At the time the second amendment was written the founding fathers never would have known firearms would one day be capable of killing hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. The disparity between modern firearms and those referenced nearly two hundred years ago make the second amendment obsolete in defending the reckless availability of semi-automatic firearms. In 2017 alone there were about 345 Mass Shootings, causing in over 15,000 deaths. To prevent further tragedies, stricter gun control laws are needed in the United States. The success of other countries in having stricter gun laws is astronomically better than the United States. In America it is easier for a teenager or anyone to buy a gun then to buy alcohol or lotto tickets, this is because of the “gun-show loophole”. Anyone can attend an auction or find a classified ad and not have to go through firearms-safety training.
Statistically, “forty percent of the guns purchased in the United States are bought from private sellers at gun shows, or through other private exchanges, such as classified ads, which fall under what is known as the “gun-show loophole” and are thus unregulated.” (The New Yorker). That just shows how simple it is for anyone of any age to buy a gun.
Other countries are enacting gun control laws and their effectiveness is significant, “In Australia in 1996, a ‘pathetic social misfit,’ as a judge described the lone gunman, killed 35 people with a spray of bullets from semiautomatic weapons. Within weeks, the Australian government was working on gun reform laws that banned assault weapons and shotguns, tightened licensing and financed gun amnesty and buyback programs. At the time, the prime minister, John Howard, said, ‘We do not want the American disease imported into Australia.’ The laws have worked. The American Journal of Law and Economics reported in 2010 that firearm homicides in Australia dropped 59 percent between 1995 and 2006.” (New York Times). But, in this battle on gun laws it isn’t always as easy as saying and duplicating what other countries do. This argument isn’t all about just how easy it is to buy guns.
When a parent does not take the proper safety precautions, children are often responsible for the deaths of others. Eleven fatalities have been reported since January 1st, 2013, each “involving preschool children as the shooter. Ten more toddlers have accidentally shot themselves or somebody else this year” (Armed With Reason). Children should not have to worry about killing someone they love, but some may say that this is the responsibility of the owner.
We put bike helmets on our children, put safety locks on our medicine cabinets, yet there there seem to be no laws regulating access children have to deadly weapons. Pro-gun enthusiasts and members of the National Rifle Association may preach the adage that it is not guns that kill people, rather people that kill people. Their argument, in wake of tragic shootings, is in favor of more firearms. Some people feel safe in the knowledge that they can protect themselves with a gun if someone were to threaten their lives with a gun. This argument is rejected by research. Beginning with the fact that people are affected by their environment and when exposed to firearms, they are more likely to act out and potentially use these weapons.
Psychologists discovered that the mere presence of guns primes aggressive behavior; (‘Priming’ is a well-known, rigorously evaluated concept in cognitive science by which exposure to an unconscious stimulus influences response to a later stimulus.) (DeFilippis). Guns do kill people, three examples are suicide, accidental deaths and injuries, and homicides in the home. The one area that has little to no controversy involves the correlation between gun ownership and suicide rates. People who have access to firearms are more likely to commit suicide then people who don’t have access to them.
Teenagers tend to go through a lot during ninth through twelfth grade thus resulting in sometimes thinking about suicide. Teenagers who have access to firearms are more likely to follow through on ending their lives; “One in four teens who survive a suicide attempt say that they thought of suicide just five minutes before the attempt. The presence of a gun increases the likelihood that a suicide will be ‘successful’, which is why gun regulation consistently decreases suicide rates.” A 2012 study showed that restricting firearms saved lives from impulsive suicide attempts. All of the evidence for suicides proves that guns do in fact kill people. Spontaneous arguments sometimes get very heated thus ending in violence. Data from 1981 showed that two thirds of deaths involving deaths were a consequence of firearms.
Accidental deaths from firearms happen way more frequently than any other weapon, “in 2010, 606 people were killed by unintentional firearm injuries. By contrast, the next highest category for unintentional deaths by weapon was knives (or other sharp objects) which killed 105 people in 2010” (Armed With Reason). There are many more knives than there are firearms in the United States but firearms cause almost five times more deaths proves that in this instance, guns do kill people.
Pro-Gun enthusiasts tend to feel safer with a firearm in their home in case of a home invasion or in case of an imminent threat. There are statistics that prove that it is more probable to do more damage than good by having that firearm in your possession. One study that was done in 2004 stated that “if you have a gun in your home, you’re more likely to die from homicide in your home than people without guns. Guns don’t kill people, but it turns out that if you have one near you when an argument escalates, the likelihood that you’ll be killed by that gun is higher than if the weapon had been anything else” (CITATION) Many studies were done on this issue from 1986 to 2004 which all resulted in the same higher probability of harming a family member or friend than an intruder. When it comes to homicides in the home it is proven that guns kill people. For many Americans, gun control is a divisive issue. Although the Second Amendment was written two centuries ago, many people believe it to still be applicable to today’s guns. But in an exponentially evolving society, laws need to evolve with it.
Gun control laws need to be updated and tightened to account for and outlaw unregulated private sellers, increase thorough mental health assessments, and ban the availability of semi-automatic weapons to civilians.