As I see another article about another person in this country that has lost their life to gun violence I ask, “Why?” What makes a person do something like that? Those people have family, friends, and loved ones. My heart breaks into tiny pieces every time I hear the word “gun”.

I can say confidently that I will never buy a gun because I have seen the damage they cause countless times. However, I understand that there are responsible gun owners who are careful, safe, and incredibly cautious; but I can no longer stand by and worry over whether my brother is safe when he goes to his high school, whether my parents will be okay at work, or whether I am safe at my own college campus.

There have been so many shootings lately and I am done standing by the sidelines.

I cannot do this anymore. My heart and the hearts of millions of other victims, not only in the U.S. but also in many other countries, are hurting. I remember sitting in my Government class senior year of high school as we discussed gun control.

At the time, Sandy Hook had just occurred and the topic up for debate was gun control. All I could think of were the children who went to school that day and did not return. All I could manage to say when the teacher called on me was, “What event has to occur before people start to take gun control seriously? Does another Sandy Hook have to occur?” I remember how the class went silent as I posed my question and my teacher responded, “I hope it happens soon but I do not believe anything will happen in regards to gun control because so many events have already occurred and no progress has been made.” I sat there stunned. We live in a nation desensitized to gun violence and that should not be a societal norm. I fear that no event, big or small, will cause progress because people can be very set in their ways.

A phrase I hear so carelessly thrown around is that, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” And yes that statement is somewhat true because people do kill people but they are able to do more damage in a very short amount of time when they have a rapid firing assault weapon. I will never understand why some people feel the need to have anything larger than a handgun or hunting rifle. Why do you need a weapon like that? Why? I understand that if you live in an area that you do not feel safe in and you have a handgun that is kept away in a responsible way, but is an AK-47 really a necessity for basic human survival? I also realize that there are other weapons in this world that people use to hurt others. However, guns seem to be a common theme in many American tragedies and they seem to do a severe amount of damage. These are a few ways that you can become active in the fight against gun violence and promoting gun safety and responsibility.

  1. Contact your senator, governor, mayor, or other local politicians that have a say in policies regarding guns and gun laws.
  2. Go to rallies. Recently I went to a gun violence rally where different members of the community spoke about their experience with gun violence. It was heartbreaking to see how much these events have hurt other and also enlightening to the wonderful officials in my state who are trying to make progress happen.
  3. Speak up. Start petitions. Write letters. Let your voice be heard.
  4. Stay educated. Know what is going on in your city, county, and state in regards to gun violence prevention.

I know that there may be people that disagree with me, but I am sick of keeping my head down while another tragedy strikes. Gun safety and gun violence prevention does not mean taking away guns from responsible owners.