Opinion: What should we do about gun violence?


Image: Photo provided by Wikipedia.

The rate of gun violence only continues to increase and it is unsettling that the most deadly shootings in American history only occur years apart. There is a clear gun violence issue, but the solution is not simple.

Jabril Edmondson, Staff Writer

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been over 300 mass shootings in America in 2017 alone. A mass shooting is classified as a shooting where four or more people are killed or injured. These aren’t instances of happenstance, they are intentional and damaging.

There is obviously an issue here. It is a topic that is continuously discussed but often never sees real change. The objective is to curb the amount of mass shootings, but how we go about doing that is the hard part.

Many have argued that it is a mental health issue rather than a gun issue. On the other hand, many people directly correlate the easy access to guns to the increased amount of mass shootings.

Gun control has been a hot topic for some years now. After two of the most deadly mass shootings recorded in modern American history occurred a little over a month apart, I felt it was imperative to explore a potential solution.

The issue is, there are so many means of gun control. I want to explore a few of them and hopefully further a discussion on what can be or should be done.

I’ve heard the idea of the government banning guns across America. Systematically speaking, it would be more than difficult to locate and collect all firearms across America. Though if accomplished, it would make sense that gun violence would decrease.

Australia voted to adopt a sweeping gun law that banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns after the 1996 Port Arthur mass shooting. According to BBC News, since the adoption of the laws there have been no mass shootings and the rate of homicide has also decreased.

Maybe this is our solution.

On the contrary, we once tried to ban alcohol and it backfired. Prohibition turned into illegal production of alcohol riddled with gang violence. Who’s to say the same thing won’t occur if guns are banned.

Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but remains among the highest in reported shootings. Due to human ingenuity, it seems that if we want something, then we are determined to get it.

Australia also implemented a stricter code for the purchase of any type of gun. Diminishing the access to any firearms doesn’t take away anyone’s right to bear arms, but it offers a solution to the excess of firearms found across America.

Some gun supporters feel as if this directly violates the Second Amendment. But originally, the amendment applied to guns that weren’t as lethal as most modern handguns. Seeing that gun advancements have occurred, it is fitting that stricter laws would be necessary.

Lastly, maybe it’s not about banning all guns or having stricter gun laws, but restricting the access to semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, weapons and accessories such as bump stocks. According to ABC News, most of the guns used in mass shootings were obtained legally.

Many people misconceive the idea that automatic weapons are used in high-profile mass shootings. Automatic weapons are extremely regulated and expensive to purchase. Semi-automatic weapons are more normally seen in these mass shootings.

According to ABC Action News, the Virginia Tech shooter used two semi-automatic handguns and killed 32 people. Weapons are purchased for many reasons, but popular explanations for having guns are protection and hunting.

Should we allow high-powered weaponry just for recreational use such as protection and hunting? Should military-style weapons be available to the general public? I think it is a problem that cannot be ignored any longer.

The rate of gun violence only continues to increase and it is unsettling that the most deadly shootings in American history only occur years apart. There is a clear gun violence issue, but the solution is not simple.

I think with the amount of horrible tragedies happening as of late, it is imperative we put our heads together and find a solution. In the words of Malcolm X, “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” Let’s take a stand and make a change.