduced the number of guns in private hands by 20 percent.

Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since, so why is it so hard for the United States to take action on such a prevalent issue in our country? It’s all about the culture, 74% of US gun owners say the right to own a gun is “essential” to their freedom, according to Pew Research, while only 44% believe that the ease with which people can legally obtain guns contributes at least a fair amount to gun violence.

In the first half of 2015 alone, 6,800 Americans were shot dead, leaving the United States to be rated significantly worse than any other nation in the West. As Thomas Jefferson said “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing,” which is exactly what we need. I personally invite you to sign a petition on to help regulate gun laws and to boycott the NRA for allowing the deaths of hundreds of innocent kids, all in the greed of money.