Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and most recently Stoneman Douglas High, are all instances in which a gun took over 15 innocent lives, calling for stricter gun control policies to prevent mass shootings across the US. Just 16 weeks into 2018 and 20 school shootings have occurred, that is at least one shooting a week, where at least one person was hurt or even killed. Each life that has been lost to one of these shootings, could have been prevented. Not only will stricter gun control policies be crucial to this prevention, but we also must make safe gun use a part of our culture. Mass shootings in the US have been gradually increasing over the past years and our lack of structure in our gun system has allowed for 167 weapons that were obtained legally, to be put in the hands of mass murderers. Not only do we need to work on regulating access to weapons to adults, but we also must work on restricting the access of children to these weapons by making sure that parents are aware of where and how their weapons are placed in homes. Youth access to guns is also an issue because 1 out of every 3 households with children have guns, and 1.7 million children live with access to unlocked and loaded guns. Both the irresponsibility of parents and curiosity of children as of guns are leading causes of acts of gun violence in American homes. At the age of 18, in most places in the US, you are actually eligible to be able to buy a long gun, at an age where you are still unable to legally drink. By preventing high-risk individuals from obtaining a gun and having more gun control, we can avoid having more mass shootings.
The issue of guns has also hurt many minority communities throughout the United States, showing that gun violence in America is also shaped by race. There is a wide racial divide in gun deaths across the United States. Black men are still being shot at much higher rates than other groups, with twice as many black men being shot than white men, as shown by a study done by the CDCP. 22% of people fatally shot last year were black men, however, black men only account for 6% of the U.S. population. This unbalanced amount of gun-deaths shows a clear problem within minority communities in the United States, where areas that are predominantly urban and black have a higher rate of gun crimes than more suburban or more predominantly white. These gaps are most wide in New Jersey, where blacks are 4 and a half times more likely to be shot than whites are. Another factor in the gun crime rate was education in areas with low socioeconomic status, where people who live there are mostly minority. Less educated areas seemed to have a higher gun crime rate, showing a positive correlation between a deficit education system and gun crimes. Police inhumanity and shootings, a problem that has been more public in recent years since the Black Lives Matter movement started, has also affected minorities significantly more than it has affected whites. Over 60% of unarmed victims in police killings are minorities, showing police racism and bias against people of color. Philando Castile, a black man who lived in Minnesota, was wrongfully killed by police with his daughter in the backseat of the car for no reason at all. He complied with all of the officer’s orders, and told him of his permitted gun, but was shot regardless. Police officers who hold a racial bias against people of color and have guns are another reason gun control is fought for so strongly by many groups in the US today. Gun violence, since it unfairly affects minorities, should be met with action to fix racial bias and work towards gun control as a nation.
Gun control has been the front of many political arguments dividing the nation today. Many political leaders are being put under fire for their stance on how exactly our nation should deal with the issue of gun violence. What we see is that members of the democratic party tend to lean towards gun reform while republicans take the other stance and are more against reform. On the liberal side of the argument we see those more in support of finding a solution that would take guns out of the hands of those who could do harm with it and along with that, making sure that these military like assault style weapons and high capacity machines are not placed in the average American family home. As for the conservative side of the argument we see this tendency to see guns as something patriotic and a second amendment right, that if taken away, would take away American values. In reality that is not the case because we would not be taking away that right, but only limiting it in order to protect the rights of another. Also, many on the other side of the gun control argument believe that if more people carried guns legally, the crime number will automatically go down. That is because they will defend themselves against any possible attacker or offender. However, this belief is not valid because crime victims are rarely carried guns, secondly, the today victim with a gun in hand could be an attacker tomorrow.
The ability to own guns, a right given to all Americans, has come under fire as guns have become more advanced, more deadly, and our need for gun control has become more important to ensure safety for all.