The Gun Debate


Nick Youngson

gun control

Parkland, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Orlando Nightclub, Santa Fe, San Bernardino, Sutherland Springs Church, the list goes on. The pattern is all too familiar. A tragic mass shooting, a mourning, a call for action, repeat.  Dozens dead and injured, families heartbroken, and a hope that something will change. One-third of all mass shootings happen in the United States. Gun violence is the 12th highest cause of death in the United States. 1,091 people have died in mass shootings, ranging from every race, religion, and age. The youngest being just 8 months old and two unborn children. Yet, near nothing has been done to stop mass shootings.

   The biggest arguing point in the gun debate is gun control. Examples of gun control include background checks, waiting periods, a higher minimum age to buy a gun, and bans on certain weapons such as automatic assault rifles. Those who support say that it adds regulation and accountability to firearms. 24% of all guns used in mass shootings or obtained illegally. Most of them stolen from legal gun owners. Opposers say that it is unconstitutional because of the second amendment and that it gives the government too much power.  The second amendment is not an unlimited right to own guns. After all, citizens can not have access to nuclear weaponry, tanks, machine guns, etc. But where do we draw the line at what citizens can own and what they can’t? At automatic rifles? Semi-Automatics? Rifles? Pistols? Despite all of this, we have to remember that not all people with a gun are bad people. The major problem in the gun debate is how to decide who gets to own a gun, and who doesn’t.

   Of course, gun control isn’t the only possible solution to the firearm problem. After this week’s Santa Fe shooting, Democrats called for more gun control, and Republicans urged for other solutions. Republicans blamed everything from schools having too many doors, violent video games, ADHD medications, abortion, irresponsible gun owners, not enough armed teachers, and a decline of religion in schools. They blame anything but the guns. The NRA spent $54 million supporting Republican presidential candidates, and about $14 million for Republican congressional candidates.

   The gun debate is a complex and tricky problem in the United States, but the United States isn’t the only country that has this problem. After a shooting in Australia that killed 35, the Australian government spent millions of dollars buying back and destroying 600,000 guns. After the buyback, firearm suicides and homicides decreased drastically. If the United States were to copy Australia, it would have to buy back 40 million guns. In Japan, they have a surprisingly low 10 shooting deaths a year for a population of 127 million. To own a gun, Japanese citizens have to pass rigorous written tests, background checks, all day classes and have at least 95% accuracy. Even after all of that, they can only buy air rifles and shotguns. In Norway, the trust between citizens and the government is very strong. The amount of fatal police shootings in Norway over the last 9 years is lower than the number of fatal police shootings in the United States in a day.  

   The gun debate in America is a long and complicated problem that has cost the lives of thousands of people. As politicians are locked in a stalemate over what to do, it seems like things are only going to get worse, before they get any better.