In America, owning a gun is a constitutional right. To receive medical care after being shot is a privilege. Something has to change.
In January 2016 the Virginia Center for Public Safety released fliers stating that since 1963 more people have been killed in shootings than in all US wars combined. The numbers behind this assertion were checked by Politifact Virginia whom then released a detailed report on how valid this statement was. It was true.
You can read the full report in the link above, but in short they discovered that in all US wars combined, starting from 1963, there had been 1.2 million fatalities.
From 1968, there have been 1.5 million fatalities due to guns in America. Politifact Virginia could only find reputable sourcing from 1968, therefore excluding five years of data. This means that in approximate the actual number of deaths from guns would be closer to 1.6 million. Four hundred thousand more deaths than all war fatalities combined.
It’s important to note that this data includes deaths from suicides and not just from mass shootings. However the Gun Violence Archive, a reputable database for information regarding all gun violence in America year by year, has record of 273 mass shootings in 2017 alone. The UK has had 0. Australia has had 0. For further context, neither of the aforementioned nations have had a mass shooting since 1996.
In 2017 alone America has had 273 mass shootings. And that number is only set to inevitably rise.
To the rest of the world it is consistently astounding that America is so resistant when it comes to gun control, to the point that it has become somewhat of a point of reference for satirical comedy. The Onion, a well known satire publication, has notoriously utilised the same headline following mass shootings consecutively for some years now:
Unfortunately, in reality this topic couldn’t be any further from comedic. It is infuriating, it is devastating, and it is horrifically disappointing.
So why isn’t there gun control in America already?
There are many arguments against. Merely scrolling through twitter responses to advocates for gun control or articles reporting the events of mass shootings you can see an array of responses for why Americans need their firearms.
And, as you may have already guessed, all of them are completely nonsensical and absolute drivel in every sense of the term.
So I’m going to debunk just some of the more popular one’s I’ve come across.
1. ‘Making guns illegal won’t change anything!!! Most firearms are purchased on the black market!!! Criminals always find a way!!!’
The fact of the matter is the vast majority of weapons used in mass shootings are obtained entirely legally. An in-depth study conducted by the publication Mother Jones found that the firearms used in 82% of all mass shootings between 1982-2017 were purchased entirely legally. Conversely, the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study in which they found that in approximately 8 out of 10 cases the perpetrator was not a legal owner of a firearm, but instead was in illegal possession of a weapon that belonged to somebody else. I include this statistic because it is often used as an argument against gun control, but like most statistics proposed this way they are twisted to fit a particular narrative and not the truth of the situation. If gun control laws were in place the perpetrators wouldn’t have such ease of access to the weapons that they take, and the amount of crimes committed would drop.
2. ‘It isn’t the guns that are the problem!!! It’s the horrible people that use them!!!’
This point is so inane I can’t believe people say it in any form of serious capacity, but okay. Let’s break this down. Yes. The people who use guns to kill numerous people are ‘horrible’. Nobody is debating that. What we are debating is whether or not we should make it more difficult for these ‘horrible people’ to get their hands on the weapons they use to slaughter people.
The answer is, of course, yes we should make it more difficult for them. We should make it near impossible, and it should have been done a long, long time ago. An individual is only as dangerous as the weapon they use.
3. ‘But where does it stop? People can kill people with anything, are we going to start banning everything?’
No. We aren’t. Guns serve only one singular purpose, and that is killing. When a 64 year old man can kill over fifty people and injure hundreds from the 34th floor of a hotel with a knife we can talk about enforcing restrictions on knives, but until that point the conversation remains with guns and the desperate need for their prohibition.
4. ‘Gun control would strip away our constitutional right to bear arms!!!’
There’s so much to consider with this one. First of all, if you say this you’re openly telling people you value your archaic constitutional rights above the lives of innocent people. Beyond that, you’re also embarrassing yourself by attempting to sound as though you are dedicated to your Constitution when you blatantly misunderstand it. The Constitution was written in 1787, a time where automatic rifles weren’t exactly dime a dozen, and they certainly weren’t being used to slaughter school children.
Times have changed.
The Constitution also advocated slavery, but that was amended in 1865 when slavery was initially abolished. In 1920 the Constitution was amended so that individuals could not be denied the right to vote based on sex. The Constitution has been amended a total of 33 times to match with the present it exists within, and it is time the same was done for firearms. The second amendment was created so that individuals could protect themselves should they need to, it was not created to allow people to slaughter hundreds upon hundreds of people should they wish to.
5. ‘Ordinary gun owners don’t deserve to be punished for the acts of a crazed individual, it isn’t fair!!!’
It also isn’t fair for an innocent person, whom has never owned nor would ever own a gun, to be shot down simply because you personally have a penchant for firearms. Your hobby should not need to be paid for in blood. So often when a white shooter slaughters people in a mass shooting there actions are explained a way as being a product of their mental illness, and not only does this further stigmatise mental illness, it also begs the question ‘well, what is being done about it?’. Funding for mental health services in America are deplorably insufficient. It seems when it comes to gun control America has a fondness for knowing the solutions to their more pressing problems, but simply do not wish to do anything about them.
Quite frankly I could go on further, and would willingly if anybody could come up with an argument I haven’t considered. The absurdity of how easily any individual can acquire a gun in America is all too present and unless something is done more and more people will die.
If you are against gun control you have blood on your hands. It is time we started making steps towards preventing the next mass shooting. It’s time to stop letting Americans be killed simply because you believe exercising your right to own a gun is more important than a child exercising their right to a life.