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America, it’s Time to Get Serious About Gun Control

2022 is shaping up to be just as much of a clusterfuck as the two years before it, and I have to say: I’m impressed with the American government’s ability to show no competency in handling literally ANY situation. On the docket for this week, America’s gun control issue is once again at the forefront of everyone’s mind with the continued mass shootings taking place. In many countries, any legal measure intended to advert or restrict the possession and use of guns or firearms is considered gun control. Unfortunately, the United States continues to endure the most controversy surrounding gun control as it is constitutionally protected. Well, maybe it’s time to change that. 


Recently, shocking and deeply saddening news swept the nation after a mass shooting occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas killing 19 students and two adults. This tragedy— only one of the many shootings occurring in the U.S this year— is now one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history and comes only a few weeks after the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY. The 21 fatally wounded individuals— who are more than just the Uvalde 21—  are Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, Amerie Jo Garza, Tess Marie Mata, Jose Flores, Miranda Mathis, Maite Rodriguez, Makenna Lee Elrod, Xavier Lopez, Eliana Garcia, Layla Salazar, Eliahana Cruz Torres, Alithia Ramirez, Jackie Cazares, Annabelle Rodriguez, Jailah Silguero, Jayce Luevanos, Uziyah Garcia, Nevaeh Bravo, Rojelio Torres, Eva Mireles, and Irma Garcia. These lives were lost both at the hands of a monster and because of the United States' lax gun control laws. 


On the morning of May 24, 2022, the gunman of the Uvalde massacre—Salvador Ramos— shot his grandmother—Celia “Sally” Martinez Gonzales— in the face, leaving her wounded in her home. After beginning his rampage, Ramos headed to Robb Elementary School, crashed a pickup truck through the barrier outside the school, and began shooting at the school from the parking lot. After entering the school, Ramos was in the school for over an hour before there was police intervention, firing over 100 rounds of ammo. Law enforcement, in all their incompetent glory, spent hours doing nothing outside the school as they believed lives weren’t in immediate danger — which is quite an interesting thought process considering there was a man inside a school with a gun. When there was finally law enforcement intervention, Ramos was killed by border patrol on sight.


 Similar to the actions of previous mass and school shooters, the gunman left multiple hints prior to taking these deplorable actions. Ramos, an 18-year-old high school dropout, frequently engaged in physical altercations with his other classmates prior to his departure. In the time leading up to the massacre, he posted images of two rifles to his Instagram story to begin to tease his plans. Additionally, Ramos video chatted with online acquaintances as he visited a gun store, showed off his weapons, and even texted one individual after shooting his grandmother and informing them of his plan to attack the elementary school. 


This unfortunate event is heartbreaking but once again breeds the question: When is America going to get serious about gun control? According to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety, fewer gun deaths occur in states with stronger firearms legislation. Since the right to keep and bear firearms is protected by the United States Second Amendment, there are no federal laws that prohibit the use of firearms in the U.S. However, the most recent massacres in the U.S. have claimed public attention and more people are pushing for harsher gun control laws and new legislation. According to a survey from 2019, about 63% of gun owners listed personal protection as their reason for owning a gun yet NPR reports less than 1% of people actually defend themselves with their guns in violent crimes. 


As the devastating news of mass shootings and gun violence occurring nationally in the U.S. is seemingly continuous, government officials are being pressured to take action. After the racist mass shooting in Buffalo, Gov. Kathy Hochul claims she is seeking to ban people under 21 from purchasing AR-15-style rifles while in New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy urged lawmakers to take similar action to advance firearms safety measures including raising the age to 21 for purchases of long guns. However, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican officials have taken to blaming the Uvalde shooting on mental health instead of tackling the issue with gun laws. Congress failed to administer gun restrictions after previous school massacres— including the deadliest school shooting of the 2010s which took 28 lives— and is shaping up to do nothing to alter that action. 


While the U.S. refuses to take action to prevent mass gun violence, global incidents are usually met with the same response: gun ownership restrictions. This may seem like the most obvious response to many but to America, it's seemingly unimaginable as long as the country is hellbent on adhering to a constitution written in 1787. In 1987, after a British gunman killed 16 people, semi-automatic weapons like those used to commit the crime were banned and the same action was taken with handguns after a 1996 school shooting. Britain now has one of the lowest gun-related gun deaths in the world. Similarly, Canada tightened gun laws after a 1989 mass shooting, Germany followed their lead in 2002, New Zealand in 2019, and Norway in 2021. Following the administration of tighter gun laws, mass shootings become rarer and homicides and suicides tend to decrease. 


It’s time for America to take the hint and get SERIOUS about gun control. As long as the nation continuously favors the words of an old-ass document over the well-being of its citizens, nothing will change. These recent incidents of mass shootings literally have people pleading for any type of action toward stricter gun control laws in the U.S. Guns are dangerous weapons, not everyone should have access to them and it’s time for America to face the facts and actually make a change for the safety of all its people. 


Here is a link to donate to support the victims of Uvalde Shooting and their families. 


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Featured Image via Jay Rembert

Sources: 

https://www.britannica.com/story/gun-control-in-the-us 

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/27/briefing/uvalde-texas-shooting-victims.html 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/05/27/us/timeline-texas-shooting-uvalde.html?name=styln-texas-school-shooting&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&variant=show&is_new=false 

https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-05-25/timeline-of-texas-school-shooting-126-minutes-of-terror 

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/27/us/uvalde-gunman-social-media.html 

https://www.deseret.com/2022/5/27/23144447/states-with-the-strictest-gun-control-laws-mass-shooting-2nd-amendment-violent-crime-concealed-carry 

https://www.npr.org/2022/05/27/1101774780/gun-control-debate-statistics 

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/13/key-facts-about-americans-and-guns/

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/25/world/europe/gun-laws-australia-britain.html  

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/29/us/states-gun-restrictions.html 

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/27/us/uvalde-texas-elementary-school-shooting-friday/index.html

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