John L. Kearse III
When Will We Learn?
Columbine High School, Aroura movie theater, Virginia Tech University (2x), Sandy Hook Elementary School, President John F. Kennedy assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, President Ronald Regan assassination attempt, Ferguson shooting, etc. If you have heard of any of these events in history, then you know how just in this country alone the right to bear arms has taken the lives of millions throughout time. I thoroughly believe that guns shouldn’t just have stricter laws and regulations placed on them, but banned in all 50 states. Gun control alone is a heated debate let alone banning them altogether, but why should we have to fear for our lives just walking down the street in the 21st century? Take for account the area I live in, Newport News, no one wants to go outside past 10 pm on certain streets because people fear being mugged or shot in the “bad neighborhoods.” When is enough, enough? When does the government, gun companies, voters, and you decide it’s time to take action? When can we make change? When can we feel safe in our own streets, homes, and communities?
I am passionate against guns because I see them only hurting society rather than benefiting it. The United States, as of 2015, spends $610 Billion on national defense. <(Peterson, 2015)> The next closes country that spends that much on national defense is China, with about $300 Billon. <(Peterson, 2015)> So if we are spending billions of dollars on defense then the common people clearly aren’t about to sign up to take down ISIS or any other threat to the American people. The people of Southern Virginia have the largest naval base in the world less than an hour away from where I live, Norfolk Naval Station, so we are fairly safe from terrorists and potential invading countries. So, logically the only other threat to the American people are in fact the American people.
The United States has been the leader of domestic gun violence almost every year. In 2015, the United States lead the world with around 300,000 homicides, only to be rivaled by Italy with a little over 50,000 homicides. <(Lopez, 2015)> Domestic gun violence is always most prevalent in more urban areas such as Detroit, New York, Los Angles, Washington D.C., etc. With the high density of people in cities, innocent people are also at risk of dying to gun violence due to stray bullets. “Most people killed or wounded in stray-bullet shootings were unaware of events leading to the gunfire that caused their injuries, and nearly one-third of the victims were children and nearly half were female.” <(UCDavis, 2015)>A completely innocent child cannot even play outside their house without possibly becoming a statistic to gun violence especially in a dense city. With the ability to get a gun so easily people like George Zimmerman are allowed to shoot kids/young adults like Trevon Martin in the street and still get off in court. When a country is killing each other in the street, in schools, in movie theaters, in hotels, etc. how can we properly function as a society?
As a reasonable person, I able to acknowledge the great magnitude of people that want to keep their guns and their reason for it. Many pro-gun people claim that arming themselves is actually a good thing because it is a potential way of self-defense. “Of the 2.5 million times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, the overwhelming majority merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than 8% of the time, a citizen will kill or wound his/her attacker.” <(GOA, 2015)>The majority in that statistic are women defending themselves from a potential rapist or mugger. Another argument that gun-owners/pro guns people cling to, is the right to bare guns are one of the oldest rights in our nation’s Constitution. The second amendment, states “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.” <(Nara, 2015)> With these arguments the mass of votes, who tend to be conservative republicans, have kept guns legal since the United States birth.
A quick history lesson on the second amendment is that the only reason it existed is that the new United States just broke away from one of the most powerful empires of the time and could barely defend themselves. In those times people were expected to fight for their land and property and if the government infringed on rights people could start a revolution like they did against Great Britain. I would have agreed with that amendment’s existence up until the end of WW1. After WW1 the United States established itself as a super power and no country, except Germany and Japan in WW2, even thought of invading the United States. After WW1, threats of a new oppressive United States government had passed and we had a full powerful arsenal and military, so the use of citizen militia stated in the Constitution was not needed from its citizens. Certain people argue that you shouldn’t change the Constitution’s bill of rights because its history and what we are found on. Keep in mind the same document legalized slavery yet we managed to change that. With the stance of self-defense, I think it is a good thing that people are able to defend themselves from the horrors of rape and domestic violence, but if you add a gun to an equation the situation only worsens. “Domestic violence assaults involving a firearm are 12 times more likely to result in death than those involving other weapons or bodily force” <(Law, 2015)> The thought of giving a victim a gun to prevent a situation from happening is like fighting fire with fire, it only makes it worse.
I believe that guns in the United States should be completely banned in all 50 states because the unnecessary risks are too high. Gun violence thrives in the United States and does not discriminate against age, race, or gender. Even though the likelihood of guns being completely banned like in the United Kingdom are unlikely in the near future, we should at least work on gun regulation laws to help save lives around the United States. We are very secure from international threats individually attacking us and oppressive new governments, so the only threat to humanity is us. It’s up to you, the reader, and me to finally put down our foot and say no more school shootings of innocent kids, no more murders or accidental murders involving guns, and no more living in fear.
Nacht, Alexander. Spinning Statistics on School Shootings
Peterson, Peter. The U.S. spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined
Lopez, German. Obama is right: gun violence is much worse in the US than other advanced countries
UC Davis. UC Davis study finds stray-bullet shootings frequently harm women and children
GOA, Just For Skeptics
Nara, The Charters of Freedom
Unknown, Why was the Second Amendment written, and why is it still important today?
Law Center. Statistics on Domestic Violence & Firearms