The real killers: guns

Samantha Katovich, Contributing Writer

I remember my first lockdown drill. Drills have occurred since first grade, but I prominently remember the one from third grade. That was the year the school had the policemen act as intruders and bang on the doors. Of course, they didn’t tell us beforehand, so everyone thought it was a real intruder attack. There was crying inside of the classroom from all of the little kids who thought the drill was real. I remember worrying about my two sisters, who were also at school that day but in different classrooms.

Let’s flashback to that lockdown drill. No kid should have to deal with a real version of that, but so many do. Why? Because of countless problems with guns.

Guns are a massive problem in America now. They are the cause of break-ins, crimes, and deaths every day. Although we have laws and acts against guns, there are no extensive restrictions on them. Sure, you have to go through a lengthy background check and register the weapon, but that doesn’t mean that bad people won’t be allowed to purchase their guns. Because of this, pretty much anyone can buy a gun.

While I believe that guns are useful for protection in the military or for dangerous jobs like being in the police force, I do not think that Americans should have free rein of purchasing or using a gun whenever they want to. They should be available when a career requires one, but restrictions are necessary for who should use a weapon. Yes, the Second Amendment claims the right to bear arms, but should everyone be allowed to have a gun if they choose to?

In my opinion, not everyone should be able to own or purchase a gun, and strict restrictions should be made to enforce this. The majority of people can buy a firearm, and in some cases, it could be for protection, but isn’t it sad to think about the fact that we need to use guns to protect ourselves? According to a 2019 Gallup News poll, close to 30% of Americans own a gun, and that’s a decently high number. To put this into perspective, that is roughly 100 million Americans who own a gun. Guns aren’t always used for dangerous activities, especially in the South, where hunting and going to the shooting range are popular activities, but that doesn’t make up the full 30% of those who do own a gun.

Oakland. Parkland. Newtown. Sandy Hook. Columbine. Littleton. Greencastle. All of these cities are among the many who have experienced school shootings. These shootings happened within fifty years of one another, but they are all eerily similar. They start with someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place coming into a school with one. And each time, they ended up killing and injuring innocent people. It’s the same story and ending every time. Is this the way we want to live? Where we send our students off to school with the constant fear that maybe today is the day they won’t come back?

President Donald Trump recently spoke about guns and the laws concerning them. Because of the ever-rising death toll in 2019, Trump was pressed to take some action finally. According to Gun Violence Archive, 325 mass shootings have occurred in America this year. Although, as stated by CNN, he “told reporters after the meeting that he was prepared to take action. But he refused to specify on what.”

Back in September, Trump also presented the idea of expanding gun background checks. Reuters provides that, “‘We’re looking at background checks,’ he said, adding, ‘At the same time, all of us want to protect our great Second Amendment.’” These ideas seem promising, considering the fact that this restriction could greatly benefit the safety of Americans. However, his unspecificity adds to doubt further that anything will change.
Does this immediately mean that Trump is not going to take action, seeing as his history on promising something and then failing to execute it is quite large? No. But it also doesn’t mean that any action will be taken anytime soon. All we can do is hope that some change occurs and that it is fast.

Many believe that Americans should be able to do whatever they want with their guns since it is one of their Constitutional rights. This is false. People should be able to fulfill their rights as Americans, but there is an existing level of going “too far.” Guns should be used for protection, and if we allow everyone to use them, we’ll be doing the opposite. As a group, we need to continue to share the idea that gun violence needs to stop. Laws for gun ownership need to be stricter, but the shooters need to be punished for their actions as well. It is not just the gun doing the harming; it’s also the shooter.

The world is becoming more dangerous every single day. Some parents don’t even let their kids walk the streets alone for fear of them being kidnapped or put in danger. This shouldn’t be the type of world that we want to live in. We can hope that someone will make the change and make America safer, but in reality, we have to make that change for ourselves. Take action and share your voice. Because they might be able to silence one of us, but they’ll never be able to quiet all of us.