Gun Control: Growing Awareness

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NRA logo. Courtesy of nraila.org

   Gun control, when you hear that phrase what comes to your mind? Do you think about mass shootings, terrorist attacks, the NRA, school shootings, an AR-15?  But in reality, what gun control means, is the regulation of the use and sale of firearms.

   An organization we hear all the time is the NRA, a gun rights public support group in the U.S. The NRA states that its mission is to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. They want  American civilians to have the right to possess, carry, transport, exhibit, obtain, and collect firearms. 

   20 years have passed since the Columbine shooting, where seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and one teacher before commiting suicide, 13 lives were lost that day leaving a traumatized society forever. 8 years later on April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho fatally shot 32 victims at Virginia Tech. 5 years after the Virginia Tech shooting, 20 year old Adam Lanza went into Sandy Hook Elementary School shot and killed 26 people. 5 years after the Sandy Hook shooting, in 2017, Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people. 

   These 5 major school shootings have left an impact on society, making us feel insecure and not wanting to go to school. According to the Washington Post, more than 228,000 students have experienced gun violence at their school since Columbine.

   Major shootings don’t just happen at school, they have happened in many other places around the U.S.: in a synagogue, a music festival, a Walmart, a nightclub, a Garlic Festival, a church, a bank, a parish, a hospital, a gas station, and pretty much anything you can think of. 

   The results of gun violence go beyond by just being hit by a bullet. According to Everytownresearch.org, annually nearly 2,900 children and teens are shot and killed, but nearly 15,600 are shot and injured. That’s an average of 51 young American people shot everyday.  

   How the U.S. compares to other countries with the lowest rates of violent gun deaths worldwide in 2017 is per 100,000 people.  According to the National Public Radio, the U.S compared to Singapore is 4.43 to 0.02 per 100,000 people. The U.S to South Korea is 4.43 to 0.05 per 100,000 people. The U.S compared to the U.K is 4.43 to 0.06 per 100,000 people. The U.S compared to Romania is 4.43 to 0.08 per 100,000 people. 

   As of August 5th, which was the 217th day of the year, there have been 255 mass shootings this year, which is defined as any incident where at least 4 people were shot, excluding the shooter. No other country has even half the number of gun deaths as the United States, and no other country comes close to the number of deaths with firearms. 

   Three mass shootings over the weekend of August 3, 2019 involved semi automatic weapons and magazines capable of holding dozens of bullets, which were legal to buy, killed over 30 people. 

   In Dayton, Ohio police said the shooter purchased his .233-caliber weapon legally online, he then had it transferred to a local arms dealer. He then attached a 100-round drum magazine. In El Paso, Texas it is believed the shooter used an AK-47. 

   One week before these shootings, a shooting occurred at the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival, where 3 people were killed. 

   Both the weapons and the magazine are allowed to be sold in Texas and Ohio. In California it is banned to sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, but the Gilroy shooter legally bought the gun in Nevada. 

   These weapons are of high-capacity that can kill people in a few seconds. If the U.S. were to ban these weapons, the country would be much safer and less shootings would occur. 

   To make America feel safe, and not terrified to go out into the streets, we have to start by having respect for one another, respecting each others decision, respecting how we dress, respecting our interests, and respecting ourselves.