Guns kill 90 people a day; U.S. should care

The Southerner

We write to you today in the wake of the 352nd American mass shooting of the year. Undoubtably, by the time this article gets into your hands, there will have been another. In the three days it takes to print and return The Southerner to our school, approximately 180 people in the U.S. will likely have been killed with a gun, based on past data.

It seems no where in this country is safe from this violence — not our schools, movie theaters or health centers. Whether you were a woman attempting to access basic health care through Planned Parenthood, a disabled individual trying to receive help or someone working to provide it, you were not safe.

In 2013, 33,636 Americans died of gun violence. This ridiculous and inexcusable number is avoidable. No other developed nation in the world has this problem. The reason it keeps happening in this country is because we do nothing to prevent it.

Shootings like the one in San Bernardino occur often, and the response is almost always the same. Lawmakers send out their ‘thoughts and prayers’ to victims of the attack and their families, but fail to pass legislation that would prevent further pain for future victims. It happened in 2012 after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when 26 people were killed in Newtown, Conn., 20 of whom were children between the ages of five and six.

At this time, people opposed taking action because of their interpretation of the Second Amendment as an uninhibited right to own guns. After this massacre, however, leaders should have revisited their values. Failure to change laws takes away everyone’s right to life. Members of Congress should feel guilty for failing to make changes in the past.

There are steps the U.S. can take to prevent this violence. For example, loopholes in the legislation allow people to buy weapons without background checks if they purchase them at a gun show. Banning this is a simple change the U.S. government can make which could result in major benefits.

Purchasing a gun should be difficult. It is a machine designed to kill others. In Japan, for example, mandatory all-day classes, written tests, mental health tests, drug tests and a background check are all requirements to own a gun. The total number of deaths in Japan from gun violence reflect these restrictions. In 2013, when over 30,000 Americans died from gun violence, 12 people in Japan were killed with them. In 2012, it was three.

It is not fair to the American people, the mothers, children, husbands, brothers and sisters who are killed everyday, to not address this issue. We must value human lives, the lives of our fellow Americans, above the notion that we deserve guns. That statement equates to we deserve death.  

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