America Has A Major Gun Problem

America Has A Major Gun Problem

Take a look at the news. There’s most likely at least one article on gun violence or this week’s mass shooting. Many Second Amendment supporters like to scoff at pro-gun control advocates, but it’s not funny or a matter to be taken lightly. The reality is America has a major gun problem.

The Second Amendment 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.” This text has been interpreted in several different ways by both gun control supporters and protesters alike. However, there is no denying the history of the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment’s original purpose was for colonists to protect themselves against attacking Native Americans, thieves, and escaping slaves. It was also enacted in 1791, after the Revolutionary War, in order to make sure the government could never overpower its people. There is no record of the Founding Fathers mentioning an individual right to own a gun if not part of the militia. It wasn’t until the 2008 Supreme Court Case of DC v. Heller that the interpretation of individual rights was even acknowledged by the Court.

Many Second Amendment defenders, such as sophomore Alec Lawlor, believe it is the right of an individual to own a gun. However, these defenders are overlooking the amendment’s past. Throughout American history, gun sales were banned from Native Americans, indentured servants, and slaves. Even free African Americans in the 1800’s were not permitted to own a gun. America, even centuries ago, didn’t follow the individual right interpretation.

Also, the statistics involving gun violence are terrifying. As “fun” as guns may be for many people, this data cannot be taken lightly. According to,

  • Between 1999 and 2013, there were over 450,000 known gun deaths. Over half of these deaths were suicides.
  • An average of five women are killed a day by guns.
  • Out of approximately 30 million gun-related violent crimes in the U.S. between, 2007 and 2011, less than 1% of victims protected themselves with a firearm.
  • Not a single one of the mass shootings between 1982 and 2012 were stopped by armed civilians (despite Alec Lawlor’s claims that school shootings could be stopped by armed school teachers…)
  • A 2003 study of 23 populous high-income countries found that 86% of women killed by firearms were in the United States and American women are 11.4 times more likely to be the victims of gun homicides.

It is absolutely devastating that so much violence has been and still is taking place in America. Whether it be the sadistic murder of black church-goers, the killing of students at a community college, or even the commonplace homicide, there’s no denying gun violence is a problem. However, people differ on what the causes of gun violence are.”Mental illness,” Alec Lawlor claims, “They’re the ones that do it. Law-abiding citizens don’t do it.”

However, this is one of the biggest issues related to the topic of guns and gun violence. Many conservatives believe that people with brain disorders are to blame for the violence. Turn on Fox News and you’ll see Sean Hannity or Megyn Kelly placing the blame on the ‘crazies’ or the ‘insane.’

In response to this, Nashoba AP Psychology teacher Mrs. D’entremont commented:

“I think it’s easy to scapegoat those who live with brain disorders and mental illnesses because we don’t know as much as we should about mental illness. It’s easy to say those people’s thinking was dysfunctional and distorted, and therefore easily blame them. People with mental illnesses become targets of a lack of understanding and it just serves to perpetuate the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Mental illness is a brain disease, not a character flaw.”

Mrs. D’entremont also stated that gun control is extremely necessary in this country, and went on to say that “there is a lack of understanding of the final result of using a gun- that it’s permanent. People who have guns feel empowered to do things that they might not do if they weren’t armed.” Mrs. D’entremont also stressed that education on gun violence would help spread awareness and help stop mass shootings. She also believes reaching out to those who seem to be struggling can prevent such tragedies.

It is incredibly worrisome that when compared to other developed countries, America’s gun violence rate is alarmingly high, as shown in the graph below. Just in 2015 alone there were over 300 mass shootings, alone.

“If one were to look at the amount of public shootings in say, France or the United Kingdom, and in the United States, he or she would find the U.S. has a much higher amount of shootings…other countries have much more gun control,” said Julia Barshak. “The fact of the matter is, the second amendment was written in a time where the need to bear arms was much greater than it it today. Today, the average American simply does not need a gun, especially considering how advanced firearms have become. The Second Amendment was not written about many of the high powered guns of today which can fire off an incredible amount of rounds in a short amount of time. Guns kill, and it is our job to make sure that these killing machines are properly regulated. We have had far too many people die in mass shootings in the U.S. for us to continue on without making some changes.”

It is absolutely devastating that the only time America likes to talk about guns is after some mass tragedy. But it’s even more ridiculous that these discussions are forgotten only days after. Gun violence is a problem in America. The country needs to make sure its citizens are safe. It’s a shame that it doesn’t seem to be a priority.