The Issue of Guns in the United States


Jack Morris, Copy Editor

As most U.S citizens know by now, our ownership of guns is protected by the Bill of Rights in the second amendment, stating; “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.” This amendment was added to the Bill of Rights December 15th, 1791, and has been held close to American’s hearts ever since. It was estimated by the Washington Post in 2017 that there were approximately 392 million guns in the United States. Also in 2017, the United States was home to around 324 million people. If it hasn’t hit you yet, that’s a gun for each United States citizen, with approximately 68 million additional guns to go around.


According to the CDC, in 2015, more than 36,000 people died from gunshot wounds (including homicides, self-inflicted wounds, accidental shootings, etc.). This means that on an average day in 2015 approximately 99 different people across the United States died because of guns. Another estimated 84,997 people are now trudging through their daily lives with tremendously expensive medical bills, injuries, and bullets inside of their bodies. In 2011, it was reported by the National Crime Victimization Survey that 467,321 people were victims of a crime committed using a firearm, and data collected by F.B.I in the same year revealed that firearms were used in 68% of murders, 41% of robbery offenses, and 21% of aggravated assault cases across the nation.

So, what’s the solution to the gun violence epidemic in the United States? To start, the process of obtaining a gun must be made more difficult. David Hemenway, director of the Injury Control Research Center at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has quoted; “For the most part, it is much easier to be a legal gun owner in America than it is to be a legal driver”. These extra steps in order to obtain a firearm have helped in cases before, shown with a 2014 study done by the Journal of Urban Health showing that Missouri’s pass of legislation against its permit-to-purchase gun law for handguns led to a 25% increase in firearms homicide rates. Secondly, the United States must focus on gun laws that actually work. For example; many arguments within our government revolve around military-grade rifles, yet these guns are only accountable for less than 5% of homicides within the U.S (showing that this may not be the thing to focus on after all). On the other hand, research published in JAMA International Medicine shows that states with strong firearm laws (including background checks for all private and non-private purchases, as well as restrictions on multiple-gun purchases) were associated with lower gun-related homicide rates. Another way to prevent gun violence is to have doctors talk to families with small children about their firearms. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors should begin to talk about firearms to patients with children 3 years old and over, as studies show that some 3 year-olds are strong enough to fire a gun.

In a country that holds its arsenal and ability to defend themselves against criminals and tyrannical governments so dearly, it is both impossible and completely unnecessary to take away the public’s right to bear arms. A quote from Michael Steele reads: “You can have all the gun control laws in the country, but if you don’t enforce them, people are going to find a way to protect themselves. We need to recognize that bad people are doing bad things with these weapons. It’s not the law-abiding citizens, it’s not the person who uses it as a hobby.” Some may argue that the constitution and its second amendment is obviously outdated, and doesn’t have much relevance within today’s society.  However; we are only one bad government disguised as a democratic utopia away from becoming people under an oppressive leader and left without any means of protecting ourselves from said government. Dictatorships continue to exist in our society today, including Syria, South Sudan, Eritrea, and etc. Without allowing our public to arm themselves accordingly, we may be doomed to the same fate that these countries are currently in, and with the possibility of banning guns, I think everyone should start packing now. I think that our generation, especially, is determined to create the best United States for ourselves and our children. With that in mind, although there is much work to be done about United States gun violence, the solution is not to take away the guns of our entire populous. Instead, it is to prevent the wrong people from getting them and to ensure safety within our community.