Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:03:22 PM
In the past thirty years, 352 people have died in mass shootings around the world. As an individual personally affected by the Virginia Tech shooting I was emotionally devastated by the tragic shootings in years following, the most recent being Newtown. It is exhausting and arduous having to watch a horrific event that changed my entire life repeated over and over every other month. I believe something needs to be done to prevent more innocent people from being harmed. While it is human beings that are responsible for the crimes that have been committed, not the guns, it would be hard for any future atrocities to occur if gun laws were stricter.
Out of the entire world, the United States is the most heavily armed country, has the highest homicide rate, by use of guns, and has had the most mass shootings, all partially due to the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment to the Constitution states that, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Second Amendment does give the people the right to possess firearms. However, the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1791. The Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution and the twelve delegates who added Amendments in the years following did so to ensure that every person had a way of defending himself if need be. In 1791, our weapons were muskets with bayonets on the ends that had to be reloaded after every shot fired and took a long time to reload. When the Second Amendment was ratified, the delegates had no idea how advanced our weaponry would become. Today we have handguns, assault rifles, machine guns, and so many more that can fire from hundreds to thousands of rounds per minute. Our world has changed, so our laws must change to accommodate the advances in our weaponry. In my opinion, gun laws need to be stricter. In 1996, Britain banned all handguns, and established a program where they bought back the public’s weapons. Australia and Norway did the same when mass shootings became a problem. Today, these countries have some of the lowest gun homicide rates in the world.
I believe we should follow the example set by these countries and remove weapons from our streets. It is the only way for the United States to change the violent culture it has recently become more associated with. Worldwide, increased gun control has a direct correlation with less violence. Gun control could improve the overall safety felt by U.S. citizens and decrease the homicide rates across the country. We will never know how this can help our country and protect our citizens if we never try.