Gun control is a vital necessity to our nation today. On one side of the debate, there are individuals who favor the idea of having restrictions placed on guns, and on the other hand, there are individuals who are opposed to putting gun laws in place. The individuals who are against gun control believe that controlling guns will not solve the existing challenges that guns have caused such as crimes or mass shootings. People who are pro-gun regulation know of the threat they pose to society. According to the data from Gun Violence Archive (GVA), as of September 1, which was the 244th day of the year, there have been 283 mass shootings in the U.S (GunViolenceArchive.org). The last time that the number of mass shootings totaled more days than there are in a year was back in 2016, which had 382 mass shootings (Silverstein 2019). The devastations that these tragic events have caused to our society is why we need laws to be set in place to prevent these things from happening.
I feel that there should be multiple protocols and procedures that Americans should have to go through to obtain gun licenses. The lack of gun control shows results in the possession of guns by the wrong individuals. I believe that it is a good idea for mental and background screenings to be taken as one of the strategies to limit gun violence in the nation and targets to ensure that firearms are in the hands of psychologically fit people. According to Dr. Jonathan M. Metzl and Dr. Kenneth T. MacLeish, both authors of Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms, 5% of the total gun killings experienced in the United States have been perpetrated by mentally ill individuals (Metzi and MacLeish 2015). Though the statistics of the individuals responsible were not as high, it is obvious that psychological traits that individuals possess are a contribution to gun violence in the nation.
Tuesday, April 20th, 1999, the fourth-deadliest school massacre in history took place at Columbine High School located in Columbine (Sakas 2018). The two students responsible for this incident were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They were responsible for killing twelve students and one teacher, and also injuring another twenty-one students in the massacre. The two young men used two nine-millimeter handguns and two twelve-gauge shotguns by sawing off the barrels and the butts of the guns to make them easier to carry and conceal while walking into the school (CSGV.org). The boys bought the firearms from a local gun show by convincing someone of age to buy them and they purchased the handguns through a person that they had met at work (CSGV.org). A simple gun show was the beginning of a tragic massacre that devastated the nation.
After the shooting happened, it seemed like everyone wanted to talk about everything, but gun control was stated in German Lopez’s article on the Columbine Shooting 20 years later (Lopez 2019). Politicians blamed video games like Doom. They blamed Marilyn Manson. They pointed to bullying but no one called out the real problem which is still true to this day… guns. Whether it’s Columbine or any other school shooting that has taken place, the bottom line issue is that the people who have twisted motives were able to obtain extremely deadly weapons that took the lives of everyone.
As I have done my research on being pro-gun laws I realized I notice that America’s loose access to guns is a major reason the US is so much worse in terms of gun violence than any other country. According to Lopez’s article again, in the US, even a background check isn’t a total requirement needed to purchase a gun; the current federal law is poorly enforced and has many ways to go around needing one. But even if a state has stricter rules than federal gun laws, someone can easily cross state lines to buy a gun where it is simpler to do so. Another factor s that the US has a surplus amount of guns. It has far more than any other country period. Estimated for 2017, the number of civilian-owned firearms in the US was 120.5 guns per 100 residents, meaning there were more firearms than people (Lopez 2019). The statistics on this topic are wildly astounding and it is why we, as a country, need to continue to fight for gun laws so that we can prevent these senseless mass shootings.
The point of my paper was to address the early years of mass school shootings and why gun restrictions need to be put in place. As times have changed over the years, gun control has become increasingly urgent to prevent unnecessary crime and killings. But the terrible reality is that strongly motivated and premeditated violence, especially done by killers willing to die, are among the hardest violent acts to prevent, no matter what measures one might take to do so. Gun control may not prevent tragedies like the one in Columbine, but they will lessen the chances of a lot of other, smaller tragedies that receive less publicity but still cause devastating pain.