“But as I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough.” – President Barack Obama on the shootings at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon
Just like any other day at Umpqua Community College in rural Oregon, students went to class holding their mugs of coffee, worried about deadlines, and chatting with their friends. But their average day ended tragically when Christopher Harper Mercer walked on campus armed with a 9mm Glock handgun, a .40 S&W Smith & Wesson handgun, three other handguns, and a Del-Ton 5.56×45mm rifle. Eight days later, there was another campus shooting at Northern Arizona University.
Each mass shooting results in more fatalities, more families grieving, and more reasons to implement stricter gun-control laws in all 50 states. The thing is, we have become immune to these incidences. It is less shocking because it happens so frequently.
In a recent address to the nation, Obama asserted, “We talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston. It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.” Every couple months a mass shooting occurs, leaving Americans devastated. Obama finds himself repeatedly having to address his condolences to those families, and he’s starting to get fed up.
During the 12-year period of 2001-2013, there were 406,496 deaths by hand-held guns – compare this to 3,380 Americans killed by terrorist attacks (examiner.com). More people are killed by hand-held guns than terrorist attacks, yet the government spends more money on policies to keep Americans “safe” from terrorists than they do from hand-held guns. On average, 31 Americans are murdered with guns every day and 151 are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room (bradycampaign.org).
How many more mass shootings will change children’s, parents’, Americans’ lives forever? How many deaths before we realize that this change is more than necessary and long overdue?
Look at Singapore’s laws, for example. Singapore has one of the strictest gun control laws in the world. Singapore’s Arms and Explosives Act has enforced many requirements for the purchases of arms and explosives as well as issuing very strict consequences for those who possesses, deal, import, and export without a license. While students should always, in an unlikely event, be prepared, the majority do not actually fear that their lives will be altered by a mass shooting in Singapore. The same goes for walking home alone at night at 3:00 a.m. It’s a much different world here, where people don’t have to think twice about safety.
Singapore does have a much smaller population than the United states, which makes these laws and citizens easier to control, but the facts show that as a result of their strict laws, it is a much safer country.
The table below shows the comparison between homicides in the United States and Singapore, courtesy of The Guardian.
There is a precedent set for countries that have dealt with incidences regarding the misuse of guns and implementing stricter gun-control laws.
It will be hard for many Americans that support the National Rifle Association, as well as those who take the second amendment to heart, to be happy with these changes that they deem unfair. Hunting is a big part of American culture, and I understand that many feel as though they shouldn’t be punished if they are following the laws and are mentally stable. Rifles are much safer than semi-automatic weapons that can shoot a dozen people without reloading. There’s no reason for average Americans to have access to semi-automatic weapons if they are not used for hunting or sport.
The right to own a gun shouldn’t be banished completely. Americans should have the right to bear arms as long as there are stricter background checks for mental health and stability, so that the weapons don’t get into the wrong hands. But what the U.S. government needs to understand is that they need to make this next step in order to ensure the safety of our citizens.
It’s not a choice to make as a Democrat or Republican, it’s a choice to make as an American.
If America can follow what Australia has done to control how citizens get their guns, then surely our own citizens can feel and be much safer in our own country. So congressmen and congresswomen, please implement stricter gun-control laws before it becomes someone we all know.
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