Americans are highly split on how we should approach the problem of gun violence. One group believes that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun, while others believe dangerous weapons should not be as easy to buy as they are. Some argue that right after a mass shooting is too soon to talk about gun control—I disagree.
I believe it should not be as easy as it is to buy guns. Some examples of how easy it is are the gun show loophole, which allows purchase of firearms without a background check at gun shows, and the “boyfriend loophole”, which allows domestic abusers to buy guns if they were not married to or living with their partner.
I realize that there are people who may use guns for hunting, or genuinely believe they need them for protection. But in that case—it really doesn’t need to be a semi-automatic or automatic rifle.
For those who say they need protection, I have a couple questions. One: if it’s available for “protection” at a moment’s notice, how can it possibly be stored safely? Two: what if someone makes a mistake, and thinks a family member is an intruder? Three: I know it’s not a happy thought, but what if there’s a heated argument and someone snaps? Four: Even sadder, what if someone attempts suicide? Data analysis done by Mother Jones has in fact found that “for every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a home."
For those who think a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun: then why were none of the 307 mass shootings reported by CNN just from January 1 to November 5 of 2017 stopped by good guys with guns? And since we’ve gotten more and better guns, then shouldn’t mass shootings have gone down? But, in fact, of the 30 deadliest shootings in the United States dating back to 1949, 18 have occurred in the last 10 years. That’s 12 spread over 58 years, and 18 in the past 10. Furthermore, analysis consistently finds that more guns lead to more firearm homicides. Work by researcher Mark Hoekstra published in the Journal of Human Resources found that states with Stand Your Ground laws making it easier to shoot in “self-defense” saw an increase in homicide rates.
I also realize that “people kill people,” but I would push back against the argument that guns don’t. What about accidents? What about how much easier guns make it for someone to hurt someone else?
And yes, people have committed horrible acts with cars or knives, but we have a very strict licensing system for cars and it’s just not a competition when you compare guns to other weapons. Why else would people talk about bringing “a knife to a gun fight”?
I’ve had enough excuses, I’ve had enough thoughts and prayers, and I’ve had enough mass shootings. There should be none. Someday, I really hope we will get there. Until then, I am devastated and mad and I am ready to do something.