It’s Thursday and I’m linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday. And boy do I have some thoughts. This post has been rolling around in my brain for a while, so hear me out.
As the United States struggles to make sense of yet another mass shooting incident, we are rife with debates about gun violence and the second amendment once more. Each side is arguing their points, both vehemently and sometimes with little logic applied to their arguments. Those in support of the right to bear arms argue that enacting stricter laws on obtaining guns ‘won’t change anything because criminals will still get their guns illegally.’ What they fail to see is that changing the law and making it more difficult for people to obtain guns will drastically reduce the amount of shootings that occur in the US as well as save hundreds of lives.
80% of guns used in mass shootings have been obtained legally.
Let that sink in a moment. 80% of the guns that the perpetrators have bought in order to perpetuate mass murders have been bought through legal channels, according to this data accumulation. Which means that the murderer simply walked into a store that sells guns and purchased his weapon of choice. He then turned it on innocent citizens of our country. Whether that’s because they were angry with their jobs, coworkers, racist, sexist, xenophobic or in support of terrorist groups, they decided to kill people over it.
“But even if gun laws were enacted it wouldn’t stop people from obtaining weapons! Look at the war on drugs- drugs are illegal and people still get them!”
Yes, its true that people would still be able to obtain weapons from the black market if they wanted to. But it would be increasingly harder for criminals to obtain those weapons and less likely for them to be able to do so. Not only would they face stricter laws if they wanted to do so legally, but if they happened to try to buy illegally, they would have to first find someone who was selling the type of gun they wanted illegally. It would be a lot more difficult for them to get those weapons.
“But if people have guns they can stop the murderer from killing people!”
Evidence suggests that, while it’s good to think this could happen in theory, it simply isn’t true. Could someone stop a mass murderer if they used their own weapon? Sure. But the probability of them hitting the murderer on the first try and not adding to the confusion by firing their own weapon is slim to none. No mass shootings in the last 30 years have been stopped by an armed civilian. In the only mass shooting where an armed civilian attempted to use his own gun to stop the shooter (2011, Arizona assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords), he almost shot the wrong man and the actual shooter was brought down by an elderly man who tackled him and was not armed.
“Gun laws won’t decrease the murder rate…”
Actually, it will and it has been proven. In all the other countries that have stricter gun laws than we do. ‘Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the United States gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher.’ (According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine). Furthermore from that study, ‘even though it has half the population of the other 22 nations combined, the United States accounted for 82 percent of all gun deaths.’ That is a sickening statistic, to be quite honest.
Gun laws do work. On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in Port Arthur, Tasmania. He killed 35 people and wounded 23 more, making it the worst mass murder in Australia’s history. In just 12 days, Australia’s government did something that in the last 30 years of mass murders in America we have failed to do; they announced a bi-partisan deal with state and local governments to enact gun control measures. They had a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles. The new laws prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of purchase. As the Washington Post pointed out, homicides by firearm dropped by 59% between 1995-2006.
What I can’t understand is why people are so against implementing some form of gun control laws in the United States. I understand the desire to keep the firearms that those who argue against this law currently possess and I understand the desire to feel protected and safe- but can you really say you feel safe in this country today with all the gun violence that has been occurring in recent years? I don’t. Going to the movies, the mall, even a nightclub has become a potential scene of terror- places that used to be simply a fun night out. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be allowed to own a handgun or a rifle. But I am saying that owning an assault rifle is beyond the scope of most civilians capabilities or needs. If you feel the need to walk around with an assault rifle, we have bigger problems than your rights to own a gun and defending the second amendment. We do not live in a country that is so violent that it is necessary for you to walk around with a gun designed to kill many people at one time. And, no, I’m not of the mindset that “maybe one day we will need those rifles because the government is going to try to take over us and become a dictatorship.” Not unless you elect Trump for president, but my arguments against him are for another post.
We are talking about lives here. Human lives. This isn’t the time to argue about your own rights- not unless you want to sound like a selfish prick who doesn’t care about the hundreds of lives that have been lost to mass shootings in the last decade. The rights of humans to live full lives and not be shot in cold blood while going to the movies, the mall, school, even church for God’s sake- overshadow your personal right to own an assault rifle. As I said, I’m not asking you to give up your handguns. But I am asking you to sign this petition on banning assault rifles from the households of civilians. Please think about the lives you could potentially save. I implore you to see reason. Next time it could be your father, brother, sister, mother, friend who gets shot. Do you really want to risk that possibility?
Sign the petition: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ban-assault-weapons-now-4?source=s.fb&r_by=15885511