Updated: Apr 7, 2021
Did you know that in 2021 alone, there have already been over 103 mass shootings? The gun control debate is nothing new — one side is asking for limitations and restrictions on who can own guns while the other swears by their second amendment rights to own a firearm. But so many of us have been left to wonder if someone’s life is worth less than the ability to own a gun.
The logical answer is no. Our country has reached the point where every year, 40,000 people in America are killed with guns. According to Every Town, “the United States homicide rate is 25 times higher than that of our peer nations.” Every day that we refuse to take action and limit access to guns is another day of lives lost. Mass shootings account for less than 1% of gun related deaths, with suicide accounting for 60% and homicides accounting for 36%. During COVID-19, domestic violence has been at an all-time high, with women in the United States being 25 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income nations. These statistics show that the issue of gun violence as it relates to mass shootings just scrapes the surface of the gun control issue in the United States.
One perspective society tends to focus on when it comes to mass shootings is that of the victims. We hear the phrases “the victim was my mother, my father, my sibling or my relative.” However, we rarely discuss how the murderer is also someone's mother, father, sibling or relative. By making them out to be isolated or monstrous, we remove the fact that these perpetrators with the motive to kill could be in any of our families. I know it’s hard to think your family members or friends would be capable of these horrific acts, but it happens everywhere, regardless of race, sex or religion.
As mentioned on ProCon.org,“the Second Amendment is not the unlimited right to own guns.'' Former Justice Antoninan Scalia once wrote that like most rights, those granted by the Second Amendment are not unlimited. Our nation has often sought to create prohibitions on the possession of firearms by the mentally ill and those previously convicted of crimes, which is certainly acceptable.
With this fact in mind, why is it that some people feel it is acceptable to allow the general public to have access to semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15? There have been several posts circulating on social media recently that illustrate instances where an AR-15 was the primary weapon in a mass shooting. Here is one such example. According to Statista, handguns are the most common weapon used in mass shootings, with 143 different ones being used in 95 incidents between 1982 and 2021.
In the tragic situation of Boulder, Colorado, a ban on assault weapons was created in 2018. On March 12 of this year, a judge overturned the ban, once again allowing assault weapons to be purchased. 10 days later, a lone gunman opened fire in a King Soopers using a recently purchased AR-15 to kill 10 people. Meanwhile, the nation was still struggling from a previous mass shooting that left eight dead, including six Asian women, barely a week earlier. How can we as American citizens continue to remain complicit amidst these acts of violence?
The senselessness of the violence created when we allow guns into the hands of the wrong people leaves me and others to conclude that heavy bans and regulations on firearms need to be enacted as soon as possible. When will the violence and innocent victims lost to gun violence finally be enough?
By Rachel Van Horne, News Editor