Gun control is needed to keep America safe

One thousand seventy-seven is the number of lives lost to mass shootings since Aug. 1 1996. One hundred fifty is the number of mass shootings in America since this date. Two hundred ninety-two guns were involved; 167 of these guns were obtained through legal procedures. Only 49 guns have been proven to be gotten illegally by these shooters.

In America, the criteria to own a gun varies from state to state.  Twenty eight states along with Guam and Washington D.C. use the weakest form of gun issuing. If a person meets the “specified requirements” and is a law-abiding citizen, they may own guns and be granted a permit to carry concealed firearms according to the NRA-ILA website.

Sixty percent of Americans own guns for protection and 36 percent own them for hunting purposes. Because of the Second Amendment right, people are able to own guns which fit these activities. However, even for people who enjoy target shooting or use guns for sport, there is no reason for a person to own military-grade weapons made strictly to kill.

In the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, killed 17 people. He used a legally obtained AR-15 rifle. According to the New York Times, an AR-15 is easier to buy than a handgun in Florida.

An AR-15 rifle was also used in the Las Vegas shooting at an outdoor concert. Although this rifle is a semi-automatic weapon, it can be altered with a bump stock to fire faster like a fully-automatic firearm, which is what occured in the Las Vegas shooting. A bump stock uses the recoil to fire faster. This modification is currently only illegal in the state of California, but President Trump signed a memorandum recommending bump stops become illegal nationwide.  

In 2018 alone, there have been 34 mass shootings in America according to the Gun Violence Archive. To prevent mass shootings from continuing to occur and to protect the lives of Americans, stricter gun laws need to be enforced. Stricter gun laws do not mean complete abolition of the Second Amendment, it means mental health tests and gun classes for example. If these changes were implemented, purposeful gun violence, suicides and accidental shootings would all decrease. For a person to feel the need to kill they must be mentally unstable; mental health tests to buy a gun would help to prevent these people from purchasing firearms. Accidental shootings would also decrease by more detailed and frequent gun classes because people would learn how to properly store and handle a gun.

“Personally, I think guns are the root cause of all the mass shootings despite what other politicians think. We have the most gun violence out of every developed country. We live in a country where people value the second amendment more than the lives of innocent [people].” junior Marlee W. said.

Many Americans are worried stricter gun laws would mean they would lose their firearms and be left unable to protect themselves and their families. However, they should not be worried about losing their right to their guns if they are a mentally stable, law-abiding citizen.

Although it is impossible to eliminate all mass shootings and violence, stricter gun laws are a start to a safer community, and a safer America. There will always be a way to obtain weapons illegally, but the process will take longer and will have more opportunities to be caught in the buying and transportation process.

The safety of the American people is put into jeopardy every day because of violence; nobody is completely safe anymore. Not concerts, movie theaters, malls, schools or even churches are free from gun violence and shooters. Gun laws cannot solve the problem, but every human life is worth the fight. If gun control can even save just one person’s life, it is worth it. Life is priceless and it should not be able to be taken away by something preventable.