By Brenda Sarabia
For the past couple years, the topic of gun control has become one of great debate among the American people due to the increase of mass shootings in our nation. Many believe putting restrictions on guns is a violation of our rights as U.S. citizens. Considering how often these slaughters are happening nowadays though, it really shouldn’t be a question as to whether or not to revise this right. From the beginning of 2015 all the way to Oct. 1 there have been nearly 300 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the Mass Shooting Tracker. The death toll is over 1,000 with a little more than 3,000 injured. At this point, mass shootings should no longer come as a surprise considering how often they occur as well how close to home they can be. On Oct. 11, a student at nearby University of South Florida opened fire on the residence hall where he lived. Luckily no one was injured, however this event shows that situations like these can happen anywhere.
Although the Second Amendment states that “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed,” something needs to be done. Anti-gun control supporters can continue to argue all they want, but they can’t ignore the pain and suffering these events have inflicted on our nation. We can’t be fully trusted with these weapons anymore. By taking advantage of this one inessential right, another is being taken away that has been declared inalienable by our Declaration of Independence: the right to life. You can’t use the Bill of Rights to justify death. The right to live definitely outweighs the privilege to own a firearm.
And yes it is most definitely a privilege. You do not need a gun to survive. If other nations can handle not having a gun at all, why can’t we accept a little restriction? I don’t believe guns should be outlawed completely, however the government needs to add more stipulations when it comes to who and how a firearm is sold. A deadly weapon should not be so easily obtained. The government isn’t trying to take away our rights as citizens of the U.S, but something needs to be done to stop these slaughters from happening.
Countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia have some of the toughest gun laws in the world. Citizens of the UK have to go through mountains of paperwork and must prove to the authorities that they are not a danger to society, according to BBC News. Australia put a limit on how much ammo can be purchased, and licenses can be refused or terminated if the buyer had a violent offense within the past five years. Within the first decade of these new restrictions, the gun homicide rate dropped by 59%, according to the Library of Congress and the Washington Post. And both countries implemented a law stating that if for any reason, the owner no longer seems fit to have a weapon, it can be taken away. Maybe it’s about time we follow their example.
I come from Texas where a good handful of people own guns. Everyone I know has at least one or two in their household. Therefore I can understand the need for a plain handgun when it comes to defending your property and your family. However, I also know that a gun is not a toy and should not be easily obtained as such. I grew up hearing rounds being fired in my neighborhood every night as if they were fireworks. I never really knew if those shots were directed at somebody or if they were just being shot for fun, but either way I would prefer not to find out. There were even a few times in high school where someone decided to bring a gun, though luckily my school was always prepared to handle the situation before it could escalate to something fatal. This was pretty normal throughout my childhood and it really shouldn’t have been.
There are many who use the argument “guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Although it’s true that a gun can’t pull its own trigger, it can still end a life if used by the wrong person. Contrary to what the media is stating, this doesn’t solely include the mentally ill. Dylann Roof, the Charleston Church shooter, admitted he had planned the massacre in order to start a race war, according to Western Journalism. James Holmes, the Aurora theatre shooter, was stated to be “so psychotic he could not tell right from wrong” when he killed those people, according to The Huffington Post. One knew exactly what he was doing while the other didn’t, therefore the problem isn’t with mental health. It’s the increasing obsession with violence and the behavior it brings out. The government needs to implement new regulations that evaluate the mental stability and behavioral patterns of a potential buyer to determine whether they are well enough to own a firearm.
Though it’s hard to figure out where exactly this epidemic started, one thing is certain. Something must be done to combat this rising trend. No parent should have to hear that their child was shot dead at school. And small children should not have to worry that a stranger will come into their classroom and send them on an early trip to heaven. A course of action needs to be taken soon because for all we know, we might be next.