Students in Parkland, Florida, came to school on an ordinary Valentine’s Day morning. What they didn’t know was the terror that they would have to endure later. Nikolas Cruz, a 19 year-old ex-student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed seventeen people in yet another mass shooting. While this is a major tragedy, we cannot forget the shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and more.
These mass shootings have a direct correlation to the adaptation of the Second Amendment. Second Amendment was written in 1791, two years after the adoption of the Constitution. This amendment stated that Americans have the right to bear arms, or to own a firearm. Ever since the passing of this amendment in 1791, the gun has modernized to fit the wants of American citizens and the US military. From revolvers to shotguns and from pistols to automatic weapons, guns have become a part of American culture that will be difficult to alter.
The issue with the Second Amendment is that different people interpret the meaning of it in different ways. This leads to the confusion we have today over modern gun reform and the debate between pro and anti-gun.
Mass shootings are happening on a regular basis. The first major mass shooting to bring national attention to the issue was the shooting at the University of Texas- Austin bell tower in 1966. Ever since, hundreds of mass shootings have occurred, seemingly with more people dying in each one. The largest mass shootings have been the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, and the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The latest shooting, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, brought major attention to the solution, and not as much the shooting itself.
With all of the recent activity involving guns and mass shootings, there needs to be some regulations. Guns should have many restrictions put in place, such as background checks, age restrictions and banning of automatic weapons to ensure the safety of others over the personal freedom of gun owners.
But why should we have gun control?
The United States has much higher rates of gun ownership than any other country in the world. The US makes up less than five percent of the world’s population but still accounts for 31 percent of all mass shooters. Our homicide rates are over 25 times higher than any other first world country, with the runner-up being Finland. Americans own more guns per capita than any other citizen in the world, and Americans own about half of all civilian guns worldwide. With statistics like these, it is clear that America has a major gun problem.
With that many guns at the people’s dispense, it isn’t a surprise that we have so many issues with gun-related fatalities. In 2018 alone, there have been over 10,300 gun violence related injuries, with there being over 2,700 subsequent deaths. While millions of people harmlessly own guns in this country, we need to put the safety of future victims in front of personal freedoms.
Lawmakers should first focus on making sure people are unable to purchase an automatic or semiautomatic weapon — period. Automatic guns are weapons of war that have no ethical use in the hands of a civilian. The only people who should own this type of weaponry are highly trained police officers and any trained soldier in the military. There is no logical reason for a normal civilian to have this type of gun, let alone a mentally unstable person like some of those involved in many of today’s mass shootings.
One specific gun continues to be used in the nation’s largest and most devastating shootings: the AR-15. Shooters used this semiautomatic weapon in Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Las Vegas, Pulse Nightclub, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and others. The excuse that this gun is a way of personal protection is completely
absurd, especially when one could have a pistol or a taser and use it just as effectively. This gun is not necessary to have, and it is an example of the first steps we need to make towards gun control.
In a poll conducted on a small group of Carrboro sophomores, almost all were in agreement that there should be more gun control than we currently have. 92.3 per- cent said that there should be, while 7.7 percent said there should only be partial gun reform. In the same poll, 76.9 percent said that automatic and semiautomatic guns should not be allowed for purchase by a normal citizen while 23.1 percent said that they were not sure.
It is clear that firearms have a negative impact on our modern society and cause lots of unnecessary deaths. It is time that we, as a community, stand up and fight the current position of our government on guns. After the shooting in Parkland, Florida, many people felt distraught with grief for loved ones lost and wounded. Mass shootings have become a pattern in this country, and that in itself needs to be changed.
Events like these leave us wondering: When will the next one occur? When will another shooting be condemned, and then not acted upon? When will it happen to me?