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Gun Control

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The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has always been the subject of heated political debate. Many gun related tragedies have been a large source of this debate, including the very recent Las Vegas shooting, which as of now is the most deadly mass shooting to happen on American soil. With so many horrific events linked to gun violence occurring, it would seem wise to do something about how guns are controlled in the US. Though this seems like the most logical choice, there are many people who are too afraid to lose the individual right they think they have to own guns to do anything about the very obvious problem plaguing this country.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. constitution states that “A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state; the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

As it turns out the Second Amendment was not originally intended to protect the individual right of the people to own a gun. Rather, the purpose of it was to allow local militias that would have the means to protect their country. No person was meant to keep a gun for their own protection but rather for the protection of the nation as a whole. This goes to show that many people have been misconstruing the Second Amendment and the purpose of bearing arms.

However times have changed. The US is a very different nation from what it was in the 1700s. People feel the need to keep a gun to protect themselves and that’s certainly understandable. However research shows that guns are hardly effective for self defense.

A 2015 study led by Dr. David Hemenway of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed that guns do very little to help victims of crimes. According to the study only 10.9 percent of victims were harmed when using guns for self defense when faced with potential crime related injury. Though this may seem like a point for supporters of the individual right, things are greatly put into perspective when that statistic is put up against the 11 percent of victims in similar situations who took no action at all as opposed to using a gun.

“I feel like a lot of the time guns aren’t even that useful in a situation where you could get hurt or have something stolen from you. For the most part [gun owners] don’t just carry around their guns with them in the streets so if someone tries to mug them … they’re in the same position as someone that never even had a gun to begin with,” said sophomore Mark Reyes.

Tighter regulations on guns in other countries have also been shown to be effective. Take Australia for example. The nation’s gun ban implemented in 1996 proved to be effective as homicide rates across the country have dropped and reached an all time low in 2010, at only 261 homicides in the year. Though the number slightly rose to 273 in 2013, there is still a major difference between the 273 homicides versus the 354 homicides in 1996. These statistics prove that tighter gun control laws can certainly lead to a drop in yearly homicides.

“I’ve heard about Australia and their gun control laws and I completely agree with them. Killings in Australia have gone down overall since the laws were passed. It just goes to show that stricter gun laws can work,” said junior Alexandria Noor.

Because mass shootings are far more prevalent in the US than anywhere else in the world, it certainly begs the question as to why the US hasn’t taken a similar initiative. Many gun violence crimes have happened since 1996 and the data shows that the homicide rate in Australia has only been in decline. Of course it isn’t a simple process but after years of seeing another country prosper from such a decision and the US suffer many casualties, something about this pertinent issue should have been done by now.

“I feel like with all the debate about gun control that’s been going on for years it could still be a long time before anything significant happens [concerning gun control]. A lot of people say it’s their right to own a gun and technically that’s true but at the same time you have to ask yourself where you draw the line with that right. Implementing stricter laws on guns could really save a lot of lives. I think it’s important to look further into [gun control] especially because of how many gun related tragedies have occurred in this nation,” said senior Alejandra Velazquez.

Unfortunately there are still many Americans fervently fighting for this individual right they lay claim to. However what they fail to realize is that their fight has caused more harm than benefit. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average 93 people are killed due to gun violence every day and around 12,000 Americans are killed by guns per year, as well as the fact that the U.S. rate of gun homicides is 25 times more prevalent than the average of other developed countries. All this demonstrates that guns need to be less accessible to the general public for the safety of all Americans.

“I think gun control needs to be increased because right now it seems too easy to own a gun and though it can be used for protection it is more often than not also used as a weapon to provoke fear. I hear about tragedies involving gun use about once or twice a week. Gun control could be helpful so long as everyone cooperates and follows the new restrictions,” said freshman Nathan Bravo.

It’s time to face the facts. A mixture of an obvious misinterpretation of the Constitution, studies revealing the ineffectiveness of guns in self defense and statistics that show that stricter gun laws do in fact work all point to the inevitable changes that the US needs to make in order to protect its citizens. The argument that guns are necessary to protect oneself seems almost ironic being that the only people to feel unsafe around are those with weapons that can fatally wound someone. Every single person in this country deserves the right to live and this should take precedence over the right to bear arms.

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