“It was just so scary, you could hear him walking, you’d hear him walking right past our classroom.” (CBS News) “We were scared. I was yelling to him. Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” (Maui News) “This is going to be absolutely heart-wrenching time for me and my family. His younger brothers and soon-to-be born sister would miss him terribly.” (NPR) “I have two words: gun control. Now, now, now, now! No more NRA! No more money!
Gun control now!”, a mother whose son died in the Thousand Oaks Shooting said in an interview.
(Fox News) When I watch these interviews with relatives of gun victims and witnesses of shootings, I feel extremely heartbroken and grieve for these dead victims from the bottom of my heart. None of these victims shot by a gun deserved to die. None of these relatives or friends of victims deserve to lose their beloved one. What causes the deaths of these innocent people? What makes their relatives and friends suffer from extreme grief? The answer is the gun problem in the United States, which is fairly serious and needs urgent solutions now.
Consequently, we need to take immediate measures to solve this problem and alleviate preventable deaths in the United States.
The gun problem is obviously a big problem in the United States now. Barack Obama once said, after the shooting in Oregon, “We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.” (Obama), which means that the United States has far more mass shootings than other advanced country in the world.
Time and again, a large number of innocent people die in mass shootings in the United States. For example, the 2017 Las Vegas shooting was a big mass shooting on the night of October 1, which shocked the whole world. Stephen Paddock, 64 years old, shot people at a music festival from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, leaving 58 people dead and 851 injured in just about ten minutes.
When the police broke in, Paddock was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (Wikipedia) People killed or injured by the killer, should have enjoyed themselves at the concert and went home, happily telling their friends and relatives how wonderful the concert was, but because of a killer and those fatal guns, that day became one of the worst days of their lives. Many victims had no chance even to talk with their relatives and friends.
The Las Vegas shooting, as the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States, drew people’s attention to gun control and sparked debate over gun control one again. Dianne Feinstein introduced a gun control bill to ban bump stocks to the Senate. (ABC news)11 states banned bump stocks and several other states were considering banning it. (History) Students are also exposed to shootings in the United States. According to research conducted by EveryTown, there were about 89 incidents of gunfire in schools in 2018. More than 2,700 children and teenagers were shot and killed and more than 14,500 are shot and injured every year and about 3 million children are exposed to gun shootings. (EveryTown Research) The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is one of the most famous school shootings, in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults before he finally shot himself in the head.
Schools should have been a place full of students’ laughing and of reading sounds, but it is not because of the all too frequent interruptions and sounds of gunfire which destroy the peace. No child should experience shootings, which have a devastating impact on the mental and physical condition of students. Another big problem is the high rate of gun suicides. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21,334 of 42,773 suicides were carried out with a gun in 2014 and guns lead to more deaths than every other method. (TheTrace) This is especially terrible because after interviewing suicide survivors, about 90 percent of people who fail in killing themselves choose not to kill themselves.
(TheTrace) We can draw a conclusion that two thirds of people use guns to end their life and the majority of people give up committing suicide if they do not succeed in killing themselves at one time. However, guns are extremely fatal. There is a chance for people who want to kill themselves not using a gun to survive, which may change their whole life because of that survival, such as going on to live optimistically. For people who choose to use a gun to die, they may have no chance to survive at all because almost 90% percent of them will die. No other ways of committing suicide are as lethal as using a gun.
People also suffer from accidental shootings in the United States. From 2006 to 2016, about 6,096 people died from accidental shootings, according to the data released by Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC) Many people never take training courses to learn how to use a gun at all and some of them do not treat guns seriously. These are some of reasons that lead to accidental deaths with a gun. Due to the huge number of gun deaths, gun control is a big issue in the United States and we must take effective measures to solve it to create a peaceful country.
Why is gun control still a problem in the United States and cannot be solved effectively and properly for decades? The first reason is its history and gun culture. The United States is a revolutionary country and gun ownership is a tradition. Fearing a tyrannical government, The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. The amendment says: “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.”
(Wikipedia) Therefore, some Americans argue that bearing arms is one of the greatest protections of their individual rights and democracy of their country and cannot be violated. According to a Pew Center study, Americans own the most guns per person in the world. (Pew Research Center) They regard gun ownership as liberty, freedom and a way to protect themselves. Second, economics is the base; arms trade and industry play an important role in American economy. As international arms industry data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows, the global arms trade is worth $398.2 billion in 2017, and the United States remains dominant, with about $226.6 billion, which accounted for 57 % of total. (SIPRI) Arms trade is a major industry in America that affects policies to some extent. Businessmen will oppose any policies that have a bad influence on their business.
Many gun groups, such as the NRA, also affect the polices. It is estimated that NRA had spent $14 million to oust Barack Obama in 2012 by the New York Times. (New York Times) Because of the pervading gun culture and those businessmen and those gun groups, it becomes harder to carry out gun control policies so that gun control still remains a big issue in the United States.
Why should we take immediate measures to alleviate preventable gun deaths? First, no innocent individual killed in a mass shooting or by accident deserves to die. No one wants to see their relatives or friends killing by a totally stranger, and what they finally receive is a sum of cold compensation. It is not fair. The number of gun deaths in the United States is 14,117 until now in 2018 and there have been 334 mass shootings. (Gun Violence Archive) Many innocent citizens were killed ruthlessly, which is against humanity. Some people think that guns are not problems; those perpetrators can also kill people using other weapons.
In fact, there is a huge difference between guns and some other weapons, such as screwdrivers. On December 25, 2018, a 49-year-old man injured 6 people with a screwdriver in Shandong University of Science and Technology; one victim did not survive and others were just injured slightly. (Sohu)Could you imagine what would happen if the perpetrator was armed with a gun instead of a screwdriver? What would the death toll be and how many people would lose their relatives and friends forever? The result would be totally different; it is never the same due to the high lethality of guns. Therefore, we should take measures to reduce the number of gun deaths.
Second, we all deserve to feel safe in our society. Solving the gun problem can promote citizens’ well-being and sense of security by creating a safe environment. Therefore, the government should create a peaceful domestic environment for its citizens so as to ensure the sustainable development and function of our society and economy. A government, which can keep its country safe, peaceful and prosperous, is a competent and successful government, and will build a good and powerful image of country.
Furthermore, without a peaceful domestic environment, there will be no sustainable development and the whole country will be in trouble. Researchers from the law center estimate that the cost of gun violence on the American economy is about $229 billion every year. $8.6 billion of it is used for emergency and medical care, etc. (Lawcenter) If we take effective measures to alleviate gun deaths, we can reduce the expenditure on gun violence, which can be used to build a better country.
Third, taking proper and effective measures to solve the gun problem can promote citizens’ confidence in government. Adlai Stevenson I has said, “When we lose faith in the system, we have lost faith in everything we fight and spend for.” (Adlai Stevenson I) It is important for the United States to win the confidence and credibility of its citizens.
Fourth, we should also realize that shootings do great harm to our children, such as psychological problems, which cause a long-term scar in their heart. Children may suffer from gun-related trauma, insomnia, nightmares and intrusive thoughts, making it hard to fall asleep and always afraid of being attacked again. This will lead to distraction and bad performance in class.
What’s worse, some children may regard owning a gun as a way to show their power and better protect themselves, which increases the possibility that they use violence as a means of solving problems when they feel angry. This is extremely dreadful for a home, a community and a country. It is not too late to save these children by taking proper measures to reduce the number of children who may be exposed to gun shootings. In conclusion, alleviating preventable gun deaths has so many advantages for the development of the country that we should take immediate measures now.
What can we do to alleviate the preventable gun deaths? Different people have different opinions on this problem and I think the government should take its responsibility, such as enacting specific laws. B. R. Ambedkar has said, “Law and order are the medicine of the body politic and when the body politic gets sick, medicine must be administered.” (B. R. Ambedkar) Gun control laws are the medicine of the increasing gun deaths. On April 28, 1996, a 28-year-old man, Martin Bryant armed with a semi-automatic rifle, shot and killed 35 people, and wounded 23 others, in what was known as the Port Arthur Massacre.
(Wikipedia) After this horrible and terrifying mass shooting, Australia responded quickly and passed the National Firearms Agreement only 12 days later. Australia banned certain semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons. (Wikipedia) A study conducted by Simon Chapman from Australia’s University of Sydney found that Australia has no fatal mass shootings (more than five victims, not including the perpetrator) from 1997 to May 2016 and the rate of gun deaths also dropped quickly after 1996. (JAMA) The enacting of gun control laws does lead to the reduction of gun deaths and mass shootings.
The United States can follow the example of Australia by enacting laws to ban semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons. However, due to the unique gun culture and political and legal challenges, it seems that enacting rigid laws by the American government to ban guns is difficult, but there are still many things the government can do, such as carrying out policies to tighten gun owner licensing, improve k the standards for gun registration, and check backgrounds carefully. It is too easy for Americans to buy a gun, in shops or on the Internet and many guns are sold illegally through the black market.
“According to the U.S. Department of Justice, large numbers of firearms are sold anonymously at more than 4,000 gun shows each year. That averages to about 11 gun shows on any given day.” (NBC News) We do not know who buys those guns and what they will do with these guns. There is a possibility that some of the buyers are terrorists who want to kill other people. In order to reduce the risk of this, the government should check backgrounds thoroughly and consolidate the gun market to destroy the black market by tracking down illegal gun sales. Similarly, waiting periods that delay gun purchases will also reduce gun violence.
Second, school education is also important because “Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.” (Maria Montessori) Schools must construct a culture of respect in children for all human life and put emphasis on education on ethical principles so that students can form correct moral values and outlooks. Teachers can also teach students how to deal with annoying affairs properly and correctly, which will definitely have a positive effect on students’ mental health. More importantly, schools should offer classes in teaching children the dangers of possessing guns, how fatal guns are and how to behave around the guns.
Parents who own guns at home should also put them in a safe place to reduce access to children who may hurt themselves or others accidentally. Third, limiting ammunition capacity is particularly effective and practical to reduce the number of mass shooting deaths. Researcher Chris Koper estimates that it may lead to a 1% reduction in mass shootings, or 650 people fewer shot each year. (The Guardian) With limited ammunition capacity, killers cannot make devastating mass shootings as easy as today.
To conclude, we need to take immediate measures to solve the gun problem and alleviate preventable gun deaths in the United States. Gun problem is still under hot debate and is an urgent issue that needs to be solved. It causes several problems, such as mass shootings, gun suicides and accidental gun deaths, etc. To create a peaceful domestic environment and promote citizens’ confidence in government and their well-being, we should solve the gun problem.
To save the greatest number of lives, we should solve the gun problem. To provide a peaceful growth environment for our children, we should solve the gun problem. With its unique gun culture and complicated gun reality, solving gun problem and alleviating preventable gun death is a long-term run, which needs our joint efforts and cooperation. Time is limited and do not let those perpetrators take any other innocent people’s lives from now on. Only with the endeavor of the whole society can we build a better America, and I believe we can do these things well without having a gun.