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Why America needs gun control

More than 90,000 Americans have died due to gun violence since the Sandy Hook shooting.

Minh-Han Vu

More than 90,000 Americans have died due to gun violence since the Sandy Hook shooting.

Kian Karamdashti, Staff Writer

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More than 90,000 dead.

More than 90,000 Americans have lost their lives at the hands of gun violence since the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newton, Connecticut on Dec 14, 2012. The shooting that killed 26 people, including 20 children. The shooting that, when recalled more than three years later, reduced President Barack Obama to tears on national television. The shooting that sent shockwaves throughout the country, sparking a massive call for stricter gun control laws with the main purpose of stopping such a horrendous crime from happening again.

Yet, here we are almost three years later and 90,000 more lives have been lost.

What is the problem? Why can’t we fix such a harrowing and crucial problem in our country?

In order to even think about creating a solution, we first need to establish and comprehend that the United States has a substantial problem on its hands. According to a study done by the Brady campaign, American children die by guns 11 times more often as children in other high-income countries. 11 times. These are not the full-grown adults we are talking about either, but the future of our nation.

The United States has an obsession with guns. There is no denying it either; it’s written in the building blocks of the Constitution.

The Second Amendment declares that all citizens shall hold a right to bear arms. Things were a lot different in 1787 when the Constitution was first established. A crucial factor that won the recent Revolutionary war was actually the possession of firearms by colonial citizens. The patriot troops were not strong enough to equip and organize themselves throughout the East Coast and relied on average, pro-liberation colonists to join the cause with their own weapons. With this fact fresh in the mind of constitutional framers, it was a no-brainer that American citizens should be given the right to bear arms. This country was built on rebellion, and theoretically, future citizens should be given the right to arm and rebel themselves if the government is treating them poorly.

So how can I even think of arguing against the foundation of our country? What if we decide the government is not doing its job and that we need to act?

Well first off, you will not get very far today going up against the government or the army with violence. Technology has grown exponentially in the last two hundred years, as well as the American government’s power. Do you honestly think a bunch of unorganized rebels can outwit the United States army, arguably the most powerful in the world? Second, throughout history, violent protest has simply not worked. Statistical evidence compiled by political scientists Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan shows that “non-violent protest is more likely to attract mass participation and topple governments than its armed twin, especially in the modern era.”

Many people were left upset by Obama’s recent executive action regarding guns, with Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio stating that Obama was going to “take away our guns.” That’s simply not true. Nowhere in Obama’s executive plan was it stated that any guns be confiscated by the United States government. Plus, no law-abiding citizen who passes a background check will be denied access to a firearm.

The plan simply states that all firearm sellers are required to have a license, and are required to conduct a background check before selling any gun. If these standards are not met, fines of up to $250,000 are put in place. The president even said it himself, “This is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns. You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm.”

What exactly is a background check? A background check is the process of looking up and compiling criminal records, commercial records and financial records of an individual or an organization. A reasonable and responsible action to take before selling a fireman to an individual. The following question then is, why are so many people against the stricter enforcement of this process? The answer to that is not relatively clear.

Money and greed are obvious answers to the question. The less restrictions placed on gun sales, the more money gun sellers make, and the stronger the National Rifle Association (NRA), a group of 5 million members, becomes. Executive Vice President of the NRA, Wayne Lapierre, has even switched sides on the issues himself. He stated in 1999 that universal background checks were “reasonable,” a direct contrast to his beliefs today.

Many Americans argue that too many gun laws are already in place, and that background checks are an invasion of privacy while giving too much power to the government. Personally, I am willing to sacrifice this ‘breach” of privacy that will have little to no effect of the general public’s way of life, in order to submit to rules that will stop these weapons from landing in the wrong hands.

Yes, criminals are people who typically commit crimes and disregard the law. How can you expect criminals to get their guns legally? Yes, criminals who really want a gun are most likely going to find a way to get it, whether it’s through a black market or a private seller. But how can you argue against a process that’s only going to make it harder for these criminals to get these weapons? Background checks are not going to magically erase the 90,000 murders that have occurred over the last 3 years, but it will only make it more difficult for these numbers to increase. I can’t really ask for much more.

If you’re still feeling skeptical about the enforcement of stricter gun control, let’s look at other advanced countries for support.

In France, firearms applicants must have no criminal record and pass a background check that considers the reason for the gun purchase and evaluates the criminal, mental, and health records of the applicant. Their ratio is 2.83 firearm-related deaths for every 100,000 citizens.

In Finland, handgun license applicants are only allowed to purchase firearms if they can prove they are active members of regulated shooting clubs. Before they can get a gun, applicants must pass an aptitude test, submit to a police interview, and show they have a proper gun storage unit. Their ratio is 3.23 firearm-related homicides for every 100,000 citizens.

In the United Kingdom, handguns are banned altogether, a more dramatic stance than anything proposed across the pond. Their ratio is .23 firearm-related deaths for every 100,000 citizens.

After 13 mass shootings in 18 years, the Australian government in 1996 implemented a stiff new gun control that banned a broad variety of weapons, integrated a government-funded gun buyback program, and declared that using a gun for self-defense purposes was a crime. The result? A ratio of .93 firearm-related deaths for every 100,000 citizens in 2013.

In comparison to countries with more firearm restrictions, the United States held a ratio of 10.64 firearm-related deaths for every 100,000 citizens in 2013. In 2012, according to statistics released by the FBI, 32.2 criminal firearm homicides occurred for every legally justified homicide. And before you blame this high rate solely on minorities, know that white murder rates in the U.S. are over twice as high as any other country listed above.

More guns are not the answer to the problem this country is facing. Why would we add fuel to the fire? The U.S. can fix its gun problem and the evidence is lying in plain sight all over the world. Mass shootings and high murder rates don’t have to be the norm.

I urge those in Congress to act swiftly in order to enforce stricter gun control. This is bigger than money, politics, or a single amendment. This is about the human lives that are at stake.

 

This editorial reflects the views of the Scot Scoop editorial board.

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Why America needs gun control”

  1. Ben iles on January 27th, 2016 4:43 am

    Scott…I will gladly support your idea of gun control as soon as you show me how your idea of gun control helps stop guns getting into the hands of criminals. If you were honest you’d admit that background checks only apply to people buying guns legally. Their not the problem. Why don’t we get tough with sentencing criminals who commit gun crimes? Theirs an idea. Or you could move to Europe where you’d be safer.

  2. Kian Karamdashti on March 15th, 2016 12:31 pm

    Above you stated that legally purchased guns are not the issue, but in this article posted only last December, it is shown that 80 percent of guns used in mass shootings were purchased legally. (http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/san-bernardino-shooting/more-80-percent-guns-used-mass-shootings-obtained-legally-n474441) Even if your statement was correct, why go against an action that will only make it harder for guns to get in the wrong hands. Yes, you may be correct about tougher sentences, but that will only address a crime after it has already been committed. I’m looking to stop these crimes before they occur. And no, I’ll stay here and continue to express my opinion 🙂 Thanks though.

  3. Mark Jospeh on February 5th, 2016 3:25 pm

    Now for equal time, your article suggests you are perfectly content to put more burdens and restrictions on law abiding citizens. These laws, which we have thousands already in law, are targeted on the law abiding citizen’s firearms. Most of the anti-gun crowd fails to comprehend that firearms are used for hobby purposes, such as competitive target shooting, collecting, boys and girls scouting, sporting clubs, home defense, and hunting. Yes you can hunt with a semi-automatic firearm. And yes, firearms are a hobby. Just like car collecting, coin collecting, fine art collecting, etc… Why do citizens do such things? Because, for one, it is legal, and it brings enjoyment and pleasure to the person. Why on earth would a person want to own eight tennis rackets to play tennis, buy new sets of golf clubs every time a new design is offered, or have a vehicle with front air scoops, wide tires, custom paint job, and air foils in the back? Because it brings them pleasure and enjoyment.
    You are focusing on the object and not the person with the object. Would any of the new laws suggested prevent the criminal element from firearm violence, or the mentally ill from firearm violence? I submit it will not. Rather than focus on the law abiding citizen, who is causing little if any mass violence, redirect your attention, and spend as much energy on the banning of say cigarettes, which by far kill more people in America than firearms.
    Numerous Bills to prevent the youth from smoking have been passed. The law stipulates the person must be over 18 to purchase cigarettes, there is advertising, Public Service Announcements canvassing our TV and airwaves demonstrating the harmful effects of cigarettes, however, smoking among the youth is on the rise. How is that so ? Laws were passed.
    The Centers for Disease Control offers these statistics (1):
    Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, far more than the 90,000 firearm deaths since 2012, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about one in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today.
    So to put your logic on firearms, let’s transfer those requirements to cigarette manufacturers. Why don’t you make them manufacture smaller cigarettes, smaller package size, raise the taxes on them to astronomical proportions, require all smokers to register and pay an annual fee in order to smoke. Or ban them completely. Just like the anti-gun types are trying to do with firearms.
    Here we have a clear distinction between what is actually killing citizens in the hundreds of thousands, cigarettes, and you choose to direct your attacks at the law abiding citizen who is Constitutionally guaranteed the RIGHT to possess a firearm. All this because you want to simply be close minded and intolerant.

    In closing, an unarmed citizen, is a victim.

  4. Kian Karamdashti on March 15th, 2016 12:24 pm

    First, it’s one thing where a certain hobby brings pleasure to someone, but if that hobby brings a direct danger to society, there’s a line that needs to be drawn. The analogy is illogical, playing golf and collecting coins don’t kill people. Guns do. Second, I agree that cigarettes are killing people, and agree measures need to be taken, but what does that have to do with guns? Cigarettes are a problem, but so are guns. We should do something about both problems, no? Thanks for your input.

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Why America needs gun control