The State of Gun Control has Altered the State of the Nation
By Jane Cameron
The discussion of gun control in the United States is ongoing; at times it is stagnant and other times it erupts throughout the nation. Why is there this pattern? Mass shootings, an all too frequent phenomenon, have become an epidemic in the nation fueled by the lack of action taken to combat these events. Congress’s repeated behavior of placing value on a subject only after a substantial incident and proceeding as if nothing has taken place just moments later is appalling and negates their purpose.
The United States has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership; it is reported that about 270 to 310 million guns are owned by private citizens in the country. Gun culture in the U.S. is unlike any other. Some states do not even require background checks. It is an easy task to obtain a gun, buying one can become a thoughtless pursuit.
The widespread of gun ownership in the U.S means it is inevitable that someone around you is in possession of a gun. The United States has more guns than it does people. Think about the people around you right now. Do you trust your neighbor to safely operate a gun?
Think about someone even closer to you. Do you trust your child with a gun? For example, a 15 year old with a gun would be hazardous. They are hormonal and unpredictable, a child. Nonetheless, the U.S is a country in which obtaining access to a firearm is unchallenging.
Reflect on the gun massacre that just occurred. It took place in San Clarita, where a 15 year old killed two high schoolers and left several other classmates injured. He then turned the gun on himself and attempted to add to the number of victims from gun violence. Since 2015 a school shooting has taken place approximately every 77 days. Inevitably, this tragedy will become lumped in with the others as time goes on. The high frequency of school shootings is generated by the lack of legislation pertaining to regulations.
Today we live in a world where a school shooting can be easily forgotten because they are habitual. Congress remains in gridlock. A bill enforcing stronger background checks was passed by the House, but the Senate has delayed voting on it for almost a year. People die while politicians argue or worse while politicians do not even discuss the matter because they do not see it as urgent. It is imperative that Congress acknowledges gun violence as a public crisis and takes legislative action immediately.
A parent should not send their child off to school with the same knot in their gut as a parent sending their child off to war. But school shootings are so common now, it is not foolish to wonder whether a place of education could quickly turn into a battle ground.
A high schooler’s biggest concern should be the SAT, but students lay on the floor fighting for their lives after being shot in a school shooting. Gun violence has become the biggest issue in their lives. If children make up almost half the population and this is their biggest problem, then why has no one worked to fix it?
It seems the death of a child is what it takes to make change. The price of gun regulations has become a young person’s life.
Look at other nations and the answer to whether gun regulations should be imposed is obvious. Countries with restrictive gun control laws have lower gun homicide and suicide rates than the United States. America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, the country bordering the U.S.
By simply mirroring other countries’ laws the issues occuring in the U.S could be reduced. The evidence is embedded in other countries’ experiences with guns. There is a literal sample of what would happen if the United States created more regulations on firearms.
Just because the U.S began with the belief that everyone should have the right to a firearm, it does not mean this is still true today. If change is never made, development can never occur. Other countries have made these changes, and the U.S is behind them in this process. As a country that usually leads the way, this is disappointing to watch. Congress has displayed an inability to protect the citizens they are supposed to be serving while other industrialized democratic countries demonstrate the competence to do so.
The majority of adults, including gun owners, support common sense gun control. This includes background checks, bans on assault weapons, and bans on high-capacity magazines. It is a commonly known fact, still the majority is overlooked. Congress has allowed organizations like the NRA to dictate their voting rather than their constituents. Thus, our representatives are not truly putting our interests first.
The United States is not a true democracy if the people have no voice.
The legislature should not overlook issues that are not relevant in the media. The current representatives in office have become puppets of the issue attention cycle. They are concerned about an issue, until it disappears from the news. Consequently, they do not worry about gun control until another shooting has occurred and it reappears on the front page.
Congress is not fulfilling its duties to the people. If our representatives are not properly presenting our concerns then it necessitates a change in governance. The ones paying for their errors are often not even the ones who can vote, children. School shootings are not what people mean when they say, “I would die for my country”.
Jane Cameron is a freshman majoring in journalism and mass communication, from Fairfield County, Connecticut.
Note: The GW College Democrats News & Blog Committee’s mission is to highlight, empower, and facilitate the political expression of its members. As such, the views expressed in this article are based on the opinions of its author, and do not necessarily represent the views of the whole of GW College Democrats, its executive board, or its senior deputy board.