Why Gun Control is Non-Negotiable


By Luke Kaplan and Yulieanna Sim

Bearing in mind the significant increases in gun-related deaths and school shootings, the time to amend gun control laws is now, and on the one-year anniversary of the horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the issue of gun control is more relevant than ever before.

As the nation marks the somber anniversary of that shooting, which left 17 people dead, the gun control debate is once again in the news.

More gun control laws are needed because guns pose a threat to the community, and the laws that are present now are not as strong as they need to be, as they were created a very long time ago, intended for a different purpose. The Second Amendment of the Constitution 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.”

However, this was created in 1789, where slavery was still allowed and America was still progressing to become a unified nation. An example of gun control in history is the prevention of gun ownership for Native Americans, Catholics, indentured servants, etc. However, indentured servants do not even exist now so the Amendment should be adjusted to fit the needs of the modern American.

Many people argue that carrying a gun makes people feel safer which would actually reduce crime, not promote it. They say that if it is harder to get a gun, only criminals who obtained firearms illegally will have guns, so people would not be able to defend themselves.

The Second Amendment’s so-called purpose is for self-defense but statistics are consistently proving that this is not happening. Guns are typically not used for self-defense as out of the 29,618,300 violent crimes committed between 2007 and 2011, 0.79 percent of victims protected themselves with a threat of use or use of a firearm. That is less than 1 percent of victims that survived with the help of guns at their aide. Guns have been proven to be least-employed use of protective behavior.  Thus the reasoning behind keeping the gun laws the same, in case of an incident where it is needed for one’s survival, is just not applicable and quite absurd.

Additionally, amending gun control laws would allow for the better safety of women from domestic stalkers. Five women are murdered with guns every day in the United States. That is 1,875 more women that would be alive at the end of 2018. Even more shockingly, the chance of a woman being killed by a gun increases by 500 percent if the gun is nearby during a domestic dispute. This means that if there were stricter gun control laws that did not allow for anyone to have a gun at hand in their home, that is a 500 percent greater chance of a woman being alive at the end of a fight with an intimate partner.

There are a few ways to establish more gun control and make America safer. The most realistic way to enforce stricter gun control is to restrict the use of high capacity magazines. High capacity magazines were used in more than 50 percent of the 62 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012. The only reason a person would need to carry a gun with a high capacity magazine is to harm other people, not to use in self-defense or hunting.

Another way to limit the ownership of guns to people who would not use them for the right reasons is having more thorough background checks. Though some may argue that this would be unfair to people who want guns for self-defense, this would just enforce the right morals behind holding these guns. 89 percent of adults with a gun in the home approve of laws to prevent the purchase of guns by the mentally ill, and 82 percent approve of banning gun sales to people on no-fly lists. If someone wanted to own a gun for the right reasons, then he or she should be able to pass the background check without any problems. However, if a person had past issues regarding mental issues or criminal records, it is more likely that they do not have pure intentions and should not deserve to be able to obtain a weapon that could potentially kill hundreds of people.

A bipartisan bill is in the works where Democrats want to require background checks on the purchases of nearly all firearms, including those sold at gun shows and over the internet. Though this law will pass the Democratic House, where some Republicans have vowed to pass it, easily, it is going to be a struggle to get it through the Republican-controlled Senate. It is saddening to think that a possible solution could be created to save thousands of lives but not be put in place because of partisan politics.

Stricter gun control laws are absolutely necessary. Between 1999 and 2013, there were 464,033 total gun deaths: 270,237 suicides (58.2 percent of total deaths); 174,773 homicides (37.7 percent); and 9,983 unintentional deaths (2.2 percent).

It is too easy for guns to be used for violence; it is urgent that gun control laws be changed now.