Student Gallery: Essay

America’s Gun Crisis: Why Haven’t We Learned?

Riley, De Toledo High School

Would you want to grow up without your uncle? Well, I did. My uncle was shot when I was just ten years old.

One would think that the United States, a progressive, advanced country would enforce stricter laws regarding the ownership and handling of firearms. However, the United States’ lack of regulation of their immense number of guns has led to many tragedies and will continue to lead to even more.

A mass shooting is defined as a casualty involving four or more people being shot, not necessarily killed. According to gun violence archives, there have been more than 2,600 people reported to have been shot and killed in the United States in 2018. For reference, it has been only 68 days since 2018 started, resulting in an average of approximately 38 deaths due to guns each day; a monstrous amount compared to any other country. Although Americans only make up approximately 4.4% of the world population, they “own 42 percent of the world’s guns” (Fisher and Keller).

Although it is a Second Amendment right to bear arms, many Americans recognize that this amendment has become outdated and should therefore be repealed for the safety of the American people. Historically, it has been proven that the government can ratify and repeal amendments; so how come our government is failing to rescind an amendment that has become so outdated and is now risking the lives of many?

Even though fatal scenarios involving guns have continuously occurred, including the Vegas shooting, the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the Orlando Nightclub shooting, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Florida, the United States government has yet to enforce any effective gun control laws. With the government repeatedly denying bills trying to pass laws to enforce safer gun control, the question remains: How much worse can the gun problem seriously get before action is taken? Since America has been unable to decrease casualties involving guns, we might be able to learn learn from Australia how to implement stricter regulations and guidelines for owning and using a firearm.

In 1996, Australia suffered a horrific, fatal mass shooting in which a gunman shot and killed 35 people. Following this drastic event, the Australian government did not hesitate to take action. Unlike the United States’ failed attempts from 1994-2004 to ban assault weapons, Australia has successfully banned the use of both semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Additionally, Australia’s process for buying and handling a gun is much more sophisticated and arduous than ours. The process includes a 28-day waiting period, multiple background checks, and a ‘justifiable reason’ for owning the gun. In changing and refining their gun use and ownership laws, Australia has not suffered a mass shooting since 1996.

As our federal government continues to disappoint Americans with its inability to control the gun crisis in America, it may be up to local governments to make a change. On March 14, schools across the nation are going to be participating in student led walkouts in protest and disgust of our government’s continuous disregard to regulate gun control. Although student action is powerful and prevalent in our world today, it shouldn’t have to be relied on. I should be a teenager, learning, enjoying my life and not having to walk out of school due to the government’s inability to set strict, proper regulations on weapons that do more killing than good.

In many cities throughout the country there are marches supporting women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. Luckily, on March 24, March for Our Lives is taking place in numerous cities nationwide stressing the need and expediency for gun control and safety in America. We as Americans have a voice that we must use to influence our government to make necessary changes for the safety and security of all Americans. We mustn’t back down in fear that we will be shut down. We must speak to our individual congressmen and advocate for change, even if it just starts in one place. We must spread our power through our voices and beliefs until America is a safer country with harsh, proper gun control laws.

Without essential laws regarding gun ownership and usage, shootings will inevitably continue to occur. Americans’ easy access to firearms must be restrained. You wouldn’t want another kid having to grow up without their uncle, would you?

Works Cited
Anonymous. “Opinion | What We Don’t Know Is Killing Us.” ​The New York Times​, The New York Times, 26 Jan. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2018.

Beck, Katie. “Are Australia’s Gun Laws the Solution for the US?” ​BBC News​, The BBC, 4 Oct. 2017. Web. 16 Jan. 2018.

Bergen, Peter. “America’s Unyielding Plague of Gun Violence.” ​CNN​, Cable News Network, 6 Nov. 2017. Web. 16 Jan. 2018.

The Editorial Board. “511 Days. 555 Mass Shootings. Zero Action from Congress.” ​The New York Times​, The New York Times, 2 Oct. 2017. Web. 19 Jan. 2018.

Fisher, Max, and Josh Keller. “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer.” ​The New York Times​, The New York Times, 7 Nov. 2017. Web. 17 Jan. 2018.

Gun Violence Archive. “Gun Violence Archive.” Gun Violence Archive, 2018. Web. 8 March 2018.

Plumer, Brad. “Everything You Need to Know about the Assault Weapons Ban, in One Post.”​The Washington Post​, WP Company, 17 Dec. 2012. Web. 21 Jan. 2018.

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