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Should the USA have more gun control?

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Should the USA have more gun control?

Genny Kootsouradis, Staff Writer

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Citizens in the United States are often passionately for or against gun control, the set of laws that regulates the selling and usage of guns. With shootings occurring more often than ever, the country is divided as to what the government should decide.

There have been approximately 65 mass shootings in 2018 alone. That would be around 9 shootings per week if these attacks were consistent. Many of these cases had many injuries, but not any deaths. The shooting with the most deaths so far this year would be the Florida Parkland shooting, which resulted in 17 deaths and 17 injuries.

As of the end of May, more American people had been killed while in schools than in active military duty.

Is this a world-wide problem or an American problem? CNN claims that gun homicide rates are  25% higher in the US that in any other high-income country and that Americans are 51 times more  likely to be killed by gunfire than people in the United Kingdom. The US also has the most guns. Even though the US represents just 5% of the world’s population, its citizens own 48% of the world’s guns.  About 310 million guns are the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if the number of deaths and the international comparisons are so compelling, why doesn’t the US have stronger gun control? Citizens argue that taking away guns is violating their second amendment rights. The second amendment states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” To “bear arms” means the right to have weapons. This doesn’t necessarily mean only guns, but it includes guns. Thus, if the government  banned or limited guns, it wouldn’t necessarily be violating the rights of the people, because the law wouldn’t be taking away all weapons, just harmful firearms.

Studies have shown that many of these mass shootings come from illegal firearms. If there were more restrictions and cautions taken, there would be less of a chance for those who wish to do harm to get a hold of firearms. It is also backed by research that people who have access to guns are more violent. It is also shown that people who have access to firearms have a 40 percent higher homicide risk. There is also more of a risk of firearm-related suicide if one has access to a gun. And due to arguably lax screening policies, even though some people shouldn’t own firearms (those with a history of violence or mental illness, for example), they can still get a hold of them.

When it comes to gun control, many advocates don’t mean to get rid of firearms entirely. Even a restriction or a license to own firearms would help. For example, people who hunt have a license, which allows them access to hunting guns.

Although gun control and less deaths seems very positive, some people argue that there are some negatives to gun control. One example includes the fact that even though people already get guns illegally, this illegal gun market will simply expand with more gun control. There will be more black-market sales of guns or more thefts of guns. It is also claimed that even though guns might get banned or lessened, people who wish to do harm can still attack others with a different weapons: cars, bombs, or even a simple knife.

Angelie Ball, an eighth-grade MMS student, was questioned on her opinions regarding gun control. She said that people don’t need guns. Children having access to guns is a bad idea to her. Ball stated that even if someone has a gun for self defense, it is often kept locked up. So if there is a situation where they actually need a gun for self defense, it will likely be useless. “What are you going to do? Say ‘Hold on, let me get my gun’?” said Angelie. She agreed that people can still attack without guns, but it’ll be more difficult and less effective.

Another eighth grade student, Maya Barth, believes that handguns, like pistols, should be illegal to carry around with you. “It’s so much easier to conceal a small handgun if you’re going to shoot a place up.”

Camila Sardo-Longo, when asked for opinions, said simply, “I don’t like guns.” She also said, “I think the second amendment was put in place in a time when assault rifles didn’t exist and there wasn’t such a need for gun control.”

Vaishnavi Nayak, eighth-grade student, was interviewed as well. She believes guns, at times, can be good. “I’m not one of those people who believe you should ban guns. I just want stricter gun laws rather than people outright banning them.” When asked if she would like teachers to own guns, an idea proposed by some–including President Trump–to protect students, she replied, “I don’t think teachers need to have guns. Police officers owning guns is enough.” She also said, “I won’t be comfortable thinking my teacher has a gun.”

Jaden Hartmann said, “People shouldn’t own big guns.”  Robert Curtis conceded, “It’s so controversial, I can’t have an opinion.”

Mr. Carlson stated that “regardless of our right to own guns, we also have the right to be alive.” He thinks that this right to be alive overpowers the right to bear arms. The idea of bad guys with guns getting stopped by good guys with guns terrifies him. “Even police and military people can miss a shot,” he explained. Very few people know how to react when one pulls out a gun, or when one starts to shoot a large crowd.

Recently the government has debated about allowing teachers to own guns. Mr. Carlson said, “I hope it never comes to the point where teachers own guns.” He believes that a student should feel safe and should not be walking into a building where the adults are carrying guns. “A gun kills people. There’s not another use for it really.”

“We have a problem with violence in this country,” he added. While he concedes that mental health in America is important, he thinks blaming that alone is oversimplifying.

Yet, Mr. Carlson understands why the second amendment is there. “If we repeal the second amendment, who’s going to prevent our country from repealing the other amendments?” He supports people having guns in their homes for self-defense but thinks there should be limits.

Another teacher, Mrs Shaffer, supports the second amendment. “Bad people are always going to find ways to get weapons,” she said. She believes some things should be changed, such as a stricter screening process. Shaffer thinks that military weapons should not be allowed. “You’re not going to need a military-grade weapon for self-defense.”

Guns are useful for defense and other hobbies, such as target-shooting and hunting. The right to own guns is written in our Constitution, so people should be allowed to have them. But how can restrictions be applied in a way that protects citizens’ rights while also protecting the public from harm?  Does it have to be all or nothing?  With the victims of gun-related killings growing each day, is a change in current policy needed?

 

 

 

 

 

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Should the USA have more gun control?