Published on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 by Regina Flores
Over the past few years, statistics have shown that gun crimes seem to be dramatically increasing every year since 1999. Since the Columbine High School shooting of 1999, the Virginia Tech shooting of 2007, the Batman shooting of 2012 in Aurora, Colorado, and the most recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut in 2012, including numerous others in between, have left American hearts in pieces. Statistics show that gun crimes seem to be dramatically increasing every year since 1999.
So when are we going to put it to an end? Hopefully, now.
As a result of these increasing gun crimes, Sandy Hook seeming to be the last straw with the victims being children, the number of Americans in favor of stricter gun control laws has increased dramatically. According to a CBS news poll, support for stricter laws is “at a ten year high”, jumping from 39 percent in April of 2012 to 52 percent today. Not only are Americans supporting it, but 150,000 have signed a petition on The White House website asking for immediate action on the issue. In response, President Obama has stated that in the coming weeks he is going to “use whatever power is at [his] disposal in efforts to prevent anymore such tragedies.”
However, there are always those who object. Many Americans say that stricter gun laws would just “keep honest people honest” and that it robs methods of self defense from the innocent and leaves criminals with the guns. But if there were no guns, how would criminals acquire them? Criminals do not automatically have guns in their possessions, they have to either buy or borrow them from others. Such was the case with Adam Lanza, the murderer at Sandy Hook, who borrowed his mother’s weapons.
Which brings this debate to another point. Why did his mother need to possess a .223-caliber Bushmaster AR-15 rifle? Such a weapon is only needed at war. No one in this country needs such a violent weapon. If there had been stricter gun control laws, this criminal’s mother would most likely not have had the guns, and the likelihood of Lanza’s plans succeeding would have been slashed.
Some Americans argue that if a person desires to cause harm, they would cause the harm in any way they could, even without a gun. Yes, this is true, however any other way of causing harm most likely could not kill as many people as one could with a gun, especially in such a short amount of time. Some say Lanza could have created a bomb or some other way of performing his mass killing, but how many people know how to create a bomb? It was easier for him to obtain a gun. The more of an effort something takes, the less likely it is to happen.
Other Americans feel as though their rights to the second amendment of the Constitution would be violated with stricter gun laws, but this does not necessarily have to be the case. A reasonable compromise to this issue would be to outlaw all guns except for single shot rifles which would be sufficient enough for people who like to hunt and would do the job of protecting a home. And, after all, which is more important — protecting the second amendment, or protecting the seventh commandment? No matter someone’s beliefs, this is still held true.
Background checks should also be required with the purchase of these guns, or any weapon, for that matter. Many, many tragic incidents in the past could have been prevented if the gun salesman only knew who he was selling the gun to. Numerous of these mass murderers have had some sort of mental problem or personality disorder, making them unsuitable to own a gun.
Twelve days after the Port Arthur massacre in Australia in 1996, Australia announced a bipartisan deal to enact sweeping gun control measures, and it succeeded. There was a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles, or one-fifth of all firearms in circulation in Australia. The country’s new gun laws prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of purchase (self-defense did not count). America should follow suit. Homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, according to the Washington Post. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly, while home invasions did not increase. There was no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides, proving the argument that “criminals will be criminals” false, and the drop in suicides by gun went down by 65 percent. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been eleven mass shootings in Australia. With the new gun control laws, there hasn’t been a single one since.
I strongly hope Obama’s plan to succeed. Not only would it provide protection for the citizens of the United States, but it would also bring a sense of security to the nation as a whole. In these troubled times, millions, including myself, are mourning and are facing fears that some have not faced before. With rising crime rates, who might be next? Only stricter gun laws would prevent further tragedies as those we have recently experienced, as well as secure the nation and help mend broken hearts.