Letter from the Editors
March 1, 2018
We are living in a time when almost every time we turn on the news, another tragedy has occurred. One form of tragedy that is on the rise is gun violence. In 2018 alone, there have already been 18 American communities suffering the horrific consequences of the fatal use of firearms. Last year set a record for the highest number of mass shootings with 345 in America alone. With the number of tragedies from gun violence becoming more frequent, Americans are becoming too familiar to the sights of wailing mothers and horrified children. Americans have become numb at the thought of a shooting. Shootings have become normalized in American society and are expected.
This raises the question: Are people becoming too apathetic to gun violence?
People believe that most shootings have to do with mental health when in fact only approximately 4% of gun deaths occur due to mental health issues. Others believe gun violence have to do with the depiction of guns in film, television, and video games. However, research has proven that this is not the case. Studies have also shown that there is no correlation between race and shootings.
According to the National Rifle Association (NRA), the solution to ending gun violence is by having everyone own a gun. The NRA strongly resists gun reform and laws in order to prevent loss of sales. In fact, the NRA even halted gun violence research in 1996 to prevent the increasing consequences of guns become known. When comparing the causes of shootings in America to other countries, it ultimately comes down to the accessibility of guns. According to The New York Times, the United States has 280 million guns and had 90 mass shooters from 1966 to 2012. No other country in the world has more than 46 million guns and 18 shooters. In addition, Americans make up approximately 4.4% of the world population, but almost half of American civilians own guns.
In Australia between 1979-1996, there were 13 fatal mass shootings. In 1997, Australia implemented gun reforms that banned rapid-fire long guns and forced the buyback of nearly 660,000 weapons. After doing so, there hasn’t been a mass shooting since.
The federal government continues to ignore the problems associated with the current gun laws. Background checks are not extensive, and Americans use the second amendment as justification for owning high caliber rifles used in war.
In our opinion, we are becoming too apathetic to gun violence. If America was devoted to ending gun violence, then we would be committed to change. However, instead of actual change, politicians give their condolences and pledge for change. The increase of body bags would disprove any argument given that gun violence is not a problem. We must stop trying to blame mental illnesses, violence depicted on screens, or anything else. Instead, the first step to putting an end to gun violence as a whole is to admit that America has a serious gun problem. When we finally acknowledge that America has a severe problem with guns, then real change can follow.