Gun Control


Saish Satyal, Editor

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 263 mass shootings in the United States of America as of September 20th, 2018. The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as the injury or death of 4 or more people without a “cooling off” period.  Today’s date is September 19, 2018 meaning that, on average, there has been approximately 1 mass shooting per day in the United States of America. Assuming that there are only 4 people injured and no one killed for every single incident, we would have 1,052 victims. Unfortunately, 4 people being injured is just a minimal requirement to qualify for a mass shooting. The reality is that there are thousands of people injured and hundreds of people dead due to these mass shootings alone. In total, there have been 10,554 recorded deaths due to gun violence in the USA, just in 2018. Since there are 100 days left in the year of 2018, we can expect that number to only rise. Also, there are approximately 22,000 gun-related suicides in the country which the Gun Violence Archive hasn’t factored in. Obviously, this is a large amount of deaths, so logic shows that someone shouldn’t be allowed to purchase something so dangerous without a good background check and possibly even a psychological evaluation.

Unfortunately, people don’t seem to follow this logic. Known as the “Gun Show Loophole”, Americans are allowed to purchase guns from private vendors without having to show their ID or take a background check. Only 18 out of 50 states are people required to have some sort of background check when purchasing a weapon. People are able to use this loophole because of the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act which loosely defines private vendors as people who do not sell guns as a livelihood.  Even with these facts and figures, a large amount of Americans oppose gun control laws on the grounds that it infringes upon their “right to bear arms” given to them by the Founding Fathers. Owning a weapon capable of mass murder, however, is not a right, it is a privilege granted in 1791 to the American people for the worst case scenario. Now, organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) staunchly defend every American’s right to own a gun, yet every American should not own a gun. Someone with strong suicidal tendencies should not be allowed to carry a weapon. A person with strong sociopathic tendencies should not be allowed to carry a weapon with the potential to harm others.  

Not only that, better background checks and good psychological evaluations wouldn’t actually hurt anyone. If someone cannot pass a psychological evaluation and a background check to own a gun, that person does not deserve a gun. Not only that, a person should not need to have high capacity magazines to protect themselves or go hunting for wild animals. However, millions of Americans still disagree with those statements. New gun laws wouldn’t affect a person unless they shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun. However, this is the cycle that America has put itself into. First comes the shooting, then the outrage, shock and grief. Next come the thoughts and prayers and furious debates between the two sides of the political spectrum. Finally, everything dies down until another absurd amount of people are killed.

Even after Sandy Hook and Parkland, there were massive amounts of outrage. The lives of young children were cut short by some crazed maniac who was able to get a gun. 17 people dead in Parkland and 27 people dead in Sandy Hook. 58 people were murdered in Las Vegas and 50 people murdered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. 9 churchgoers were murdered in Charleston because a white supremacist decided to do something with his hate. Every single one of these events rocked the nation and opened up torrential downpours of grief and anger. Yet still, nothing happened. 20 first graders were killed and all the nation could do was offer “thoughts and prayers” while parents and friends wept. To change gun laws in this country, first we must change the way we view guns and shootings. These are just a few of the many shootings that have occurred. This is a horrifying reality that must be fixed.