By Sarah Tice
On Aug. 29, a 13-year-old girl was injured on the Arizona freeway by flying glass from a car window being shot. Many similar incidents on that freeway have been reported since. Just a few short weeks later on Sept. 14, another shooting occurred, this time in Mississippi. Shannon Lamb, a professor at Delta State University, fatally shot another professor, Dr. Ethan Schmidt. Lamb also shot his supposed girlfriend, Amy Prentiss, at her home in Mississippi. Lamb committed suicide a few days after the crimes were committed. Both of these shootings occurred within weeks of each other and drew heavy media coverage.
Gun violence is a major issue in the United States and it happens quite frequently. How many more incidents need to occur before we make a change? The bottom line is, the United States needs stricter gun regulation. According to the Washington Post, the United States has a higher gun violence rate (an estimated 30,000 firearm deaths annually) than Australia, France, Canada, and Germany, among others. In 1996, Australia removed one million guns out of circulation following one of their biggest massacres, a CNN report said. The country banned rapid-fire rifles and shotguns soon after and also introduced an effective buy-back policy. The Washington Post states that following the increase of gun control, Australia’s homicide rate fell by 59 percent and the suicide rate fell by 65 percent. So America, what are we waiting for?
The United States is in desperate need of gun regulation, however not everybody agrees. The main issue people have with gun restrictions is the belief that changing these laws will violate the Second Amendment: the right to bear arms. Stricter gun laws do not take away this right. We who are for stricter gun regulations are not asking for the complete recall of guns, but rather we are asking to make obtaining a gun more difficult, as many fall into the wrong hands. Australia’s methods seemed to work, so we should follow by their example. If we do, we could see a significant decrease in gun-related violence.
We must begin by implementing stricter background checks, banning assault weapons and enforcing mandatory waiting periods. Thorough background checks will shed more light on the person trying to buy the gun. Moreover, anyone with a criminal history or someone mentally disturbed shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun. Banning assault weapons like semi-automatics is another no-brainer, as they were originally created for the military, not civilian use. Lastly, enforcing mandatory waiting periods helps guard against impulsive acts of violence such as massacres and suicides.
With the country’s attention scattered in a million different directions, it appears gun laws are not changing anytime soon, even though we are in need of change. Gun regulation could save hundreds of lives each day and thousands of lives each year. We, as a country, need to take action and make sure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands and that massacres and incidents involving guns cease to exist.