Want to hear something shocking? We are barely three months into 2018 and according to the Gun Violence archive, there have already been 39 mass shootings in the United States. Hundreds of people won’t be able to hug their loved ones, see a new morning and do their
favorite activities anymore.
A lot of this is the fault of our country’s lack of gun laws. Florida suffered from a school shooting this year, and instead of passing laws that tightened gun control, their legislature passed a $67 million statewide program to arm teachers. This money could be spent to enhance a child’s education, but instead, the government is choosing to strengthen the chances of a child getting shot.
You may think I am completely anti-gun but that is not how I feel at all. People who aren’t a threat to society, who enjoy hunting legally or want to own a gun to protect themselves from people who want to do harm, should be able to obtain non-automatic guns. However, nobody should be able to purchase an assault weapon that provides the ability to kill 17 people in mere minutes.
In order to prevent another mass shooting from happening, the United States needs to take drastic steps. We should start with the legal age to purchase a gun. A civilian who is 18 should not be able to buy a gun and the legal age to buy one should be raised to 21 to match the drinking age. If the government doesn’t trust 18-year-olds with a beer, why should teenagers be entrusted with a weapon that can kill someone in a second?
Obtaining a gun shouldn’t be as easy, as well. Strict background checks need to start happening in every state, as well as a mental health assessment. While the federal law requires a background check on everyone who buys a gun from licensed dealers, people can easily get around this by purchasing guns from places like gun shows, where a permit is not required.
A New York Times article written in 2016 notes that only seven states ban people who have demonstrated threats from obtaining a gun and only four ban people who have previously been admitted into a mental hospital. How is this acceptable when most all of the people who have opened fire in public are mentally ill?
The American government can’t keep pushing this issue to the side. The slaughtering of innocent lives must end. I encourage you to contact your government officials and vocalize your opinions on this issue. We will not be silent about this problem until it is no longer an epidemic.